If you’re not familiar with Damien and Tourie Escobar, they are the fabulous Nuttin’ But Stringz (NBS), the urban rock violin twosome and “America’s Got Talent” finalists. “I hope people are inspired by our concerts,” Damien said. “We put a lot of inspiration and effort into our performances, and we hope people, after a concert, when they’re home, apply a little bit of it to their lives.”
In a recent telephone interview, Damien told me that some of his musical influences are Michael Jackson, U-2, The Beatles, and Bon Jovi.
He’d like people to know, he added, “We write our music, arrange it, and produce it. It’s all original.” Damien said that most enjoyable and rewarding about performing “is healing people. We get emails that say ‘your concert helped me get through the day.’”
“The guys are simply amazing,” said Anne Waitkins, publicist, Lizzie Grubmam Public Relations and NBS’s publicist. According to Anne, a few of NBS’s accomplishments are: “They were accepted as the youngest students, age 10, at Julliard. They performed in NYC subways to earn extra money. They opened for Aretha Franklin at The Kennedy Center for Martin Luther King Day and [have performed] at the White House for President George W. Bush.”
My curiosity aroused, I went to YouTube to listen to President Bush’s introduction. “Tourie and Damien discovered their love for the violin in the third grade, and soon found themselves studying classical music at New York’s finest conservatories,” he said. “They formed a group called Nuttin’ But Stringz, and perform a fusion of classical, R&B, and Rap. I look forward to them.”
Judges Sharon Osbourne and David Hasselhoff of “America’s Got Talent” praised Tourie and Damien’s work, “The tone you get from your instruments is sensational,” Sharon opined. “The most perfect tone I’ve ever heard from any violin player. It’s so nice to see young, good looking guys playing the violin because usually violinists are old and bald… I think you guys are going to be responsible for a lot of young kids going for violin lessons.” David proclaimed, “You also move us with your music. You can make us rock, you can make us dance, you can make us feel. Man, keep it comin’.”
Here’s a suggestion. Watch and listen to NBS’s electrifying work on YouTube, and I predict – in fact, I guarantee – you’ll be hooked by this hugely talented duo. You’ll find they bring the violin – that most wonderful and perhaps mysterious of instruments - into the 21st century; that in their hands, it becomes relevant for music lovers of any age. And yes, once you’re hooked you’ll want to see them live in concert. Damien and Tourie performed at Mohegan Sun Casino in January, and they like New England, which means there’s a good chance they’ll return. Let’s hope it’s very soon.