Some artists release Christmas albums or create holiday-themed shows because it’s profitable. Some record and perform Christmas songs as a way to fill time in between original albums.
Lindsey Stirling is not one of those artists.
For the best-selling, Billboard Music Award-winning violinist and singer-songwriter, Christmas music is very personal, and her 2017 release “Warmer In the Winter” is an expression of what it means to her.
“Christmas is really important to me,” Stirling says. “Not only the traditions and the memories, but I’m a Christian. I believe in Jesus Christ. I was really excited to make this album, and it wasn’t just because ‘Silent Night’ was a really popular song. I grew up singing that song in church, and I love what it means.”
The 13-song “Warmer In the Winter” album is a mix of traditional holiday standards such as “Silent Night,” more lighthearted tunes such as “Jingle Bell Rock,” and a few Stirling originals, all marked by Stirling’s stunning violin playing over fresh, contemporary electronic-pop backing tracks. It was also one of the most successful releases of Stirling’s career, becoming the best-selling new Christmas album of 2017 and topping multiple album charts over such artists as Gwen Stefani and Sia.
“That made me so happy,” Stirling says of the album’s reception. “It seemed to resonate with people on a really personal level. There were a lot of people expressing to me how much it meant to them, and that was the biggest thing. I feel like people of faith related to that album. You can feel things on that album that you can’t fake; you can’t fake that genuine spirituality.”
The “Warmer In The Winter” album has since spawned a successful tour of the same name, which will bring Stirling to the Peace Center in Greenville on Monday, Dec. 16.
Stirling planned the show as more than just a straightforward performance; it’s closer to a Broadway musical, with costume changes, different stage sets and set pieces designed to take the audience on an admittedly sentimental journey.
“I love the Christmas tour,” she says. “One of the goals I have is that I want people to go through a lot of emotions. I want people to laugh and have fun, but then I also hope that people will feel something special. I want people saying, ‘I laughed, I cried, I went through all the feels.’”
Stirling says she wants the audience to react emotionally to her show because she’s coming from an emotional place onstage.
“I really do go out there and not only perform my heart out, but I really bare my soul up there,” she says. “My whole thing is, when you’ve got lots of people listening to you, you should give them something to believe in; something that matters. When I leave the stage, I want people to leave the show feeling inspired and uplifted. I pray for that every night. That’s my calling as an artist, a performer and a person, and this gives me a really appropriate setting to share those kinds of things.”
There will no doubt be a lot of young people in the audience for Stirling’s show on Monday; since her self-titled debut album in 2012, she’s become an inspiration to many aspiring young musicians, both because of her classical-meets-pop musical approach and because of her unflinching honesty when discussing her struggles with depression and anorexia.
“I think that’s the greatest compliment you could possibly get from someone is that you in some way inspired them to create art as well as seeking it out,” she says. “I have to tell you, I just love when I see these little kids out in the audience who are so excited, or when they tell me they play the violin now. I think it’s so important for people to have an outlet they feel they can create with. I get excited when I see that people give themselves permission to create and be creative.”
If you go
- What: Lindsey Stirling: “Warmer in the Winter” Christmas tour 2019
- When: 7:30 p.m., Monday, Dec 16
- Where: Peace Center, 300 S. Main St., Greenville
- Tickets: $45-$95
- Info: 864-467-3000, https://www.peacecenter.org