By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
America’s Got Talent (AGT) is in the middle of its most competitive season ever!
As Got Talent franchise creator and America’s Got Talent judge Simon Cowell stated earlier this season, “the kids have taken over the show!” So far this year, eight acts under the age of 18-years-old have made it to the Dolby Theatre live shows with half of them receiving the Golden Buzzer from Mel B, Howie Mandel, Simon Cowell, and guest judge Reba McEntire respectively.
So when did this trend start? Loyal AGT fans started noticing this trend develop Season Nine at the height of the Howard Stern AGT era, where several younger acts advanced in the competition. Brothers Emil and Dariel Liakhovetski were amongst the acts that benefited from being on that crucial season. From the first note at their judges’ audition, Emil & Dariel showed off their innate ability to fuse classical music with rock and roll as they blew away everyone with their interpretation of Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze.”
After delivering incomparable interpretations of the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction,” Wings’ “Live & Let Die” and their powerful cover of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” the brothers placed in Season Nine’s Top Seven and used America’s Got Talent to launch the next chapter of their careers.
In this edition of Catching Up, the brothers opened up about recording their debut studio album and what happened when their musical heroes, Finnish cello metal band Apocalyptica, invited them to join their U.S. tour.
Jacob Elyachar: How have you grown as artists since the last time we spoke?
Emil Liakhovetski: A lot has changed since our last interview in November of 2014. It’s pretty incredible how it seems like it was just yesterday, but so many things have happened. Back then, we were fresh off the show and entirely new to the industry, not knowing what to expect and how anything worked. We have gotten the privilege to play with Apocalyptica on their Shadowmaker U.S. Tour, which was an experience unlike anything for us as musicians, and on a personal level. That was our ultimate dream ever since we were little kids.
Dariel Liakhovetski: We have also been incredibly busy with corporate shows. In fact, the business world has kept us so busy that we barely had any time to ourselves. We did, however, manage to start working on some excellent original songs in between our travels.
JE: Last year, you released your debut album: “Rock Cellos.” What were some of the lessons that you learned when you recorded the album?
EL: When we came off America’s Got Talent, we were exposed to the world, yet completely unaware of what the music industry entailed and how the world would welcome us. We were very innocent and naïve, and our parents had always taught us to do the right thing, to be good, and honest. Luckily, we were very fortunate to have so much heart-warming support pour in from all the fans from around the world. It inspired us to record music and try to give back to the fans. Unfortunately, what we did not expect was the amount of fraud that was involved in the music industry.
DL: We stepped off the AGT stage as children and had to grow up quickly. Every step of the way, there was a new scheme to derail us as artists, without any regard to how it would affect us or the fans, by the people whom we trusted the most with our careers. After countless encounters with deceit and numerous lawsuits, we were forced quickly to learn the bright and very dark side of the music industry. Right now, we are completely independent, more prosperous than ever before, and loving it.
JE: This season on “America’s Got Talent,” a lot of young acts advanced to both the Judge Cuts round and the Live Shows courtesy of the Golden Buzzer. In your humble opinions, do you think that you two played a minor role in setting the standard for young performers who audition for the show?
EL: It’s always very interesting to watch each respective season unfold because they are all very different regarding the type of talents we get to experience and the wide age range presenting those talents. It’s a great point you make; there never were near as many younger kids competing in the competition in the previous seasons.
DL: It would be great to think that we played some role in inspiring children to pursue their dreams, to push the limits, to be as great as they possibly can be. It makes us very happy to see so many children defying what is considered to be “normal” for their age and getting up on stage and sharing their incredible talents with the world.
JE: This year, you are opening for your musical heroes, Finnish quartet Apocalyptica, on their nationwide tour. Could you describe your experience working with Apocalyptica to my readers?
EL: It’s hard to describe the feeling where you have been watching, carefully listening, and idolizing someone for many years, and then you get to witness them in front of you live, and rock out on stage with them, with fans jumping and screaming in excitement. With all of their success, we could never imagine that they would be so welcoming and friendly with us. They took us in with open arms and a very warm heart. They are not only talented musicians, but very highly educated, and fascinating as people. It is not very often that you meet people like that. It was a gift spending time with them, and we feel very privileged.
DL: The emotions we felt the day we met them is something that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. And the most amazing part of it all was that we all experienced incredible chemistry between each other on stage. It felt as if we had been playing together for years; we just felt what they were going to do, and they felt what we were going to do. An incredible feeling, a rush of excitement. It’s the kind of rush you can’t fake or recreate. We all became great friends, and we are currently working on an amazing project together, which will soon be revealed…
JE: If you had the chance to meet with aspiring young musicians who want to pursue a career in the music industry, what advice would you share with them?
EL: To take everything with a grain of salt. There will be a lot of people along the way who will try to bring you down, and that will be either on a personal level or a business level. Try to surround yourself with only the people who have earned your trust. The music industry is very crooked, and it is very easy to fall into the many traps that are just waiting for you out there. Too many people will want to take advantage of you, including your own attorneys, managers, and record labels. It helps to remember that no one in the music industry does free favors for you, they are looking out for themselves and themselves only.
DL: We learned the hard way and here we are several lawsuits later, giving aspiring young musicians advice. Finally, you have to set goals and have dreams. Don’t let anybody stop you. You will never accomplish anything it you don’t have a clear goal of what it is you want to achieve. Work hard, dream big, chase those dreams, and have your daily dose of Starbucks.
For more information about the guys and their tour with Apocalyptica, visit their website.