A man of unquestionable talent and ambition
Much-lauded violinist Damien Escobar has some unlikely competition – in the form of One Direction and Justin Bieber.
No, the former child prodigy (who seamlessly merges hip-hop and classical) isn’t battling two of today’s biggest pop acts for critical acclaim. Rather, Escobar is trying to divert his adolescent daughter’s attention from the activities of her current musical crushes to furthering her mastery of the violin.
“I see a lot of me in my daughter,” Escobar says. “She just has the natural ability on the instrument. (Unfortunately) One Direction and Justin Bieber have taken over her life right now,” he laments good-naturedly.
Still Escobar, a native of Jamaica Queens, New York, resists the urge to micromanage the musical aspirations of his daughter and preschool-age son. The latter is already playing piano, which was the first instrument Escobar played when he was 2 years old. When it comes to his children’s lessons, “I hire someone else to teach them,” says Escobar, who jokingly adds: “I don’t want to be (Jackson family patriarch) Joe Jackson.”While Escobar’s children are learning the intricacies of music, people around the country are learning more about the depths of their famous father’s talents. He’s touring extensively throughout 2016.
“I’m going to get to your city,” he vows to his fans across the country.
A consummate performer with true “street cred,” Escobar and his brother, Tourie, once worked as street musicians in NYC. By the time the Juilliard grad and his sibling formed (and later disbanded) their music group Nuttin’ But Stringz, they had taken third place on the “America’s Got Talent” competition show, performed at President Obama’s first inauguration and won one of two Emmys. After a short career in real estate, Escobar resumed his musical career. He still surfaces on the streets of NYC every summer for pop-up performances that he promises will continue “no matter how quote-unquote famous I get.”
“I don’t see myself as a violinist,” says Escboar. “I see myself as a vocalist. I compare myself to the Stevie Wonders and the Drakes of the world. I’m not going to stop until I get (heavy) rotation. For me, I’m still not there yet. (But) I’m really ambitious and I dream extremely big. I want to have my music on the radio. That type of notoriety,” he says, leads to a Grammy.
For more information about Damien Escobar’s musical past, present a