June 22, 2015 Lindsey Stirling Enchants NYC 6-17-15 w/ Olivia Somerlyn & Karmin
Discouragement is a common occurrence for new artists and musicians. These fearful setbacks could come from a parent, friend, manager, or America’s Got Talent’s Piers Morgan. Back in 2010, Lindsey Stirling was voted off said show and was practically informed to give up on her craft since, according to Morgan, the world had no place for her music. Admirably so, Stirling shrugged the rejection off of her shoulders and enhanced her own YouTube channel. By 2012, Stirling reached millions of subscribers and views from her cover pieces that ranged from Musicals to Video Games. Her fan base widened after the independent release of her self-titled debut studio album, which are all originals. After breaking the charts in the United States and Europe from this release alone, it became obvious to all that incorporating Folk, Classical, Dubstep and Dance music can be quite a hit.
Stirling released her second album in 2014, Shatter Me, which includes a collaboration with Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale on the title track. Needless to say, Stirling has been blossoming ever since. After years of recording new music and posting stunning music videos on her YouTube Channel, Stirling takes a break by going on tour to play for her diverse set of fans. On the night of Wednesday, June, 17th, 2015, it was a surreal moment for Stirling to headline at Central Park’s Summerstage Theatre in the heart of New York City. Nearly halfway through the Music Box Tour, Stirling embraced this night as though the tour just begun. Supporting acts for this evening included the red hot Pop act Karmin and upcoming vocalist Olivia Somerlyn.
First up, the musically devoted, San Francisco native Olivia Somerlyn walked on the stage in front of a massive crowd. Somerlyn’s music is a guiding tool to prove to all that dreams can come true. Writing music has always been her passion since the young age of thirteen and her hard work and dedication across her youthful years have paid off. Her self-titled EP was released in 2010 and she has been busy ever since, touring alongside acts such as the Jonas Brothers and Meghan Trainor. This night was no different as she charmed all with her emotional piece of “For You.”
After Somerlyn poured out her heart and soul to the packed crowd about the crushing subject of heartbreak, she reminded all to believe in one’s self in the new track of “OXO.” Lighting up the mood, Somerlyn had everyone raise their hands and make their own “O,X,O’s.” The audience caught on and cheered along with the fun beat. Somerlyn continued to show what she’s made of during “Smoke.” It was after her performance in “Rumors,” where she was so grateful for the crowd that night, she took a selfie with a sea of her fans in the background. Saving her best and most favorable track to the end of the set with her single, “Parachute,” she inspired all to let loose and dance to this acclaimed tune. It was a short and sweet opening; hopefully after a full-length studio album release, Olivia Somerlyn will have her own headline tour.
At this point, the Summerstage was filling up like a pack of sardines, so tight that strangers were desperate enough to trust each other in holding their spot and grabbing a brew for them. Lo and behold, no one lost their view and arrived just in time for the Bostonian duo, Karmin, to take the stage. Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan joined forces after studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston graduating in 2008. Keeping the music momentum alive, they formed Karmin in 2010 and built their growing fanbase after launching a YouTube channel. The rise did not stop there. Their credibility grew after being mentioned on acclaimed sites such as Reddit and Ryan Seacrest’s blog. It was their 2012 EP, Hello, that brought them to the Billboard Charts in the United States and spanned their music as far away as New Zealand. Karmin has been keeping busy in the studio and on tour; their debut album, Pulses, was released in 2014, while a second full-length album, Leo Rising, is due out during the fall of 2015.
Comfortably owning the stage, Karmin opened up with a surprisingly atmospheric Rock vibe with their commendable track, “Acapella.” Heidemann connected with the crowd as she discussed the latest Nirvana documentary, Montage of Heck, emphasizing that it was amazing. They went into this brief tribute showcasing a snippet of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” which sprung into their track of “Hello.” Heidemann kept the stage at ease while mixing between her rapping and singing capabilities flawlessly. A movie buff, Heidemann asked the crowd if there are any movie goers out there and then broke into the cover from the 1971 film of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’s, “World of Imagination.” Her movement continued and proved her many talents with her speedy rapping artistry while moving swiftly across the stage for all to see and hear in “Look at Me Now.”
Taking a quick moment to catch her breath, Heidemann thanked everyone for coming out and broke the news that this was their last night of being part of the Music Box tour. She was honored to be part of it and mentioned how it was a blast to play alongside Somerlyn and Stirling as they moved into the next song, titled “Along the Road.”
Heidemann talked about how a lot of songs are inspired by the Zodiac and dove into their latest single,“Didn’t Know You.” It was their closing with “Brokenhearted” that had the large crowd to put their hands together, cheering along. Just as everyone was warmed up and wanting to hear more from Karmin, it was their time to depart from the stage. Hopefully, they will be back soon after their official release of forthcoming album Leo Rising.
Fans flocked closer together, turning these strangers into a tightknit, New York City Stirling family. At this point, there was no room to wiggle around, nor was there time to escape for even a short bathroom break. Everyone stood there, anticipating a visually stunning performance from Lindsey Stirling. A noticeable fog stemmed across the stage, catching the audience’s attention. The sounds of “Ascendence” from Shatter Me erupted and out sprung the magnificent Stirling, spiraling along as ever, wearing her Peter Pan-esque costume in a stylized, silver glitz fashion. She danced around the stage while impressively not missing one single note on her violin.
Bringing her music videos to life, Stirling moved right into a Land of the Dead sense with her zombie themed track, “Moon Trance,” from her debut album. Even the backup dancers clothes were ripped and filthy as though they crawled straight out of a George Romero film. As the zombies left the stage, the evening shifted to a night on the ship with Stirling’s pirate theme “Master of Tides.” As Stirling embraced the violin, the backup dancers grabbed their swords, armor and antique maritime telescopes and were on their way to search of gold.
Stirling spoke to the audience about how happy she was seeing the energy she was receiving from her fans. She progressed by telling everyone what ignites her to write her songs, saying, “A lot of my songs are inspired by a video idea. I will get a really great idea for a music video so I will have to then write a song to fit it so I can fill my idea.” She also explained how the track, “Shadows” was inspired by her love for Peter Pan. Not only did Stirling perform remarkably but she also turned the stage into Never Never Land. A backdrop came down and showcased many Peter Pan shadows. The crowd felt the nostalgic piece and it captured everyone’s hearts with her superb Electronic music. Moving forward with the visual stunts in “Elements,” Stirling brought water, fire, air and earth live to the stage. Stirling appeared as a fifth element in a sense, where she was a spirit running free and illuminating the Summerstage with her multitalented masteries.
This Wednesday evening took place during the middle of the major E3 event that was happening out in Los Angeles, holding press conferences about the latest and upcoming video games. Stirling is known to have many video game clips on her YouTube channel and she would not want to disappoint any of her gamer fans. A short intermission occurred where the theatrical side of Stirling was revealed on the screen. She went into a wardrobe change and walked out in her gamer armor, beginning with her “Video Game Medley” piece which featured snippets from Assassin’s Creed, Dragon Age, Halo, Skyrim, and Zelda. Afterwards, she admitted that she called it her “Nerd Medley” in a commendable way. Stirling moved straight into an acoustic set of the beautiful and poetic piece, “Song of the Caged Bird,” and the perky “Swag.”
Stirling honestly opened up to the crowd, revealing how she became who she is today by emphasizing that, “I wasn’t always this way. Even several years ago, I was suffering from depression and during this time I was struggling with a variety of things. I can honestly remember looking in the mirror, hating everything I saw, looking back at me and wishing I could be anyone else. The reason why I share this with you is not for a pity party. The reason I share this with you is because I realized I had a problem and I wanted to change. The same way I practiced my violin, did exercises, learned to dance, I practiced being positive and I worked extremely hard to train my brain to think differently and I’m a very different person than I was several years ago. I’m so much happier and I can tell you no matter who you are today and what you are doing, I truly believe we can all become the people we want to be. Whether that means chasing your dreams and reaching your goals, or actually changing the thoughts that run through your head and the type of person you are. I know we can all become the person we want to be. A lot of my songs stem from this belief. A lot of them start in these sombre versus and I hope they end in this victorious sounding or freeing chrouses. This next song is an example of that, and it’s about overcoming.” This ingenious speech led a thunderous applause which ended just in time for the immaculate, “Transcendence” to begin. During this performance, a beautiful and starry backdrop came down and towards the end of the track, it displayed inspiring words for all fans to see, such as “empowerment,” “courage,” “hope,” “love,” “gratitude,” and closing with “transcendence.”
Stirling’s musical journey continued with the visionary “Take Flight.” Between the movement of Stirling and the backup dancers along with the mood of the song, all felt liberated across the Summerstage as though they were Egyptian goddesses. Glistening in after a short costume change, “Crystalize” dazzled all with shattering delight. The musical diversity of the night continued with Stirling’s latest song, “Firefly,” which features herself as the singer. This only proves that not only she can rock the violin, dance and perform, she can sing as well. Her voice echoed throughout the crowd, making them all wanting more of her radiant voice.
Fiddling in at the near end of the night, Stirling persisted on a flourishment and turned the clocks back to the Western years in “Roundtable Rival.” This entertaining performance included a keytar and a backup dancer on the drums. The crowd clapped along with the music until the very end. Stirling took the mic and goofed off a bit while introducing her band: Drew Steen on drums and Jason Gaviati on electronics and the keytar. During this introduction, Gaviati hypnotized Stirling to sing a few songs briefly such as Richard Marx’s “Right Here Waiting” and Aladdin’s “A Whole New World.” After the funny bit ended, it was time to launch into the starry evening with the astronomic piece, “Stars Align.” Closing the night, an excerpt of a ballerina being trapped in a music box evolved into the long anticipated track, “Shatter Me.”
As fireworks lit the stage, fans were eager for more Lindsey Stirling. Shortly after she sparked back, closing the night with “Beyond the Veil” and the New York City favorite, “Phantom of the Opera Medley.” Lindsey Stirling’s visual performance was a memorable and breathtaking experience. She knows how to perform, entertain and keep the crowd at ease. Hopefully she can return to New York City and be seen at venues such as Radio City Music Hall or Madison Square Garden. The visuals mixed with her music is well worth it. This night alone has proven that no one should ever be discouraged and to follow one’s dream.
Photo credit: Charles Eames Photography