Lindsay Stirling isn’t a household name, though if her early success is any indication, she will be in the future. The doubters can be easily silenced by her popularity on YouTube: her over six million subscribers and 886+ million views continue to grow every day. Her fanbase steadily grows, with loyal followers tallying over three million on Facebook and 371k on Twitter.
“I don’t think what you’re doing is enough to fill a theater in Vegas,” proclaimed Sharon Osbourne of Stirling, who made it to the quarterfinals during the fifth season of America’s Got Talent in 2010. “The problem is, with you, you need to be in a group. You need a singer. You need to find a group of people to work with.”
Stirling took the criticism hard and to this day can’t watch the footage.
“Those moments can either make or break you. And it was so humiliating to be told those things on national TV,” she says of the experience.
The Los Angeles-based performer wasn’t going to allow criticism on a national stage falter her dream as she continued to push forward, performing on small stages to an iPod in jeans, far from the vision she had in her mind.
“I thought, ‘I can’t let this be the end. No, I have something to offer.’ In my heart I just knew I could make it and I knew they couldn’t see what I could see and I just had to get better so that everyone could see it,” says Stirling, wanting audiences to see beyond her modest performances and to the big picture, which included costumes, dancers, and a band.
“That vision is what kept me going as I was like, ‘Everyone is going to get this someday.'”
External struggles, like those from doubters and critics, aren’t the only battles Stirling has had to face. Stirling, like many women in our highly superficial society, battled Anorexia, discovering her disorder while working with troubled girls. Her fight with the eating disorder is the theme for the music video of her song “Shatter Me,” featuring the vocals of singer Lzzy Hale of Halestorm.
“I used a ballerina in a music box; she’s trapped in this perfect, porcelain shell, but it keeps her safe, it keeps her protected. Her porcelain skin is like a symbol of this rigid image of perfection… it can’t move, it can’t emote,” says Stirling, further explaining her personal experience, saying, “That’s kind of how I felt. I became this person that I didn’t even know who I was because I was consumed with perfection. My world became cold, and grey, and still. I was so unhappy.”
“This was to depict my struggle in realizing it was worth it to fight to be free from that,” she added. “I feel like I broke free from it and I’m so happy now as a result of that. I wanted this song to be a way to give hope to other people, that you can shatter the barriers that even you build around yourself.”
Stirling keeps moving forward, with two major struggles far in her rear view. She’ll be taking her extravagant live show around the world in February, traveling to Australia, Dubai, Mexico, and Germany which will keep her busy into the Summer.