Yesterday we announced the “TuneCore Artists to Watch at SXSW 2014.” Now it’s time to get to know these artists a little better. First up: Lindsey Stirling, violinist/dancer/composer/YouTube Star – extraordinaire.
Check out our interview with Lindsey below, and make sure to catch her in Austin…
How did you get started in music?
People ask me all the time if my parents were “musical,” but honestly neither of my parents were musicians. They were, however, very passionate about classical music and the arts in general. So, from a very young age, I was regularly exposed to masterful symphonies via our old record player. My dad also liked to take our family to free orchestra concerts in the park. I was awed by the strings, particularly the violins, because they got to play all the “cool” parts; and I couldn’t help but notice that the concertmaster (violinist) always got special recognition. I was totally star struck! And so, at six years old I started begging my parents for lessons.
What have been your big career highlights so far? (By the way, congrats on that YouTube Award!)
Thank you! I was excited to receive a YouTube award this year; definitely a highlight! “Crystallize” went gold in the US, and my album went “gold” in several European countries, which was really exciting. Touring has been an absolute dream come true for me. Sometimes I can’t believe it; I mean…people are actually willing to buy tickets to my shows? I can’t tell you what an amazing feeling it is to be able to perform my music for people all over the world. I feel very honored and very blessed.
What are the top 3 tips you’d give an independent artist looking to grow his/her career?
#1. Do what you love, and love yourself while doing it. If you are passionate enough about your work it will be impossible for people not to love you too.
#2. I think it is important to collaborate as much as possible with other artists, especially in the beginning, because it has the potential to really grow your fan base (their fans become your fans and vice versa).
#3. Never give up. Looking back, it was during those times when I was feeling the most discouraged—the times when I was ready to quit—that I was almost there.
What’s your plan for getting the most out of SXSW?
I see this as an incredible opportunity to reach people who may not have heard the name “Lindsey Stirling” yet! I’m excited to listen to some of the other bands there and I might attend some of the workshops too; who knows? I’m excited and honored to be a part of this epic event!
What kind of team do you think an artist needs in order to be successful?
I would say the #1 most important aspect of a good team is trust. Even if occasional mistakes are made, I believe that the people working for me are honest, hard-working, and doing their best to help and be a support to me and to each other. Being able to trust the people working for me relieves a HUGE burden. I don’t worry because I know the people on my team care, they are looking out for me, and they take pride in their work. It is also reassuring to know that they respect my own personal values and morals and support me in that aspect of my work as well.
How is TuneCore part of your team?
It allows me to maintain full ownership of my music and most importantly, it gets the music in the hands of my fans!
Where do you think the music industry is headed?
One thing I’ve noticed is that it is getting harder and harder to get a “gold” single or “gold” album anywhere! I mean, years ago you really did have to purchase your favorite albums or else wait for your favorite songs on the radio. Now with Pandora, YouTube, Spotify, digital downloads (makes it possible to buy just one song rather than an album), etc., fewer and fewer people are buying music because it is easy to access it via “free” methods.
I do think that many people will always want to purchase their own music; there is a sense of pride that comes from ownership. And honestly, it is easier for independent artists to be heard because there are so many different platforms. Due to ads, YouTube provides a revenue of its own. And even if someone finds an artist but doesn’t buy the music, they might buy a concert ticket.
I would say that headed into the future, musicians will need to be more and more creative in how they market themselves, find new ways to “stand out,” and will need to find various avenues to make a profit because selling singles just might not be enough to sustain a career anymore.
What can we look forward to next?
I’m excited to be on tour again starting this May! I’m starting in the USA and then heading to Europe in October. My second album is scheduled to be released soon. Can’t wait to see what this year brings!