'The Sharp End of Dance Music: Exposed!'
Considering Emo Dagger's incredible life and career journey, it's no surprise that “So This Is…Me” and “Just Believe,” the first two tracks from the powerful and compelling independent debut from the multi-talented, multi-ethnic musical force of nature, are pure pop inspiration.
Reflecting the ongoing realization of his own dreams, the hypnotic minute long opening cut tells listeners to “stay focused and believe,” while the soulful mid-tempo track “Just Believe” is destined to become a self-esteem, pursue your goals anthem for the ages.
The stylish and charismatic 22-year-old singer, who wrote, produced and arranged every track on So This Is…Me, is already making a powerful impact in his adopted hometown of Los Angeles. Besides performing regularly with his own band over the past year at hotspots like The Viper Room, Aura Club, The Ivar and The Mint, he's sung numerous times for kids from K-12 at Good Shepherd Catholic School in Beverly Hills.
Now, Dagger is about to go national. A dance remix of “Mystic Girl,” another key track from the collection, is being supervised by go-to Dance Promo man Brad Lebeau and will soon ship to dance clubs around the U.S.
Once the buzz gets going in the dance market with the song—which blends soaring vocals, a thumping groove and exotic Middle Eastern touches which pay homage to Dagger's half Lebanese, half Armenian heritage—the promotional focus will expand to include Top 40 radio.
Chatting recently with Emo, and wow, what a name you have there for yourself to get noticed! Is it your real name though?! "Actually! My mom had a close friend (who she had a crush on) named Emmanuel. I guess he made an amazing impression on her, and she thought the name was unique. But, since it was kind of long, from day one, my nickname has been Emo, and “Dagger” is a common Lebanese last name. And that’s how Emo Dagger was born."
For the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking of buying your upcoming 'So This is ... Me' CD, how would you yourself describe your sound? "I love so many different genres and time periods in music! For this first album, I wanted to blend Pop/R&B/Soul/Jazz/Rock and my Middle Eastern influences (pretty much nothing left uncovered J ) all into a fresh, commercial, edgy sound. For example ‘Just Believe’ starts out with a world sound, and then moves into a mid-tempo pop/R&B feel, accented with some Spanish guitars. Once the chorus hits, it turns into more of a rock ‘ish anthem-like feel. For my ballads ‘Lost’ and ‘Best Part of You’, I created more of an old school jazzy feel with the freestyle piano, and in the tempo of the songs. ‘Mystic Girl, Key to My Heart, and Chains’ have more of the Middle Eastern vibe to them, with that special urban twist."
Your album title 'So This Is ... Me' is an interesting choice, but perhaps it originates from a more personal standpoint for you ... and why all those periods before the word 'Me'?! "Well, being my first formal introduction to the world, I want to capture the true essence of who I am, and show the many different sides of myself in an honest and real way. Whether it’s singing about my joys, love, struggles, pain, inspirations, or just pure will to have fun, I want my fans to experience every emotion I went through, because it’s pretty likely they have experienced the same feelings. The … (pause) just sounds cool don’t you think?"
If there was one track on 'So This Is ... Me' that truly encapsulated Emo Dagger at his musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? "I’d have to say musically ‘Mystic Girl’ is one of my favorites, because it has a new intriguing sound that hasn’t been done in pop music today. Most of the instruments were all played live, and hearing them all come together (like I envisioned in my mind) was one of the best feelings! Lyrically, I feel ‘Lost’ is very relatable, especially for those who have experienced heartbreak. I have been told by fans the way I sing that song is exactly how they feel during similar situations. So, that makes all the hard work pay off."
Is it true that you also wrote, produced and arranged each and every track on this new album? Man, if that's true what can't you do?! "I haven’t learned how to work the lights for my live performance shows yet, just kidding. You know, I feel that because I’m able to be honest with myself and just be who I am, the music just naturally flows out of me. I play the piano, so I’m able to arrange there, and producing is so fun for me. I would love to produce other artists later in my career!"
Noting that your song 'Mystic Girl' clearly evokes images of Middle Eastern belly dancers, I'm wondering if such images were visions that got you through all the recording sessions that went into this CD?! "Growing up in a Lebanese/Armenian family, it’s just second nature to listen to all the Middle Eastern classics. Every time we would have a party, you can bet that the minute an ‘Eastern’ song comes on, everyone would start dancing! Some went as far as to change into a belly dancer outfit!! You can ask my mom about that, she’s the first one to get dressed up and dance!"
It's been quoted that you had to narrow down the tracks on this album from @ 45 in total! So, what will happen to the others that didn't make it? "I have a few surprises up my sleeves. Also, I would love to turn one of them into a duet with some of today’s talented female singers!"
Just for fun, and taking the titles of a few of your album tracks, please let us know:
'Mystic Girl' - OK, who is the most mystical girl that you know ... and why?! "I think I had someone like Jennifer Lopez or Shakira in mind for that song. They are so beautiful, so mysterious, and so exotic!!"
'Mistake' - What was the last mistake you made and have you yet rectified it?! "I ate my whole birthday cake in one sitting. It was soo good, but I’m not really a big guy, and well … let’s just say I didn’t feel that well for the next two days after I ate it. I don’t think I’ll be eating cake for awhile."
'Lost' - Have you ever gotten lost on a journey ... and what happened in finding your way back?! "Coming out to Los Angeles at 18yrs old can be a little overwhelming, especially when you are in an unfamiliar territory by yourself. But through sheer determination, hard-work, and staying positive, I overcame that feeling of being lost and literally, creating my debut album ‘So This is … Me’ was a healing process in itself, and helped me through the transition."
What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "Man, there are so many! But if I have to narrow it down. I’d have to say ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ by Jon BonJovi, because the vocals are amazing, ‘Hold on to the Night’ and ‘Right Here Waiting’ by Richard Marx, because his ballads are some of the best songs ever, and finally, ‘Teacher’ by George Michael, because it’s a great vocal challenge!"
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "Of course, who doesn’t? So intelligent, and so damn cute!"
Thanx again for doing this for us today, and we wish you all the best for the future "Thank you again as well, it's been a pleasure!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Emo's brand new CD, and you think you know all there is to know about Emo Dagger, just answer this easy question: The Daggers migrated from their home of where during the Lebanese Civil War in the late 1980s, settling in Arcadia, Indiana, where Dagger's aunt already lived?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new and AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before July 1st with your answer and the subject title 'EMO DAGGER SIGNED CDs' to: email@example.com
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