Home For the Holidays

Lindsey Stirling brings her Christmas show to Jacksonville

Words by Shelton Hull

Lindsey Stirling’s “Snow Waltz” tour covers 26 concerts in 16 states in just 36 days. Her appearance at the Moran Theater on November 26 is only the seventh show in that run, so local audiences will have the chance to see her relatively early. The tour ends just two days before Christmas, and given the style she works, one would imagine that she will be exhausted by then. Stirling has one of the most high-energy live acts out there today, in any genre.

Born in California in 1986, Stirling has always been about equally active in the world of dance, as she is in music, but her real talent is for combining the two. Her live act is built around her distinctive electronic violin, but it also incorporates aspects of trapeze, lyra and aerial silks. For Stirling, the visual component matters almost as much as the auditory, and this results in one of the most distinctive live shows in music today.

Her self-titled 2012 debut put Stirling on the industry radar, based on her platinum-selling single “Crystallize”, but it was her second album that put her on the map. “Shatter Me” rose as high as #2 on the Billboard charts, certifying her crossover appeal. Stirling’s YouTube channel has more than 13 million subscribers, with nearly two billion total views. She has eight videos with over 100 million views, led by 2014’s “Roundtable Rival”, which has 358 million views so far. The channel really demonstrates the diversity of Stirling’s influences and skill-set.

Professionally, Stirling is a woman for all seasons, but it is certainly this season in which she truly thrives. Her sixth album, “Snow Waltz”, continues in the vein of 2017’s “Warmer In the Winter”, one of the most successful holiday albums of this era. “‘Snow Waltz’ came from thinking about that period of time between Halloween and Christmas where the two seasons overlap,” she explains. “I wanted to create something in the same world as The Nightmare Before Christmas or the Harry Potter movies, where there’s sort of a Christmas-y feeling alongside all the spookiness.” It’s also her first album since “Artemis” in 2019, which remarkably managed to score on both the Classical and Electronic charts. 

“On my first holiday album I toyed with more traditional Christmas sounds like big-band music, but this time I wanted to give the songs a more whimsical, pixie-like feeling that’s quintessentially me,” says Stirling. “It’s always a challenge to put your own stamp on a classic song that’s been recorded hundreds of times, and I really loved experimenting with different approaches and making sure that every song felt completely unique to who I am as an artist.”

“Snow Waltz” features a bunch of timeless Christmas classics, all given the characteristic Lindsey Stirling treatment. She recorded the album at her home studio in Los Angeles, ably aided by producer Gladius, who’s best-known for his work with artists like Justin Bieber and Demi Lovato. “One of the more positive takeaways of the pandemic was learning how to record myself, so that now I can capture ideas right when they come to me,” says Stirling. “I was able to harness my own creativity on the fly instead of having to wait until it was time to meet with a producer, and because of that there’s a sense of freedom that I think you can hear in all the songs.”   

Stirling has already performed for over a million people in her career, and that second million won’t be too far away. Last year’s Christmas tour sold over 250,000 tickets, culminating with a live streamed special concert for 15,000 people, watched online by 100,000 more. This season is always one of nostalgia, but Lindsey Stirling has managed, once again, to point the way forward, while also looking back. Instant Christmas classic? Yeah, looks like it.




About Shelton Hull

Shelton Hull has been writing for Folio Weekly since 1997, but his resume goes back even further. He has written for almost every newspaper, magazine and zine in Northeast Florida, as well as publications like Orlando Weekly, Narrow GNV, Creative Loafing Tampa, Charleston City Paper, Ink19 and The Atlantic. He currently writes the "Folio Weed" column, which he created in 2018; he remains one of the widest-read and most influential cannabis writers in the world today. He also compiles material for "Weird Wild Stuff" column, and he previously wrote the legendary "Money Jungle" column for Folio Weekly from 1999 to 2009. He is a regular contributor to "First Coast Connect" on WJCT, as well as the Jacksonville Music Experience. He is a co-host of "The Contrast Project" and the "Bold City Civics" podcast. He is also a co-founder of the record label Bold City Music Productions. He can be reached at [email protected]