For Eric Darius there are no limitations when it comes to breaking new ground. Internationally known as an elite Jazz/R&B/Pop Saxophonist, Songwriter, Producer, and Performer, Darius recently dropped, “L.O.V.E Feat. Brian Culbertson” the third single from his seventh studio album, Breakin’ Thru, which debuted at #2 on the iTunes Top 40 Jazz Albums Chart.
This project is an extra special milestone for Darius as it is his first release via his own independent label, SagiDarius Music. The title track and debut single for Breakin’ Thru has been a staple on Contemporary Jazz radio reaching #1 on the Billboard Charts, as well as his second single Dare 2 Dream, which reached the Top 5 on the Billboard Charts.
Breakin’ Thru features 10 original songs with co-production by Darius, Rodney Jones, Jr. (Chris Brown, Mary Mary, Mary J. Blige) and Butta N’ Bizkit (John Legend, Ne-Yo, Miguel, Ledisi). Eric is currently on a worldwide tour promoting the Breakin’ Thru album, dazzling audiences globally with his dynamic show.
About his foray into independence, Darius says, “I’m was really excited to finally release an album on my own record label. The timing just felt right after 15 years in the music business. Seeing how the music industry has changed over the years, I thought it was time to take a leap of faith and take complete advantage of the new technology and social media that is now at my disposal – putting the music entirely back into my own hands, giving me creative freedom, and giving the audience and fans a direct experience exactly the way I hear and feel it with no restrictions. Breakin’ Thru is about breaking down all of the walls, barriers and boundaries, and just making good, uplifting music. It’s not about genres. When you listen to this project, you’ll hear so many elements from Hip-Hop, to R&B, Pop, Rock, Gospel, Funk, and Reggae. I don’t want to be caged or boxed in musically. The project is a true and honest representation of myself as an artist and reflects my growth as a person, musician and songwriter.”
Not only was the recording of Breakin’ Thru a liberating experience for Darius creatively, it honed his skills as an entrepreneur. “I studied both music and business while attending the University of South Florida. I’ve always been in tune to the business aspect of music. But now that I’m overseeing everything from the music, production, marketing, budgeting, distribution to manufacturing of this project, it’s been intensified to where I have to ensure every “T” is crossed and every “I” dotted. I feel like I’ve learned so much from the entrepreneurial side of things in this process and it will only benefit me down the line in all facets of the music industry.”
Eric Darius was born in Livingston, New Jersey, raised in Tampa, Florida, and now resides in Los Angeles, CA. He grew up in a very musical family to a Haitian father, who is a bass player and Jamaican mother, who is a singer and piano player. That Caribbean influence was passed down to Eric and his siblings. His older brother is a drummer and trumpet player, and his sister sings and plays clarinet.
“I first fell in love with the saxophone as a 9-year-old and began playing at the age of 10,” Eric recalls. “By the time I was 11, I started touring worldwide with Sonny LaRosa and America’s Youngest Jazz Band and playing Caribbean music in our family band. It’s truly a blessing to be from a family that not only supports my passion for music but has also given me so many opportunities to nurture my God-given gift and pursue a career in it.”
While growing up, Darius was also influenced by Earth Wind & Fire, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Marvin Gaye, George Benson, James Brown, David Sanborn, Miles Davis, Bob Marley, and Grover Washington Jr., among many others. While still in high school, at the age of 17, he recorded and released his first album titled, Cruisin’, which would lay the ground work for his seven full-length albums. In 2004, Darius signed his first record deal with Higher Octave Music, after label representatives saw him perform and wow the audience at Florida’s Clearwater Jazz Festival. This resulted in the release of his national debut album, Night on the Town later that year. In 2006, Darius released his third project, Just Getting Started through Narada Jazz. In 2008, he released Goin’ All Out (Blue Note Records), in 2010 On A Mission and 2014 Retro Forward (both through Shanachie Entertainment).
With seven highly-acclaimed albums to his discography, Darius continues to rack up some impressive statistics: Three No. 1 Hit Singles; Twelve Top 10 Radio Hits on Nielsen’s R&R/Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart; 2004’s Debut Artist of the Year by Smooth Jazz News Magazine; named 2015’s SESAC Top 10 Jazz Artist of the Year; 2017’s Best Jazz, Saxophonist, Composer, Producer & Musician of the Year Award at the 1st Annual Citril Starz Awards; featured on countless magazine covers; with many more milestones and honors to come.
Darius has made TV Appearances on Fox’s The X-Factor, TNT’s Mob City, and has shared the stage with Grammy â award-winning artists Prince, Mary J. Blige, David Foster, Carlos Santana, Jamie Foxx, Babyface, George Benson, Marcus Miller, Wyclef Jean, and many others.
Darius believes in giving back to today’s youth in the form of education. His On A Mission in the Schools initiative include making regular appearances to speak and perform with students from elementary and middle schools to high schools and at the college level. “I benefited greatly from the music-arts programs, and education is very important to me,” says Darius. “I’m an advocate for music in the schools and I want to help keep it alive. It’s important to me to expose kids to Jazz, encourage them to follow their dreams and inspire them to play musical instruments. I feel I have a responsibility to pay it forward, encourage the next generation and help preserve the future of music.”