Music: A Life Changing Passion

By Marina Krivonossova on October 22, 2020

As a child, I was extremely passionate about dance. But I grew up in an environment where I was told to ignore my passions and pursue “useful” and “beneficial” hobbies that would result in guaranteed career success in the future. I was not strong enough to ignore the opinions of nay-sayers, and I let my passion for the arts disappear with my childhood.

However, some people ignore the opinions of the nay-sayers around them and opt to pursue things that they’re genuinely passionate about. Amongst these impressive and successful people is someone I met when I was a 17-year-old in community college. His name is Daniel Escamilla, and the story of his passion for music is one that is bound to inspire young adults around the world. So, without further ado, I’d like to present to you an interview with this talented musician.

(Image via Daniel Escamilla)

Marina: Hey Daniel, thank you so much for doing this interview with me! The first thing that I’d like to know is where you got your beginnings as a musician. When did you first get interested in making music?

Daniel: I almost feel like it’s a cliché, but truly all my life I’ve wanted to be involved in music. I sang in church since I was five, and to this day, I still do! But the creating my own music bit — that came in when I was about 13-years-old.

Marina: It’s awesome to hear that you chose to pursue something you were passionate about from so early on. And can you tell me how music fit into your life when you were in high school and in college? 

(Image via Daniel Escamilla)

Daniel: So when I was 13, a freshman in high school, I tried to commit suicide. Just the utter feeling of being alone, no one truly caring about me, and just feeling unwanted contributed to that decision. The shortened version of this story is that creating music entered my life at this point, but it was just the writing of lyrics then. I used to write down my thoughts and feelings, and one day, lyrics came out instead, and I continued on.

When I was a junior in high school, depression and suicide crept back into my mind, so I drank and did my fair share of drugs to alleviate the pain. But that’s when music saved me again. I went “cold turkey” and stopped drinking and smoking, and instead started learning to play bass, so that I would have a physical outlet for all that I was dealing with. Rather than harming myself, I started expressing myself creatively.

How music helped in college was when classes would get overwhelming or my stress levels were peaking, I’d just get lost in my music and pour out whatever negativity was brewing. You were there at times where I had to push out essays or long papers, and I’d open a window and have YouTube play a concert from one of my favorite artists the entire time I was writing, and the words for my paper would just fly out.

(Image via Daniel Escamilla)

Marina: Wow, that’s quite a story. Thank you for sharing it with me. I think a lot of students go through negative patches when they just feel so helpless and alone. It’s inspiring to see how far you’ve come thanks to music, and how comfortable you are sharing your experiences now. Was it difficult for you to balance the worlds of music and school?

Daniel: Very difficult! Unfortunately, my musicianship (as far as playing) was put on the back burner when I started college. Partially from the workload, partially from being done with music because of this band I left at the time. However, it also drove me to seek more knowledge. When I entered my college career, I only knew to learn music from TABs or by ear, so I took advantage and learned all I could. And in later years, I developed a schedule where on certain days I’d focus entirely on school, and on other days — entirely on music. This evolved into blocking out each day to include both school time and music time.

Marina: It seems like you managed to perfect your planning skills by needing to combine music with school! That’s great. What are your biggest inspirations when it comes to making music?

Daniel: Family and friends who are better or more experienced than me. I am inspired by their knowledge and drive, and I desire to be as skilled as them, or even surpass them someday.

(Image via Daniel Escamilla)

I have a couple of cousins I saw as the best musicians I know, and they say I surpassed them because I kept learning. My friend Ben who’s not only a skilled musician, but also a great recording artist, also inspires me to be at the level of know-how he is.

Myles Kennedy, Alicia Keys, Jimmy Needham, Adam Dutkiewicz, and Howard Jones are my “celebrity” inspirations. All of their lyrics are just well written, well stated, and impactful in every way. Their musicianship is just jaw dropping at times, and their vocals… My God, their vocals. I just sit in awe at times when hearing them, and just think to myself, “Someday, someday I’ll be at their level.”

Marina: Sounds like you’ve been surrounded by inspiration your whole life! Now, on to some challenges… What are some challenges you’ve encountered throughout your musical career? 

Daniel: Not being compatible with some of the people I tried to work with, wanting different sounds, different genres, being at different commitment levels, mental blocks of self-doubt… The biggest challenge has been the thought of “Why I shouldn’t,” which stems from my negative mentality of not being good enough.

Marina: It seems like you’ve had your fair share of challenges to deal with for sure, even after surpassing so many roadblocks you encountered. On to something more positive then — what’s been your greatest musical achievement?

Daniel: Greatest achievement I’d have to say is a tie between performing for Relay for Life events during their luminaria, or performing for Santa Clara County Opioid Overdose Prevention, as part of their International Overdose Awareness Day concert. Both were tremendous opportunities, albeit emotionally taxing experiences (in a good way). Selfishly though, I’d say writing and recording my own song from top to bottom without any assistance is also up there on my list of greatest accomplishments!

(Image via Daniel Escamilla)

Marina: Your hard work has clearly paid off, as you’ve accomplished some seriously awesome things! And what advice would you give to current students interested in pursuing music, whether as a career or hobby?

Daniel: As a career, be relentless. Do your best to push past doubts and all hindrances, and just create. Even if you think it’s crap, see it through. Because then, you’ll go back and make improvements to what you struggled with prior. Always pursue the dream while absorbing what knowledge and advice you can.

As a hobby, it is perhaps the greatest, most frustrating hobby to have. It’s a great outlet for whatever is pent up and needs to be let out, and it’s great for helping you learn how to multitask.

Marina: Thank you so much for sharing all your experiences and insights, Daniel. I’m sure your words and your music will forever continue making a difference in the lives of the people who are fortunate enough to experience you and your art. Would you like to share any concluding thoughts?

Daniel: Music is the tool that was used to save my life. But it can be that for someone else, it helps provide beauty when it’s not there, and helps voice things that are otherwise difficult to say. I hope when someone comes across something I shared, they’re inspired to persevere. I hope whoever reads this is inspired to continue their craft, rather than let their dreams stay dreams.

Daniel Escamilla, Music Artist
Official Instagram (@bigdwhoso)
Up-and-coming Music Instagram (@dme_music)
Official Soundcloud (/198964)

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