Lindsey Stirling is the highest paid female YouTuber with nearly 8 million subscribers and over a billion views on her videos since she started her account in May 2007.
The 29-year-old American violinist, composer and performer writes in the description of her YouTube channel:
“I love to play the violin, dance, write music, edit videos, play dress up, and perform. So, I combined it all together and this is what happened. :)”
Her musical style includes classical, pop, electronic dance music and rock. She also performs covers of songs by other artists such as John Legend and soundtracks from games and movies.
Her Zelda Medley, which depicts Stirling in a fantastical world, has been viewed over 27 million times.
Perhaps her greatest hit is a dubstep violin music video called “Crystallize.” The video of Stirling performing her original song in an ice castle in Silverthorne Colorado has garnered 145 million views. It ranked as the eighth-most watched video on YouTube in 2012.
By Aug. 2014, Stirling had sold a million singles worldwide and was named Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30 in Music” in 2015. Aside from YouTube, her music can be found on Pandora and Spotify.
It’s no doubt that Stirling is an extremely accomplished musician. Recently, she revealed in an op-ed with Mogul’s#IAmAMogul campaign that her road to success was not without obstacles.
She struggled to find her own happiness while in college and dealt with mental health issues including depression and anorexia. She wrote in The Daily Dot:
“My followers revere me as an icon of happiness; however, just a few years ago, I was a very different person than I am today. In my college years, for no particular reason, I slowly sunk into depression and anorexia. The change took over my life so slowly that I never detected its intrusion into my personality.
“When I saw people who exuded genuine happiness, I looked at them longingly, wishing I could be like them. All the while, I assumed that some people were just lucky; I thought that some people were happy and some people just were not.”
Stirling explained that happiness is achievable for everyone, but that it takes work. She also points out that many are afraid to talk about mental health, but it is an issue that needs to be addressed. Stirling shared the feeling of being in a slump as she wrote:
“In my mind, I knew I was ugly, I knew I was worthless, I had no purpose and I frequently hid in my room, crying for no reason while my roommates laughed in the living room.”
Stirling learned to combat her mental health battles and now lives a life full of positivity. She wouldn’t be where she is today if there wasn’t hope for change. Stirling wrote:
“I share this with you not to call for your pity, but for two reasons: First, some people may strongly relate to these feelings but not realize that what they are feeling is not normal and more importantly, that they can change. Secondly, I never could have become a successful, world-traveling violinist if I had remained in this self-destructive state.”
By pinpointing her problem, she realized that she could solve it through practice of redefining the subconscious definition she had given to her own identity. Stirling explained:
“Throughout our lives, we develop beliefs about ourselves as a result of life’s situations. We develop these beliefs to protect ourselves from pain, to find the consistency, and to give us meaning and connection. These beliefs manifest themselves through patterns in our behavior and form how we define ourselves: ‘I am shy,’ ‘I am depressed,’ ‘I am awkward,’ or ‘I have nothing to add so I should stay quiet.’ Once we have developed beliefs about ourselves, even if they are negative and destructive, the human personality will cling to them.”
In breaking the cycle of her depression, Stirling recommends listening to your inner voice and dialogue, engaging in the physical, prepping for the day through meditation and seeking professional help. She concludes:
“As a recovering anorexic, I believe that happiness is achievable for anyone. I don’t pretend to be an expert and I am nowhere near perfect. The above comments merely stem from my experiences and my limited studies. But by using these ideas, I continue to work for my happiness on a daily basis. It has been the most important thing I have ever invested my time in and it has enabled me to choose and become who I want to be.”