“I really wanted to go back to OG Lindsey for this record…” - hmv.com talks to Lindsey Stirling
The world was first introduced to Lindsey Sterling on the fifth season of America's Got Talent, where she was described as a "hip hop violinist", who melded genres and glided through complex structures using just her violin.
She reached the quarter-finals, before being told by judges, who included both Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne, that she wouldn't make it. Osbourne told her she needed to find a group, while Morgan told her "You're not untalented, but you're not good enough".
Not for the first time in the Good Morning Britain host's career, his judgement has been found wanting. Cut to nine years later and Stirling has just released her fifth album Artemis and sold out London’s Hammersmith Apollo.
Inspired by the Greek goddess of the same name, goddess of the moon and daughter of Zeus, the album follows the story’s heroine Artemis from the opener 'Underground' as she strives to fight her way through a troubled dystopian world and to make it the album's closing 'The Upside' in order to get Alzheimer’s medication for her uncle.
We spoke to her about making the record and her plans to continue its journey...
Artemis is your fifth album, did you have an idea of what you wanted to do differently from what you’ve done before?
“I really wanted to go back to OG Lindsey for this record and I wanted to feel more like the person who wrote my first record. I’ve learned so much in my career and I’ve taken in so much. I’ve had years of being told what sells and what doesn’t sell, what makes it on the radio and what doesn’t. I wanted to forget all that and just write with freedom, the kind you can only get when you’re just writing for yourself.”
How did you explore that freedom?
“A lot of the songs are quite unique. They’ve got unusual structures and the way they move and flow doesn’t really obey convention. I feel like the shackles are really off.”
You’re noted for pushing the limits for what your instrument can do, that must have changed so much over the course of your career...
“You always want your record to sound current and as of the moment as you possibly can. I never wanted my sound to feel dated. I’m always looking to push it and get the maximum I can from our sound.”
You’ve got Evanescence singer Amy Lee on the album, that must have been a thrill...
“I’ve loved her since I was 15. She is amazing. We’d toured together and she is a powerhouse. An amazing human. I worked on their record, Synthesis, and she said to me ‘If you ever want me to be on your record, I’ll totally do it’. I banked that and I told her I was going to hold her to it. The song has come out so well, it’s one of my favourites and the fans all love it, it’s such a special song.”
Elle King too, a different kind of powerhouse...
“I’ve always prided myself on being able to work with a really diverse range of artists, I go from orchestral to rock to dubstep, and I’ve got amazing people to help me. Elle is incredible, I loved ‘Exs and Ohs’ and I’d tried to get her to work with me ever since. I loved what she did with the song, she’s such a unique presence.”
How has the tour been going? You’ve been in much bigger venues...
“I’ve had an amazing time. This is the biggest show we’ve ever done and the choreography has been a lot to work on, but I’ve loved it. The production is incredible now and I feel like I’ve really been able to give the fans a damn good show.”
You’re out on the road until the end of the year, how’s 2020 looking?
“We’re figuring out the order of things, but it’s full up. We’ll be back out in the US in the first part of the year and then we’re off to Australia and Asia. I’m also trying to find time to work on my comic book and my Broadway musical in whatever spare time I get.”
Finally, can you see a path beyond Artemis? Or is it too soon for that?
“Oh my god! It’s way too soon for that! I can’t think beyond Artemis and I don’t think I’ll be able to for another 18 months at least. I’ve got a lot still to do with this record and a lot of stories to tell. When I write my records, I’m all in, it’s all I can think about. I’ll need to do justice to Artemis first before I can think about that.”
Lindsey Stirling’s album Artemis is out now in hmv stores.