YouTube sensation Lindsey Stirling is beloved by fans all over the world. She recently talked with us about about her career, her faith, and keeping her standards in the music business.
1. What do you love most about your career?
I love that my job gives me the creative control to create the visions that I see in my head . . . everything from music video concepts to planning my shows, from designing costumes to writing music. I love bringing my visions to life and being able to bring an uplifting art to my fans.
2. What has been the biggest challenge about being a Mormon in pop culture?
Modesty is so hard. There's a lot of pressure to look "hip" and "new" and most of the people in the style and design industry don't understand my standards, so I have to be very specific with anyone I work with regarding necklines, where the sleeves need to be, etc. Whenever I attend special events, I have to find modest dresses or have modest costumes designed for me. It's definitely a challenge.
3. How do you stay focused on the gospel when your career plunges you into the pop culture world?
I try to keep the commandments. I strive to go to church even when I am on the road or on tour. I'm not perfect, but I really try. I live worthy of a temple recommend, and I strive to keep the gospel as a foundation for my life.
4. Have you ever turned down an opportunity because it conflicted with your beliefs?
Yes. I've had to say no to several collaboration opportunities with big-name artists because their songs or their videos were too vulgar and they represented standards that I couldn’t morally support. It was especially difficult in the beginning when I was not well known, because I had offers come up that were very tempting and could have brought me a lot of attention—something I desperately wanted at the time. I'm so glad I didn't cave in to those temptations, because in the end, it all worked out and I'm better off having not done those things. I have also turned down many gigs that were on Sunday.
5. Who’s your favorite Book of Mormon prophet?
My favorite book in the Book of Mormon has always been 1st Nephi. I love the story of him building the boat because he had never done anything of the sort, and yet when he was asked to do it, he didn't complain or shrink or ask "why." He asked how. And then he moved forward. Nephi was asked to do some pretty impossible tasks, and yet he always obeyed, knowing that if the Lord asked him to do something, the Lord would help him accomplish it. He did not waver and he had the faith to move forward and do whatever he was asked to do, no matter what.
6. You’ve done duets with some big-name artists and musicians. Who have you most enjoyed performing with?
I think of all the performers I've collaborated with, Lzzy Hale was my favorite. She's such a powerhouse performer!
7. Which of your music videos is your favorite?
I have creatively put so much personal love and effort into all of my videos that there's a special place in my heart for all of them. I like different videos for different reasons. I think "Roundtable Rival" is the most fun of all my videos, "Shatter Me" carries the deepest meaning and is the most personal, and "Shadows" is "classic Lindsey"—probably my most innovative creation.
8. Who do you still dream of playing with?
Hayley Williams from Paramore and Michael Bublé—heartthrob!
9. What hidden talents do you have?
Not to brag or anything, but I am an amazing video editor. I edit almost all of my own videos.
10. What’s your favorite TV show and why?
Project Runway is pretty awesome. I love designing costumes, and when I used to make all my costumes, I was very "scrappy." I would piece random things together to make them.
11. What do you geek out over (besides music)?
Disney. I dream of being a princess, I love Disneyland, Disney characters, and I sometimes wish I lived in a Disney movie.
12. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
When I was trying to decide what to major in in college, I was considering music. I called my older sister, who was a music major, and asked her what she thought of the idea. She told me that I absolutely should not do it. She said that because of my personality, 6 hours alone in a practice room learning classical repertoire was not an atmosphere she could see me thriving in. She thought it would take all of the fun out of music for me and that I should major in something else and instead focus creating my own music—music I loved. So that's what I did. That's not to say that a musical education is wrong for everyone, but it was not right for me at that time. I knew that I had to pave my own road and follow the promptings that I was given.
For more fascinating articles like this one, check out the May/June issue of LDS Living Magazine.