Photo: Design: F Inomata/Recording Academy
Damien Escobar Showcases His Sultry Violin Sounds For Press Play
Violinist Damien Escobar's journey is deeply inspiring, involving a rise to fame with his brother, a fall of hard luck and a surge of perseverance and hard work to restart his career as a solo artist. You can feel his passion for music—and life—in his performances. Luckily for you, he is the star in the third-ever episode of the Recording Academy's latest video series, Press Play, which will let you discover, get to know and love artists you may not have heard of yet through original performances.
In this episode Escobar performs "Phoenix," which he wrote for his sophomore solo album, 2017's Boundless. The song's name comes from the mythical bird of the same name, inspired by the idea to "be gone with what was and accepting what is." While the violin may be his primary instrument in his music, his sound is far from simply classical, with his style more along the lines of a mix of classical, R&B, jazz & pop
Music has always played an important part of the artist's life. Born in Queens in New York City, he started playing music at a young age, performing in the city's subway platforms as a kid and even became one of the youngest people to attend the prestigious Julliard School of Music when he was just 9 years old. He and his brother formed a group called Nuttin But Stringz, where they both played violin, and gained global rose to fame after they appeared on "America's Got Talent" in 2003. But commercial success was not without some major challenges for Escobar; after they split up he put down his beloved violin and ended up homeless for a period of time, having to completely rebuild his life.
After rediscovering his passion and returning to his violin, he released his debut album, Sensual Melodies, in 2013. He also embarked on a solo headline tour for the first time, and in the spirit of a true bootstrapping indie artist, funded the tour from his own pocket.
Escobar and his brother were invited to perform at White House twice, during President George W. Bush's time in office and during President Barack Obama's inauguration. Their music was featured in several commercials and movies, including the film Step Up during their time as Nuttin but Stringz. Now, as a solo artist, Escobar has partnered with Mitsubishi in a recent campaign of theirs. His passion for his art continues to burn bright, and he surely has more up his sleeves.
Since his return and rebirth as an artist, he has not only inspired others with his story but also put out his sophomore album, performed at events hosted by the likes of Oprah, published a children's book, The Sound Of Strings, and even designed his own line of custom violins for the outside-of-the-box musicians like himself.