It’s all about the moments. Those moments in time that live within us forever. Changing the world starts with a moment. For two-time Emmy Award winning violinist, Damien Escobar, creating an experience for his audience and helping people are his defining moments. During our interview, we discuss his latest album Boundless, how he overcame fear and his involvement with music education. Then we got personal and touched on the man he had become and how being homeless shaped who he is today.
“I’m a vibe guy; I’m always searching for a vibe. That’s what made the entire process so long, it took about two years. Once the energy was right, everything else fell in place for the record. It starts with a vibe then I get great producers around me. The atmosphere is everything,” said Escobar. We discuss the creative process for his new album, Boundless which reached #8 on the Billboard Classical Crossover Charts and #8 on the iTunes R&B/Soul charts within 12 hours of its release. Escobar is currently performing his slew of timeless records on his second national tour, “The Heart and Soul Tour.” And as the record and ticket sales increase, Escobar recalls a time when success terrified him and how he overcame that fear. “I’ll be honest, as my career grew as a solo artist, I was scared to death. I was afraid of success. You work so hard on something and start seeing results, you’re like hold up…am I ready for this? You just have to accept it and jump in with both feet. There’s no easy way to overcome fear, you just have to dive in. Make the commitment and say I’m going to do it and then do it. When God opens doors for you, walk through them.”
When Damien Escobar isn’t blessing the stage, he’s busy creating moments for the people who matter most: the children. He started a non-profit organization to fund music programs in school and thinks it is imperative that children in the public school system are exposed to the arts. “The goal is not just give them a check because I’ve done that before and found out they were spending the money on other things. I wanted to take it a step further. I developed a line of violins that would be appealing to kids. I’m taking the excuses away from the schools. I’m giving them the full program, all they have to do is sign off on it. It’s paid for.” Escobar talks about how children are being shaped by so much negativity in the world and this is his chance to truly make a difference in a child’s life. “With all the negative distractions that kids have now from the internet, reality tv, who they think they wanna’ be from social media and all these rappers showing off fake money, I wanted to give them something else to look forward to, give them something else to want to be. That’s how I got my opportunity. If it wasn’t my public school in Queens, in the hood, that put the violin in my hands, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.”
Just as Escobar is shaping lives, he talks about a particular time in his life that shaped him the most…the time he spent homeless. “It’s a huge part of who I am today because prior to that I was super arrogant. This is my 2nd career, this is my 2nd dream as I like to call it. I was super successful up until 2012; I made my first million dollars when I was 21 years old. If you don’t have the proper guidance and things of that nature, arrogance comes along with that. I wasn’t an outward a**hole but I didn’t think my sh*t stunk. Nobody could say anything to me. I thought I was above the rest. When you lose everything is when you really get to know who you are and the people that surround you. Sleeping on the subway will do something to you; it’d either make you or break you. It broke me and I only had one way to go and that was back up. It was a hell of a journey, it was a long journey back, and I just fought my way back.” He also talks about how it continues to motivate him every day. “The term that really stuck with me was get up. When I was homeless I was always being told to get up, whether it was a police officer or a train conductor because it was the last stop or even moving in with my mom and her telling me to get up, do something with yourself. It always stuck with me. On the days that I don’t wanna’ get up, I keep hearing in my head get up, get up! That shaped who I am today. I appreciate things much more now. I don’t care about money. I mean obviously when you’re selling tickets and selling records as an artist you’re super successful but that’s not what shapes me. What defines me is how I can affect people, how I can affect change. When people come to my concerts, I love when they leave and say I just got an experience. I love sharing that experience with people and really being in the moment with people.”
From performing on Oprah's “The Life You Want Tour” or for President Obama, Escobar is a prime example of living out your dreams and he wants to encourage everyone to do the same. “Just go for it. We spend too much time really thinking that tomorrow is promised. Did I do enough today that if I don’t wake up tomorrow I’d leave an impact on the world? I think about that sh*t every day. Did I make an impact on the world today, did I do enough? It’s just a matter of being selfless and innovative and coming up with something that can really heal people and further humanity. And if your dream does that, don’t over think it, just go for it.”
In every moment, there’s an opportunity…an opportunity for change, for greatness, for the betterment of the world. Moments never die. Time is vast if you use this opportunity. How will you use yours? Damien Escobar’s latest album Boundless and his latest single, ‘Get Up & Dance’ is available now. Catch him on the last leg of “The Heart and Soul Tour” and follow him on all social media platforms @dameesco or visit his website at www.dameesco.com.
Be sure to check back on AXS for future tickets Damien Escobar live in concert: Damien Escobar Tickets.