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Interviews

Interview: Lindsey Stirling Talks “Angels We Have Heard on High”, “Home for the Holidays”, and Her Favourite Outfit from Her Christmas Special

By: Jessica Nakamoto –

Lindsey Stirling. (Photo: Sydney Takeshta)

Grab your holiday onesies and stake your claim at the comfy end of the couch, because Lindsey Stirling is bringing the Christmas spirit straight from the stage to your living room. Following the release of her 2017 chart-topping holiday album Warmer in the Winter, the platinum-selling violinist, artist, dancer, and New York Times bestselling author has enchanted fans and spread joy across the globe with her annual winter tour for three years running.

Now, although in-person celebrations aren’t possible this Christmas, Stirling still has a few tricks to pull out of her Santa hat. Taking place on December 12th, viewers are invited to continue the festive tradition in an exciting new way, by tuning into Stirling’s very own holiday special.

Featuring graceful dances, specially designed sets, and performances by the violin virtuoso herself, Lindsey Stirling: Home for the Holidays will include over an hour of entertainment and seasonal classics such as “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “Let It Snow,” and “Sugar Plum Fairy.”

Despite its ups and downs, this year has been a monumental one for the multi-talented star, who has kept herself busy releasing her 100th video, surpassing 3 billion views on YouTube, starting her own nonprofit charity outreach program, and planning her most ambitious holiday performances to date.

We had the pleasure of catching up with Lindsey and getting the inside scoop on everything Christmas. Make sure to check out the interview below for a deep dive into her upcoming holiday special, new music video, and more!

Purchase tickets and VIP packages to Lindsey Stirling: Home for the Holidays here.

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. I know the holiday season is always an especially packed time for you!

Yes! It’s been pretty busy, but in a good way. Just finishing up the show and getting everything ready has been kind of a race to the finish line, but I’m so close! I’m almost ready to go home for the holidays.

Are you in LA now?

Yeah, I’m in LA! Where are you at?

I’m in San Diego. It’s blustery today, but I’m excited it’s finally starting to feel like Christmas time! 

Oh, I love San Diego! Good vibes. And I really love Christmas! I’m lucky because I feel like I get to experience it all the time. I’m always working on some sort of Christmas project, so come July, I’m already well into the Christmas mode! (laughs)

Absolutely! I actually just saw your performance on ABC the other day. You took the stage and did a beautiful duet with Darius Rucker for the “CMA Country Christmas” special. How did that collaboration come about and what was it like to work with Darius? 

It was really cool! I’ve worked with CMA Christmas for several years now. Robert Deaton puts the show together and I just love him so much! I’ve worked with him on several occasions and I’m so lucky that I’ve gotten to do so. He actually introduced me to Darius. It was really fun to get to use the arrangement from my album [Warmer in the Winter] to make a duet with him.

You’ve done a ton of incredible collabs over the years. What do you look forward to most when working with another artist? 

When you collaborate with another artist, it’s neat because everyone does things so differently. I feel like I learn something from every single person I work with, whether that’s an example of “oh, I don’t want to be like that” or it’s “oh my gosh, that was amazing! I love the way they work!”

I always leave with some sort of inspiration of what I would like to be in the future. I’ve worked with some artists who were just so incredibly kind and uplifting. You can take something away from every person you work with, and luckily, most of my experiences have been great!

Another one of your Christmas songs I’m looking forward to is “Angels We Have Heard on High”. Your new music video comes out tomorrow. That must be exciting! 

It is! I always love music video days. It’s like Christmas came early!

The video was shot in Utah and I absolutely adore firming there. I think the Utah Valley is definitely one of the best kept secrets in the United States. It’s an absolutely stunning video and I really like that song. It’s always been one of my favorite Christmas tunes, so I can’t wait!

The track was originally released as part of your first Christmas album Warmer in the Winter in 2017. What inspired you to come back three years later and shoot a second video for the song?

I don’t really know! (laughs) I just always loved that song on the album. It felt very magical and it was the most Danny Elfman-like arrangement I’ve ever made, which is awesome!

The first music video had a very different approach. There weren’t really any performances. Rather, it was much more bringing to light the angels on earth and the heroes at the time. It was a very special video in its own way. This time I thought, “you know what? I’d like to do a really pretty performance video!”

Do you have any funny stories or special moments from filming the video?

Yes! It’s funny how things can come across on camera so differently compared to the experience! I covered myself in bug spray because there were a bunch of mosquitos, gnats, and tiny bugs of all kinds. It was a little gross! (laughs) However, you don’t see any of that in the video. Everything looks whimsical and magical, and you have no idea that there are these little gnats all over the place. If we went deep enough in the water it wasn’t as bad, but they were definitely still there!

I filmed the video in Utah Lake. It looks like I’m walking on water because the lake is extremely shallow for a long way out. You can stand there and it looks so stunning. But there were a lot of bugs!

How funny! I’m a photographer, so the still image you have on the cover of the video caught my eye. It’s gorgeous. I would never have guessed about the bugs!

Oh, thank you! (laughs) I’ve always wanted to film there because I’ve seen the beautiful pictures. Finally, I was like, “I’m in Utah, I’m going to go get this video!”

I can’t wait to see it! The song is a great way to step into the Christmas spirit as we get closer to your “Home for the Holidays” special. In the announcement, you mentioned wanting to go beyond just filming a live performance and incorporating elements that could only be done in a filmed setting. What can fans expect from the stream? 

I love touring so much! Whenever I do live performances, I always think of these really big ideas, but then have to pull them back to reality and what can we actually do in a show. What’s possible to put up in the 30 seconds between this song and this song while I talk? What costume changes are possible to do in 45 seconds? You really have to tailor so many creative ideas to what is feasible.

For the special, it was really fun to go back to some of these old ideas that were just too big to fit on the truck or were too hard to load into a venue every day. We got to treat every song like its own little music video performance! We have these really big set pieces and things that I’ve dreamed of in the past but couldn’t bring.

I also got to do some really crazy aerial acrobatics that I’ve never done before! It was attainable this time because I could get ready for it and I didn’t have to run and try to put on the correct gear in the middle of a show. That would normally be impossible. So, I was able to do things that could really only be done in a filmed setting.

That sounds like a blast!

Oh, it was! (laughs) We spent a week filming it so we could make every number look perfect, have all the set pieces made, and get all the costumes right. It was super fun and it truly felt like we shot 10 mini music videos!

I was honestly so disappointed when I heard that my live tours were cancelled. I think the world had a broken heart for a while, and in a way, it still does. There are so many people who are struggling or hurting right now. It really makes you think, “what can I do from my small corner of the world, in my little sphere, to make it a little bit better?” I love seeing how people are helping their neighbors more, donating to causes, and are finding their own ways to uplift others. Some people won’t be with family this holiday, so this show is something I felt that I could do to help everyone feel less alone. For me, it’s been really cool to see what kind of art I can create to hopefully bring people joy this Christmas.

I love that! Personally, I’ve enjoyed watching all the different streams you’ve been doing. The cookie baking one was especially fun! 

Aww thank you! I was like, “oh this was a disaster!” (laughs) I thought it would be fun to cook. I should have prepared a little bit more, but it was actually quite fun! I think I’ll try that again for sure!

This year has been huge for you, releasing your 100th video and surpassing 3 billion views on YouTube. Do you think getting your start on and growing with social media has helped prepare you for streaming or creating content like the holiday event?  

I think it actually helped me the most in the beginning of the pandemic when I was in Missouri with my sister. I was there at the farm for months with no equipment. There was nothing fancy, and I thought, “well, it’s back to the basics! Back to the Lindsey that first started. I’m going to make a vocal booth out of sheets and just figure it out!”

It really all goes back to that YouTuber in me who knows how to make it work. It’s the idea that something is better than nothing. The real point is to create. I can sometimes be such a perfectionist, but you just have to get over that sometimes and I’m grateful for the social media training I had in the beginning where perfection just wasn’t an option. I’m grateful that I have that muscle memory to just rig everything up and make it work no matter how much duct tape it takes!

It seems that you’re always hands-on, whether it be making the booth out of sheets or helping edit, direct, and style your videos and tours! I was curious, what is your process like when it comes to combining the music and the visual?

It’s so much fun to combine the two, but it also takes a long time! (laughs) I’m not super quick moving from this to this to this. It took me two months to prepare for this Christmas special and that was working all day every day, 15 hours a day at least. That included everything from preparing and practicing, to styling, designing the sets, and more. But I’d say everything really starts with the music and figuring out what that magical setlist is going to be. It needs to take people through the right journey.

After the setlist is finished, I can focus on making sure that each song has its moment. I believe each piece has to have its own special color palette and its own feel. There has to be a reason why that piece is played and I have to kind of figure out what that is. What is the visual and emotional aspect? That’s kind of how I look at it.

We’ve seen a couple sneak peeks of a few costume details on your Instagram stories. As someone who’s known for their performance outfits, do you have a favorite costume from the special?  

Oh man! It might be the dress I wore for “Angels We Have Heard on High”. It was absolutely gorgeous! I was so lucky I just happened to be on my Instagram feed and saw these wedding dresses by a designer in Israel, Ronalina Bridal. I reached out and said “hey, I’m making a Christmas special. I would love to wear one of your beautiful dresses!” I showed him the dress that I liked the most and he actually sent it to me!

How sweet! 

Yeah! He said he’d be honored if I’d wear it, and I couldn’t believe it! I think that has to be one of my favorite and most beautiful dresses I’ve ever worn. I absolutely love it! It’s so fun to get to play dress up professionally. I’ve played dress up ever since I was a tiny kid and I just love that I still get to do it as an adult on a regular basis! (laughs)

To wrap things up, one of my last questions is, in addition to the Christmas special, are there any projects you have currently in the works or are excited for in the coming year?    

Not really! (laughs) I definitely have all kinds of ideas, but I feel like I put so much energy into my current projects that I think the new year will be time to reinvent, re-evaluate, and figure out what is next. I’ve got a couple of different thoughts and I don’t know which ones I’m going to pursue yet.

I am really excited to take a small break, go home for the holidays, and be with my family though! My sister just had a baby boy yesterday and I can’t wait to squeeze that little guy! I feel so blessed that I have the opportunity to go be with them.

Some well-deserved rest, relaxation, and family time!

Absolutely!

Before we go, I’ve got a few fun fill-in-the-blank questions. Would you like to give it a whirl?

Sure!

One of my favorite holiday traditions is…

Christmas crafting

The coolest dance move I’ve ever attempted would have to be…

The moonwalk!

The last thing I bought for myself was…

A phone case

If I ever hit a creative block, I like to…

Go on Pinterest!

Last one! If I could travel anywhere, I’d love to visit… 

Thailand!

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