|Also known as||Dame Esco|
|Born||Jamaica, Queens, New York City|
|Associated acts||Nuttin' But Stringz|
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 1986 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.
- Matute, Marjoriet T. (18 July 2013). "Meet Damien Escobar, the Hip Hop Violinist". huffingtonpost.com. TheHuffingtonPost.com. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
- "About Damien Escobar". MTV.com. Viacom International Inc. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
- Chideya, Farai (1 December 2006). "Nuttin' But Stringz: Hip-Hop Violin". NPR.org. NPR. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
- McCracken, Erin (26 February 2013). "Damien Escobar, hip-hop violinist, to perform at Think Loud event in York". flipsidepa.com. York Newspaper Company/York Daily Record. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
- Grymes, Andrea. "Interview With, Performance By Violinist Damien Escobar". newyork.cbslocal.com. CBS Local Media. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
- Nemiroff, Brianne (16 August 2013). "Damien Escobar: Bringing the Violin into Pop Music". vivaglammagazine.com. Viva Glam Magazine. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
- "Daytime Damien Escobar Performs". WFLA.com. Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. 17 December 2014. Archived from the original on 18 January 2015. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
- "Damien Escobar Kicks Off Summer with Charity Concert in Jamaica, Queens". broadwayworld.com. Wisdom Digital Media. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
- "Damien Escobar. I Am Me". stephenchukumba.com. Stephen Chukumba. 15 January 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
- "Violinist Damien Escobar's Debut Solo Single 'Freedom' Debuts at #15 On iTunes Charts". broadwayworld.com. Wisdom Digital Media. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
- Sobieraj Westfall, Sandra (24 December 2013). "Damien Escobar Honors 16-Year-Old PEOPLE Hero". People.com. Time Inc. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
- Golding, Shenequa A. (26 November 2014). "Violinist Damien Escobar Pays Tribute To Mike Brown With 'We Shall Overcome'". vibe.com. Spin Media. Retrieved 30 March 2015.