His crossover style fuses classical, jazz, pop, R&B and hip hop.

New York based Damien Escobar, 27, graduated from Julliard at 13 and calls himself “The Violin Crooner” and I can’t stop listening to his cover of the Norwegian duo Nico & Vinz song, Am I WrongThe video (below) is a year old but just crossed my path of Facebook this past week. One does not reach this level of precision and seemingly effortless fun without  raw talent and the dedication it takes to shape it.

He rose to stardom from the 2003 subways of New York in the duo, Nuttin but Stringz with his brother, Tourie. Creative differences caused the brothers to split in 2012. Damien put down his violin and got his real estate license before making a comeback and releasing his first solo album, Sensual Melodies in 2014.

I’ve had Escobar’s Am I Wrong cover on a loop in my car and at the desk the past few days. Watching him play in this video adds another dimension. He seems to barely hold the violin, in conversation with driving bass, percussion and supporting strings. They start talking mid sentence, like an afterthought. Escobar’s pristine notes undulate, never touching the ground, his shredded bow levitating with the ascension of the melody. I hold on to the steering wheel or the keyboard to keep from floating away while the music accompanies my thoughts of character beats, plot points and story lines. The piece ends as it began, forthwith as if the violin is laughing.

At the end of the video Escobar says, “That was a little too much, huh?” Answer:  “Almost, Damien. Almost!”

Escobar’s cover sent me in search of the Nico & Vinz original and I found inspiriting lyrics and a stunning short film shot in Botswana to “project the positivity, joy and good energy that is in Africa,” say Nico (Ivorian-Norwegian) and Vinz (Ghanian-Norwegian).

“Am I wrong  ~ for thinking out the box from where I stay?  ~ Am I wrong ~ for saying that I choose another way.”  ~ Nico & Vinz,  Am I wrong

The story in my work-in-progress novel, Peach Seed Monkey centers around three men, and here I am jamming with these three artists who have no idea what their music is doing for my headspace and process.

Forget everything you thought you knew about who plays virtuoso violin and what Norwegian artists look and sound like.