How does a dub-step mixing, ballet and contemporary dancing classical violinist become a success in an industry looking for the next Rhianna or Miley Cyrus? She embraces what makes her different and turns to YouTube. In case dubstep-inspired violin concertos aren’t your thing, Lindsey Stirling is a YouTube and musical sensation. She has over 5 million subscribers with over 670 million views. She’s collaborated with John Legend, has made numerous covers of popular songs, is in the middle of a world tour, and her albums are sold on iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Target, Amazon and Best Buy. So what is the secret to her success? She embraced what made her different, then turned to YouTube.
On a recent interview on NPR, I heard her say that she tried the traditional route. She sent out dozens of CDs to music labels. But they all said her mix of violin and dubstep, combined with dancing while she played, made her look and sound too different. So she starting making her own videos and putting them up on YouTube. The rest is history.
Embrace Your Differences
In a world where the barriers to entry in this business are so low, your best chance at longevity and success is embracing whatever it is that makes you stand out from a crowd. Go with your gut. The more people tell you your work is weird, or off the beaten path, or not in line with what’s “hot” right now, the better. Embrace that difference even more! Be bold. Be brave. Be different. And if you can dance while you take photos or shoot video, why not.