How Justine Griffin Helped Usher in the Era of The Music Streamer

Changing the streaming world one improvised performance at a time

She may not have started the trend, but Justine Griffin has made her mark in the new era of live music streamers on social media platforms like Twitch. There, she plays for an audience of over 30,000 followers, taking requests as she improvises to a bevy of songs influenced by a love for film and pop music. 

Justine Griffin performing on a Twitch stream.

Justine Griffin

Griffin said that, over time, she's had to learn how to perform her music in different ways to keep income coming in. "I’m learning a lot as I go, of all these different ways you can make money as a musician and all these ways that people, and myself included, didn’t realize you could," Griffin said in a phone interview with Lifewire.

Griffin’s brother introduced her to the world of streaming, and after two years she’s garnered a sizeable fanbase of music aficionados through her unique improvisation style of music-making and her commitment to the power of performance art. This one-woman band is changing the world of streaming by showing it’s not all just video games and chatting. 

Quick Facts

  • Name: Justine Griffin
  • Age: 26
  • From: Denver, Colorado   
  • Random delight: IT takes two to make a thing go right! She started streaming thanks to the help of her husband, an IT specialist, who helps her set up her streaming equipment and continues to make sure all of her equipment is operating properly. 
  • Quote/Motto: "Go with the flow!"

From Violinist to Video Star

Griffin’s desire for a self-sustaining life started in her childhood. She grew up in Spokane, Washington to two industrious parents who owned a local printing company. She said seeing her parents maintain a business where they were their own bosses instilled in her the possibility for a life devoid of bosses and the monotonous structure that comes with wage labor. 

It was this same self-starter mentality she inherited from her parents that got her into the world of music. A relatively musical child, Griffin at the age of 10 asked her parents to enroll her in violin lessons. She committed herself completely to the violin, joining the Spokane Youth Orchestra, where she played throughout her adolescence before hitting high school.  

The Twitch streamer recalls becoming disinterested in the music scene after dedicating half a decade to it in her youth. "I felt pretty uninspired for a long time with violin as a kid," she said. "I was mostly inspired by random people I would find on social media with different styles they would play because I was never into classical music, which is what most professional violinists play." 

Justine Griffin streaming on Twitch

Justine Griffin

It was social media that reignited that musical spark, showing her what was possible with just a little camera, a microphone, and a decade or two of violin lessons. She came across popular streamers like Jason Yang and realized there was more to the world of musicianship than the ideals instilled in her as a youth by teachers of an outmoded era, where teaching and orchestral work were seen as the only viable options. 

She started her first stream in April 2019 and saw quick success, and after a few months noticed more and more people kept tuning in. While working as a project manager at an advertising firm, she quickly began to see opportunities for growth in streaming. A year into her streaming career,  she saw enough growth to transition to a full-time streamer dedicating more time to her craft.  

"[Changing my career] was honestly the best feeling, because I had always been naturally good at music. It comes easy to me to learn and practice, so I was always like, 'It would be pretty nice to do this for work because I’m good at it,'" she explained.

"I was mostly inspired by random people I would find on social media with different styles they would play because I was never into classical music which is what most professional violinists play."

She eventually began incorporating additional instruments in a bid to maintain the interest her streams had garnered, in part due to the pandemic that created a vacuum of live musical entertainment. "After seeing my community grow, I started to make a schedule, manage my time, and just being more strategic about my growth," she said.  

A New Key

From the guitar to the piano and even vocals, Griffin has become a multi-instrumentalist, with a set of 150 original songs she improvises for her 30,000-person audience of followers and onlookers. Now, she has created a career with a wide array of opportunities unheard of for classically trained violinists before the streaming era. 

Her brand of the family-friendly stream has allowed her not only to serve as a reprieve during the pandemic for concert-deprived audiences, but also for children hoping to learn the musical skill of improvisation. She takes being a role model very seriously, because it was the lack of representation, the 26-year-old said, that kept her from realizing her dreams sooner. 

"I can show people, as an example, that you can be a successful musician without teaching or being in a famous rock band," she said. "I think that’s cool. I really like trying to make people feel like they can do it."

Griffin is as fluid as her performances. She just decides to go with the flow and hopes to continue to grow, as she folds in new viewers through increasingly complex, intimate performances. Committed to staying on Twitch, she’s hoping to expand her YouTube audience and her brand as a digital performance artist and one-woman band, inspiring aspiring musicians along the way.

Was this page helpful?