Damien Escobar, also known as Dame Esco, is an American violinist. He was previously in the duo Nuttin' But Stringz with his brother Tourie, but has been a solo artist since 2012. His "crossover violin" musical style consists of a mix of classical, jazz...
Damien Escobar, also known as Dame Esco, is an American violinist. He was previously in the duo Nuttin' But Stringz with his brother Tourie, but has been a solo artist since 2012. His "crossover violin" musical style consists of a mix of classical, jazz, pop, R&B, and hip hop.
Early life & education
Escobar was born in 1988 in the Jamaica, Queens neighborhood in New York City. He lived with his single mother and older brother Tourie. He began playing the violin at the age of eight. At the age of ten, Escobar became the youngest student accepted into the Juilliard School of Music. He graduated from Juilliard at 13. He also studied at the Bloomingdale School of Music.
As kids Damien and Tourie worked as street musicians, playing at Grand Central Station and on the New York City subways. In 2003, they began playing professionally under the name Nuttin' But Stringz. In 2005, Nuttin' But Stringz won a talent contest at the Apollo Theater. In 2006, Escobar appeared in the film Step Up. Nuttin' But Stringz took third place in the 2008 season of America's Got Talent. They performed at the First inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009 and won two Emmys. In 2012, Nuttin' But Stringz separated. Escobar returned to school and got his real estate license.
After a short career as a real estate broker, Escobar returned to music as a solo act. His first solo performance was on the French TV show Taratata. He also played at the Indy Car 2012 Championship Awards Banquet, Russell Simmon's Hip Hop Inaugural Ball and the 2013 Food & Wine event in New York City. In 2013, Escobar went on the I Am Me tour in order to promote his comeback. He released his first solo album "Sensual Melodies" in 2014.
In 2014, he authored an autobiographical children's book titled "The Sound of Strings." The same year he performed at Oprah's "The Life You Want" weekend tour. Escobar released his first pop single "Freedom" in September 2015, which premiered at #15 on the iTunes chart.
In 2007, Escobar founded the Violins Against Violence foundation. Escobar also works with the VH1 Save the Music Foundation, UNICEF and Kennedy's Cause, a charity that benefits children with lymphatic malformation. He is also on the Board of Directors for the Jamaica YMCA. In 2013, he hosted an event that raised over $50,000 for the Jamaica YMCA. In 2014, Escobar performed a rendition of We Shall Overcome in honor of Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin and his friend Sean Bell.