YouTube sensation Lindsey Stirling is bringing her imaginative electric violin dance performances to Charlotte on July 19, as her third album heads toward an Aug. 19 release. A classically trained musician gone rogue, she has garnered a YouTube following of more than 8 million, and her 2014 album, “Shatter Me,” debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart. Stirling, 29, who’ll play at Ovens Auditorium, answered some questions by phone:
Q. Did you always want to play electric violin?
A. As a kid, I just wanted to play. I begged my parents for lessons. As I grew older though, I saw the violin not only as wanting to play but a means to express myself. And so I started finding out different ways I could make the violin feel very much like me rather than making me fit into it. So it’s an exploration of how to be creative.
Q. Can you talk about how YouTube has influenced your career?
A. It’s been totally game-changing. Before I started YouTube I had no idea who I was... I was background music for whatever gig I did. And to then go onto YouTube, where (I) developed a fan base and people started to recognize me as an artist, not just a violinist ... it absolutely changed everything. It’s allowed me to take the violin further in being a creator rather than just a player.
Q. What are you looking forward to most with this tour?
A. I’ve been off tour for about nine months now because I was writing an album, and that’s the longest I’ve been off the road since I started being an artist. So mostly I’m excited to get back onstage and get back in touch with my fans again. And to see my tour crew – we’re like a family.
Q. What do you like about performing in front of a live audience?
A. There’s nothing like it. I wrote all these songs and thought of all the video ideas … but when you see a face in the front row, smiling and just loving it and they’re beaming – there’s nothing like that.
Q. What inspired your upcoming album, “Brave Enough”?
A. My last album was about … shattering the walls and the huge barriers that you put around yourself. It was about breaking free. And I thought to myself, ‘What’s the next phase after you’ve broken free from your previous battles?’ I came to realize that the next step is continuing to break down walls and continuing to discover yourself, layer after layer. I realized I had broken through my anorexia and my depression, and that’s what ‘Shatter Me’ was about. But I still had so many walls that I had built around my heart … It takes the most bravery to be vulnerable. A lot of people see vulnerability as a sign of weakness, but it’s actually the ultimate sign of strength – if you’re brave enough to let people see your naked heart.
Q. What can we expect to see in your concert Tuesday?
A. I love this show. Half of it is a show that I’ve done before and we’re bringing it to new markets. … But I threw in songs from the new album, so we’re playing songs that no one’s heard yet, songs that are unreleased. We’re kind of teasing the new album, which is really exciting. It’s exciting for me to see how the audience reacts to this music. It’s old news to me, I wrote it and I’ve been working on it, but it’s really exciting to see it new for somebody else.
Rachel Stone: 704-358-5334, Twitter: @RStone1317
Stirling’s show is at Ovens Auditorium at 7 p.m.