Film and TV

Lindsey Stirling Hangs by Her Hair for Her New Holiday Special

Lindsey Stirling streams the holiday spirit to your home this weekend.
Lindsey Stirling streams the holiday spirit to your home this weekend. Sydney Takeshta
Lindsey Stirling hasn't let the pandemic stop her from trying new things.

The downtime forced upon performers by COVID-19 started out stressful for the violinist, who was raised in Gilbert. But it also allowed Stirling to throw herself into a variety of projects that she had always wanted to do, including working on a comic book to accompany her 2019 album, Artemis, and starting the String Sessions podcast, where she interviews and collaborates with musicians via Zoom.

“I’ve learned to be creative in new ways," she says.

At this time of year, Stirling would typically be touring and performing holiday tunes from her 2017 album, Warmer for the Winter. Instead, she has spent the last several months putting together a holiday special titled Home for the Holidays, a ticketed event that will stream on Saturday, December 12. Inspired by everything from the comedy of Carol Burnett to Disney specials, Stirling promises laughter, tears, and yes, doing acrobatics while hanging by her hair.

Stirling spoke with us from Los Angeles last week about her upcoming project, being a do-it-yourself operation, and why storytelling is so important.

Phoenix New Times: What can fans expect when watching Home for the Holidays?

Lindsey Stirling: We tried to do things that we could never do on tour. I pulled a lot of ideas from my wish list of things I wanted to do but couldn’t because they were too difficult. I got to do a lot of things I never been able to do before.

Anything you can give away?

We did some comedy sketches. I think it's going to be fun for people to laugh, and there will be some emotional moments as well.

I also love Cirque Du Soleil, and I saw something about a year and a half ago called hair hanging at a show. I was stunned by how beautiful it was and wanted to try it someday. I spent two and a half months learning how to do it. It is what it sounds like: doing aerial acrobatics while suspended by your hair.

That sounds amazing!

I have to say it’s the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. You’d expect it to be hard, but it was really difficult, emotional, painful, and scary. But when I did it, I felt like I could do anything. And people can follow me through that journey in the show. I think it’s going to be shocking, but it’s also uplifting.

I read that you were a film major in college. Were you able to draw on your experience when putting the special together?

I’m so grateful for everything I learned in school because I direct, storyboard, edit, and concept a lot of my music videos. I’m very involved in the visuals of my projects. I’m on the tail end of editing the Christmas special right now. I’m involved in how I wanted it shot and lit. I am so glad I can lean into my knowledge of film. I think that’s why my videos have a distinct look.

Forgive me, but I never realized until now that you’re practically a DIY operation. Has it always been this way?

Absolutely, and I think it’s because it started this way. In the beginning, it was just me, and I was dating a cinematographer at the time. We would go into the forest in Utah and film these beautiful videos, and I would edit them. There was a time or two that I let someone else edit my stuff. It made me realize that one of my best talents is directing and editing.

I’m a storyteller, and editing is one of the ways you convey the message of the story. And you can tell a story through colors and music. I love that. My greatest gift is being able to tell a story whether they know they’re being told one or not.

Was there a story that you loved growing up that you go back to?

My dad loved storytelling. He had the best voice, and he would read me and my sisters Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit when my sisters and I were growing up. The only reason why I made it through such a mature book was because of his voice. He was so in love with the written word and also read a lot of stories he wrote. When I do my projects, I go back to my dad’s voice. He passed away a few years ago, and one of the ways I keep his spirit alive is by telling a story.

Lindsey Stirling: Home for the Holidays will stream twice on Saturday, December 12. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets for the event.
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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil