Thursday, August 20

Center Stage - Damien Escobar

Damien Escobar is a talented and accomplished violinist. His unique sound is a type of crossover musical style consisting of a mix of classicaljazzpopR&B and hip hop. 

We're pleased to have him as our newest Radio Airplay Center Stage artist. Get to know Damien and what he's been up to in this feature. 

Easy come, easy go; was the lesson two-time Emmy Award winning violinist, Damien Escobar learned when he and his brother walked away from a multi- million dollar brand that took ten years to build. The now 28-year-old's claim to fame came early on in his teens when he, alongside his brother, appeared on "America's Got Talent" as Nuttin' but Stringz. Two urban kids from Jamaica, Queens, playing a blend of hip hop and classical melodies with a violin was somewhat surprising to viewers, and unique to say the very least; and the duo quickly shot to stardom-- appearing in commercials and movies, touring, and even adding a platinum selling album to their accolades. But growing creative differences eventually became too much for the pair to bear, and the success of Nuttin' but Stringz came to an end-- shattering the name and reputation Damien worked hard to establish, and forcing him to rebuild from rock bottom.

After the fall, Damien is reveling in the climb. Since re-launching his career, Escobar boasts of 200K downloads from his first R&B mixtape, "Sensual Melodies"; an iTunes chart topping single, “Freedom” and has more than a few notable solo headliner performances under his belt including: Oprah Winfrey’s The Life You Want Tour, Revolt TV’s Global SPIN Awards, CBS Upfront Presentation, Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef Awards, Indy Car Championship Awards, Major League Baseball MVP honors Gala, Angela Simmons "Electric Daze" Fashion Show, Russell Simmons’ Hip Hop Inaugural Ball, Governor Tom Wolf’s Inaugural Ball, and corporate concerts for FRIDAYS, Walmart, Target, and more.
Escobar, once a self-proclaimed retired violinist, is now on everyone’s radar; and has even obtained online success with viral videos picked up by media giants such as, Huffington post, CNN, and A recent feature in PEOPLE Magazine elevated Escobar to new heights in his solo career; highlighting his movement of giving back to others by doing random acts of kindness. The star even found his way back on national television, accepting an invitation to appear as a performer in WEtv’s “David Tutera’s: Unveiled”. And since then invitations to appear on television haven’t ceased; landing Escobar in the interviewee chair at Fox News and NBC, and ABC with other appearances lined up for early 2015.

As a veteran, knowing the ups and downs of the industry, Escobar has committed to centering his career around the loyal fans he refers to as "good people," who constantly remind him of why he got back into music. His appreciation for the support system he feels sustains him, spawned his Pop-Up Performance campaign. Armed with a giant speaker, a mic, and his violin, Escobar set out to surprise unsuspecting New Yorkers with a pop-up concert experience. The response to his documented journey was overwhelmingly positive, and resulted in Damien announcing a seven city pop-up performance tour this summer.

Currently, Escobar is appreciating his journey as a fresh new artist, with the recent release of his high-energy, inspirational single "Freedom" which he debuted on The Katie Couric show in support of Kennedy’s Cause, that single subsequently went on to open up at #15 on the iTunes dance charts. The artist has also tapped into the book industry, penning his first children’s book entitled “The Sound of Strings.” He will begin his book tour at the start of the new school year.

In 2012 Nuttin' But Stringz disbanded and Damien Escobar emerged as a solo artist out to make a name for himself. Humble in his dealings but confident in his craft, Damien makes it no secret that he's determined to gain recognition for being the "dopest" violinist to crossover into mainstream music. In an industry not overpopulated by instrumentalist, the Hip-Hop violinist is looking to change the game. He's a pioneer with a plan, and the future of music rest in his hands. 

What inspires you to make music? 
What inspires me musically is my everyday life experiences along with my interaction with my fans (CroonerNation) at concerts. I've learned that music is a natural herb that has the power to heal people from almost anything.

What aspect of making music excites you the most right now? 
The mystery of it all. My creative process is based on my mood and being a gemini has my moods all over the place lol! So I never know where a song will take me until it's finished and it seems to always turn out pretty decent in the end.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a musician? 
Honestly none. Many artist/musicians are faced with challenges when they're trying to do what everyone else is doing instead of doing THEM, creating there own lane and sound. I think when you know who you are as an artist challenges don't really exist because you are the best version of yourself. Hakunah Matata ;)

What's one of your all-time favorite recordings? 

Name three people who have influenced your music, and tell us why- Living or dead.
Michael Jackson - Because he's, well, the sh*t.
Bach - Because he was creating Hip-Hop melodies in the 1600's and didn't even realize it.
New York Subway System - I busked on the subway's from when I was 10 years old up until I was 18 years old and I was introduced to the sounds of NYC from the real core of the concrete jungle. Everything sounded like music to me from the trains entering the station to the crying baby while I was performing lol, in my mind it translated into melodies.

Do you have any recent or upcoming projects you'd like to share with us? Tell us about it. 
I'm working on my new album "Boundless" that is due out at the end of this year. I named it Boundless because the music being created tears down any musical boundaries that currently exist. I'm combining a classical instrument with genres ranging from Hip-Hop, EDM, R&B, World Music, and Funk, all on one project. To many that combination doesn't make sense on paper but I guarantee after listening to my album it will change perceptions.

What is your ideal or target audience? 
I really don't have one. My concerts now range from people young to old, and I find it really dope when after my concert a mother and daughter would walk up to me and thank me for giving them something in common. That's such a dope feeling. So to answer the question, my target is anyone that loves good ol music.

Do you write/compose your own songs? Briefly describe your songwriting process.
Yes. The process will either start with me and the producers creating the beat (Shout out to Alfie Magliano, Aganee, Callir Muzik) or me coming up with a violin melody line to produce around. Once we have a scratch idea I then develop my violin lead line and then build around it the same way a singer would build around his/her lead line.

What do you like the most about Radio Airplay? 
The FREEDOM to present my music in the way I intended it to be digested. Commercial radio is cool but commercial radio doesn't give alternative music a platform to be heard. Radio Airplay does!


Links - Social media - Facebook/Instagram/Twitter - @dameesco