Whether it’s spreading Christmas cheer or finding her own muse, Lindsey Stirling knows something about following joy.
Best known for her massive success on YouTube, as well as her time on hit shows America’s Got Talent and Dancing With The Stars, Stirling has truly made a name for herself by embracing challenges at every turn with devotion, dedication, and delight.
She has already achieved the impossible by fusing classical music and dubstep with her unique flair for high-performance theatrics, heartfelt cinematics and fusion. Her unique work is a rare find and has taken her violin to the top of charts.
“I’ve always loved touring in general, but there’s something so special about the Christmas tour,”Revue was told by Stirling about her Christmas Program tour, which will be stopping at Van Andel Arena on December 2. “It’s just a little more soft and squishy in all the right ways. I don’t know how to describe it. I get the breadth to be a little bit silly and jovial, and also it gives me the extension to be a little bit emotional, because Christmas has so many deep emotions for so many people. You will laugh and you will giggle and you’ll be smiling, and then all of a sudden you’ll be like ‘Oh my God I think I’m getting misty-eyed!’ I love bringing out those emotions in myself and others.”
Stirling remained strong despite everything coming to an abrupt halt last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She found a new way of connecting with her fans through a virtual livestream Christmas special.
“Last year was so tough with people being trapped at home and so many people not being able to be with their families,”Stirling stated. “So that’s why I decided to do that virtual show, to just bring some smiles to fans in their homes. And after having that experience it’s made my whole entire crew all the more excited to now be able to actually go out and do what we do.”
Stirling, who is a fierce competitor like she has always been, wanted to make the virtual show even more special by including a performance from her hit song “Crystallize” – while hanging from her hair.
She saw the gravity-defying act during a Cirque du Soleil show and was intrigued to learn more. So during lockdown, she practiced for days to perfect the complex, but exquisite technique. “Originally my goal with hair hanging was ‘I want to do this on tour.’ But then after my first day, my goal was, ‘I’m going to show up tomorrow,’ because it was so difficult and terrifying.”
She persevered and performed the song suspended in midair like magic during her Christmas special. She knew it was time for her to stop.
“There’s a part of me that’s like, ‘But I was so pretty! I should pick it up again!’”Stirling stated. “But I just have to remember my own mental health and just how much that negatively affected my mood and my agitation and my anxiety.”
Stirling has been a long-standing advocate of openly discussing mental health, including sharing her own struggles. She hopes to continue to normalize this topic, and to ask for help, particularly in the wake of the pandemic.
“I think the hardest part of the pandemic for me is when I returned back to L.A. and thought the world was opening up, and then it was another like eight months before it did,”Stirling stated.
She had spent the first four months of lockdown at her sister’s farm home in Missouri, gratefully bonding with family, after having gotten whisked back to the U.S. shortly before her 2020 South American tour was originally set to start.
She recalled that it was months before she could get back onstage and do what she loves, but she returned to L.A. to find herself in the same situation.
“I think I realized during the pandemic, I deal with a lot of anxiety,”Stirling stated. “And getting back onstage again, and having not experienced that adrenaline rush in so long… You can practice the violin, you can practice all the routines, but you cannot practice that feeling of being onstage, and the rush of adrenaline, and the chemical changes that are happening in your body.”
Stirling went on her long-delayed Artemis Tour this summer to support her 2019 album. It was one of the first major tours to take place in large venues. Stirling was deep into personal songs, including the single. “Lose You Now,”This article focuses on the grief she feels after losing her father and close friend to cancer.
“My whole Brave Enough album (2016), that I wrote pretty much right after my friend died, and then my dad passed away during the writing of that album,”She said. “I was so stricken with grief, and so heavy with it, it’s like I was processing it as I was writing, and ‘Lose You Now’ is the song I was trying to write, in all the songs on that album. It’s heavy, but also it’s more about the hopeful side of it, because that’s where I’m at now, with my grief, even though it still hurts and I still miss them, it’s like I have such an understanding that I am so grateful that I had them in my life, and that feeling outweighs the pain most of the time. The gratitude that I had them. And also the belief that they’re my angels, and they’re with me all the time.”
Stirling is determined to make the Christmas Program a success. This fourth tour will feature festive songs as well as songs from her 2017 Christmas album Warmer in the Winter. The show will be backed by her troupe of dancers as well as a treasure trove full of sparkling costumes.
“It’s actually quite a bit different,”Stirling spoke about the Christmas Program. “Coming out of rehearsal, I’ve got really crazy callouses forming on my hands because I am learning some trapeze stuff. I was really inspired by my hair hanging experience, but also realizing that I did not want to continue that… I was thinking, what else can I do? Because that was such an empowering experience, and it was so beautiful. So two of my dancers and I are going in and doing aerial practices several times a week. I’m developing some upper body strength I’ve never had in my life. I’m working out really hard to be able to do this, and really excited for it.”
The Lindsey Stirling Christmas Program
Van Andel Arena at 130 W. Fulton in Grand Rapids
Dec. 2, 8 p.m., $39.50 – $329
vanandelarena.com, (616) 742-6600