Violinist Lindsey Stirling performed "See You Again" alongside Wiz Khalifa in a touching tribute to deceased actor Paul Walker at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday. Though Stirling may not be a household name just yet, the 28-year-old has been quietly amassing a loyal fan base on YouTube since 2007. She even spent some time on “America’s Got Talent” and has toured the world. Here are 5 interesting things about the violinist:
1. Her YouTube Channel Has 6.6 Million Subscribers
Stirling joined YouTube on May 20, 2007. She currently has more than 6.6 million subscribers and her videos have been viewed more than one billion times. The 28-year-old has a variety of content – song covers, original music and video game theme song covers. She also regularly collaborates with a number of well-known artists. She uploaded a video performing “All of Me” with crooner John Legend on October 28, 2013. Josh Groban also guest starred in one of her videos on May 7 – “Pure Imagination,” a performance with The Muppets.
2. Stirling Grew Up In A Modest Home
Stirling’s parents couldn’t afford to pay for violin lessons when she was young. They tried to find a teacher who would give her half lessons.
“The teachers were like, ‘I'm sorry, but a child isn't going to learn how to play ... in 15 minutes a week,’” she told Brigham Young University Magazine on Aug. 9, 2012, as reported by the Daily Mail. Her parents finally found an instructor who began teaching her at the age of five.
3. She Was Rejected When She Appeared On “America’s Got Talent”
Stirling was a contestant on the reality television show in 2010. She was described as a “hip hop violinist” and told by judge Piers Morgan that "you're not untalented, but you're not good enough to get away with flying through the air and trying to play the violin at the same time.”
Judge Sharon Osbourne agreed. "You need to be in a group. ... What you're doing is not enough to fill a theater in Vegas.”
“I admit that the things that were said to me on live, national TV were extremely hurtful,” Stirling said in a blog post on Aug. 10, 2010. “I was devastated at the results and it was almost serial that something that had nearly consumed my life for so long was instantaneously gone. Yes, it was painful, and a bit humiliating.”
4. She’s Spoken Publicly About Her Battle With Anorexia
One of Stirling’s songs, “Shatter Me,” is about her struggle with the eating disorder. The song is from her 2013 album of the same name.
"This video depicts the intensity and the fear I faced in basically wondering if I left this huge part that had consumed my life... would there be anything left of me that had value?" she told ABC News on July 16, 2014. "I realized I was so incredibly unhappy and depression had kind of taken over my life as a result of this mental disorder that I had, and I realized I wanted to change."
5. Her Second Love Is Dance
Stirling incorporates her love of playing the violin and her love of dance in many of her music videos, but when she was younger, her parents couldn’t afford both violin and dance lessons, so she chose the violin.
"It is very unnatural to dance while playing the violin. I had to practice so hard to learn how to do it but now it is part of my expression and it comes naturally. I have to know a song perfectly before I can even begin to move,” she said in a Reddit AMA on Oct. 29, 2013. "Once I know a song really well I can then have fun dancing."