One of the 21st century’s most innovative performers is playing the Providence Performing Arts Center Tuesday, December 14. Lindsey Stirling is a multi-faceted entertainer, who blends her robust violin with dance, acrobatics, and spectacle in her shows.  

Stirling came to the forefront of American music when she made her debut on “America’s Got Talent” in 2010. She became a YouTube star in 2012 when her music video “Crystallize” was the 8th highest viewed that year.

She’s since walked away with several honors including the Billboard Top Dance/Electronic Album in 2015 and 2017, as well as four YouTube awards including Artist of the Year in 2015. Her single “Carol of the Bells” is the only instrumental song to ever reach the Top 10 on Adult Contemporary Radio and peaked at #1 on Holiday Radio in 2020.

I spoke to the Arizona native earlier this week ahead of her holiday show, the “Lindsey Stirling Christmas Program.” She’s excited to be back doing live shows and having a lot of fun on the current tour.

“For the performers, it’s a really fun show,” remarked an enthused Stirling. “I think it’s very different from anything I’ve ever brought on the road. We’ve added a lot more spectacle to it. We have fun costumes, cool props, and aerial acrobatics to it. It’s like my step to being Cirque de Sol – Lindsey,” joked Stirling, “because I’ve always loved Cirque de Soleil.”

Stirling’s combination of music and spectacle is what sets her apart from other artists. She’s proud of her music, but she notes that’s only part of the equation.

“To me, when I release an album, I almost want to give it to my fans and say ‘this is just half, just a piece of the pie.’ The whole thing comes together when it’s made visual. I feel like the whole story isn’t told until it either has a music video or until I get to put a visual to it in a show and put some kind of creativity behind it,” explained Stirling. “Like this one’s a Celtic number and we need to be wearing Celtic skirts, with Celtic type dancing. To me, the visual is what really sells it.

Stirling’s appeal crosses generations and musical boundaries. Her fanbase is broad.

“One of my favorite things about my fans is that it’s a very diverse crowd especially agewise,” says Stirling. “You’ll see little kids there that are all dressed up, you’ll see older couples, you’ll see teenagers with their friends, you’ll see full families. And you’ll see kids that look like they are metal guitar dudes in trench coats – it’s a very eclectic mix of people that you normally wouldn’t see in the same room together. It’s all-encompassing.

I asked Stirling for her thoughts about the increased popularity of the violin, particularly as a non-classical instrument.

“I remember seeing a couple of people doing cool things with the violin when I was younger. I think the reason the violin leans into that is that I’ve heard, and I can’t say if this is scientific or not, but I’ve heard multiple times that it’s the closest instrument to the tone of the human voice.”

I think there’s something about that that makes it relatable to people. When you hear it, it’s got so much emotion, the violin can literally sing like a vocal. That’s why I love the violin so much – it can be Celtic, it can be rock, it can be classical.  I’ve played all different types of music with different types of artists and I think the violin is so versatile.”

Stirling is also proud to support the Upside Fund, a charity that educates and helps people pay medical bills. Donations will be accepted at the PPAC show.

“The Upside Fund is something I’ve been doing for the last few years. I help people pay their medical bills, it’s something I’m super passionate about. Christmas is such a time of joy, but for anyone going through hard experiences or loss it becomes even more of an empty time. So that’s why decided to start helping people pay their medical bills at Christmas,” Stirling explained.

“I made it an official fund during Covid when so many people were experiencing financial and medical crises. And now I have so many fans who want to help and donate as well. So the Upside Fund is a place where people can come to give or request help. It’s something I hold close to my heart.”

Check out Lindsey Stirling at PPAC Tuesday – Click here for tickets and more.

Click here for details on the Upside Fund.

Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music, the arts and more for What'sUpNewp. He is also a contributor to Providence Monthly, SO RI, Hey Rhody and The Bay magazines. Ken DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse,"...