America’s Got Talent has been a launching pad for many successful careers for both winners and non-winners–Terry Fator, Grace VaanderWaal, Paul Zerdin, Jackie Evancho, to name a few.
This coming weekend is your chance to catch two stellar performances from alums of the show as AGT lands #inWilm with back-to-back evenings at The Grand featuring Piff the Magic Dragon and violin virtuoso Damien Escobar on November 22nd and November 23rd, respectively.
We caught up with Piff and Damien as they make their way to Wilmington to get their INsight on life, show biz, their influences and everything IN between.
INWilmington: Piff and Damien, thank you both so much for sharing your time with us. We’re thrilled to have you here INWilmington at The Grand.
Piff, we all know your older brother… Steve. How has living in his shadow shaped the magic dragon you’ve become?
Piff the Magic Dragon: I’ve learnt that no matter how far you’ve come, how many awards you have won or how successful you think you may be, there’s always one person who thinks it’s hilarious to do Puff the Magic Dragon jokes despite the possible lawsuit based ramifications.
IN: When not on tour, you’re in residency at the Flamingo Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. What do you think of the Sin City so far?
Piff: It’s the desert. So it’s perfect for cold blooded reptiles like me. Also you’re never more than 30 feet from an all you can eat buffet, which is very useful when you’re as snack focused as I am.
IN: Speaking of Vegas, your show has grown to include more than yourself and Mr. Piffles. How did you meet your lovely Las Vegas Showgirl assistant, Jade Simone?
Piff: Lance Burton asked me to do a show for him in 2014 and she was one of the cast members. I charmed her with a donut and the rest is history.
IN: Your magic and comedic style is similar to that of Penn & Teller and The Amazing Jonathan. Both of those acts have performed some death-defying illusions in their careers. Can we expect any potentially dangerous feats from you on the Lucky Dragon tour?
Piff: I firmly believe the only creature defying death should be Mr Piffles. That’s why he’s been shot out of a cannon, levitated, laminated and shackled in a strait jacket all in the name of entertainment.
IN: And, what is the one trick that you will never perform?
Piff: I’m never going to saw my paycheck in half no matter what Mr Piffles’ lawyer tells me.
IN: What advice can you share with any aspiring magicians — human, dragon, or otherwise?
Piff: Nothing beats stage time.
A chat with Damien…
INWilmington: Damien, for audiences that may not be aware, your musical style is an amazing blend of classical, jazz, R&B, hip-hop and pop. Who are your musical INfluences?
Damien Escobar: Thank you for taking the time to interview me. I would have to say my influences are Michael Jackson, James Brown, Prince, Whitney Houston, Chaka Kahn, Jay-Z, Nas, and A Tribe Called Quest, to name a few.
IN: You were the youngest violinist to ever be accepted to Juilliard, at age ten. Did you understand the prestigiousness of that at the time? How have you come to appreciate that now?
Damien: I still feel like that young kid in Julliard with something to prove to the world of music… The experience there can’t be described in words, I’m extremely blessed to have been given the opportunity.
IN: You’ve also written a children’s book, “The Sound of Strings” — what inspired you to write?
Damien: My children. My daughter was struggling with the idea of doing things outside the norm so it inspired me to pen a book that I can share with her and her then 1st grade class to inspire them and help them understand the importance of being different.
IN: The list of celebrities and dignitaries you have performed for is quite impressive. From Oprah to Obama, who were you most nervous to perform for and why?
Damien: Believe it or not I’m most nervous performing in front of 5-year-olds lol. If you can keep their attention for more than a minute you’ve got something special.
IN: You’ve had an incredible journey both personally and professionally, what is the most important lesson about life you would like to share with the rest of the world?
Damien: Your trauma was never your fault, but healing will always be your responsibility.