The Only Pirate at the Party. By Lindsey Stirling and Brooke S. Passey

Lindsey Stirling is one of my favourite artists on the planet. So when I heard that she was co-writing a memoir with her sister, I knew at once that I would have to get my hands on it. It must have been the fastest pre-order I ever placed. When it arrived, I read it in a day.

The book is a crowd-pleaser for her fans, just as her performances are. It’s all that Lindsey is herself: lively, warm, attentive, dedicated and sparklingly engaging. It’s also a written extension of her talent to observe, process and create.

The relationship with her sister and co-author Brooke is a guiding factor throughout her life, work and the book. In fact, some of the most interesting chapters, besides the ones about her work and life as a performing artist, are those where she talks about her family and siblings. The searing depiction of the influence of her eating disorder on her life and how she reclaimed being a sister left me floored, blinking back tears.

I nearly jumped when I read the the title Chapter on my Young and Carefree Drug/ Alcohol Escapades – was there something I had missed? To everyone’s relief, and subtly pointing out certain expectations regarding famous people, Lindsey writes, “I have never done drugs or consumed alcohol, so this chapter is really short.”

As happy and as positive both her personality and her work are (not without effort), several chapters of the book are darkly honest, though while being direct, the stories and struggles Lindsey touches on are not delivered to shock – they are part of the journey that led her to being herself, and she chose to include them.

One can’t help feeling admiration for the amount of work Lindsey put in, continuing to tour and make videos while working on the book with her sister, especially considering the devastating loss of her keyboarder and close friend Jason Gaviati to cancer shortly before the book was published.

The Only Pirate at the Party is full of moments both heart-wrenching and endearingly funny. There were times when I wanted to shout, “Lindsey! Don’t base anything you do on some of those mean comments! And certainly not on those reviews in the paper! They just don’t get it!” or “Don’t you see, those other musicians were just jealous of you!”

I was very fortunate to see Lindsey play live two years ago. The keen feeling for beauty that she carries inside herself translates not only to her art, but to the way the book is written. By the end of it you understand who this girl is, and why she is the only pirate at the party.

I hope she will always know just how incredibly, uniquely gifted she is.


Imagine Dragons: Music Outside of Genres

Imagine Dragons is one of my favourite bands. Why? Partly for the same reasons as for many other listeners, though with a personal tinge. There is a honesty and clarity to their lyrics that is immediately felt, combined with just some really good music (all I can say, not being a music critic, but I’m saying it with such a lot of feeling).

It’s time to begin, isn’t it

I get a little bit bigger, but then I admit

I’m just the same as I was

Now don’t you understand

That I’m never changing who I am

Imagine Dragons. It’s Time

It’s also extremely refreshing to see a hard-working band touring and making music without dubious headlines accompanying them in the media or friendships with weird celebrities. These are 100% committed artists who project both humbleness and gratitude, not to mention mesmerizing talent.

Oh, and I like that they just don’t disclose what the band name means.

It’s still some weeks to go until I see them live, but being swept with memories from their last show, and to fill the time I went on YouTube. There I found this gem of an interview where they talk about their latest album, Smoke and Mirrors. The album is, as has often been mentioned, a departure from its predecessor, Night Visions, both musically and story-wise. It’s intriguing, bold and multifaceted – I’m taking longer to process the songs. But that same honesty and clarity are there.

In the interview the band also makes an excellent point that gets me excited as a fan, and also oddly relaxed. Vocalist Dan Reynolds says whatever genre listeners attribute to the music is fine with them, although they prefer to be seen as genre-less. But they are filled up by music and making it, and it is open to interpretation in all sorts of ways. Lacing up songs with a certain genre is a thing of the past, and I coudln’t agree more; though the freedom of conforming to one specific style also exists. Basically, there is room for everyone and everything.

“Whatever it is, we’re just creating music we like, music that inspires us”, says Reynolds. I want to hang out with them.

Here’s the interview:


My Pitch Perfect Top Five

Pitch Perfect 2 is playing in cinemas and in less than 24 hours I will be reunited with the Barden Bellas. To celebrate (and shorten the wait), I took a fond look back at the first movie. Top five things that make it the snazzy, quotable, relatable fun fest that it is.

1. Anna Kendrick’s character Beca unassumingly, even slightly disdainfully, wows with a rendition of When I’m Gone/ Cups. The song not only sets the tone for what she will come to mean for the Bellas, but Beca’s performance also shows a heroine with an additional big talent she seems unaware of. You start rooting for her.

2. Pitch Perfect shows people being themselves.

3. As well as people with issues.

4. And people with issues still finding themselves.

5. The movie shows how a female friendship can come to life. Unexpectedly, grudgingly, with the twists, stumbles and turns that accompany being thrown together to work for a deadline with simmering conflicts in the background. And suddenly you’re facing a group of people you can actually say, “I love you, awesome nerds” to.


“A pirate’s life for me”

There’s something about a capella and Disney together that is fantastic. While out and about online, I discovered this catchy Pirates of the Caribbean medley by Peter Hollens and the Gardiner Sisters. Featuring some amazing voicework from both parties involved and showing faithful following of the best parts of the film’s soundtrack, this video will make you scramble to find that DVD and watch Jack Sparrow saunter across Port Royal and beyond. Savvy?