Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019 | 2 a.m.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Las Vegas singer Daniel Emmet released the romantic single “Passerá” this week along with an accompanying music video. Those who watched the 25-year-old multilingual performer during his finalist run on “America’s Got Talent” will recognize the Italian tune as the one judge Simon Cowell assigned to Emmet on a moment’s notice.
“That song was a journey in itself,” says Emmet. “I was already a little nervous because I was singing an original song in front of Simon Cowell and that already took all my courage, and I was halfway through and feeling pretty good when he holds up his hand.”
It wasn’t that Cowell didn’t like Emmet’s performance, but the judge thought the dramatic ballad “Passerá” would be a terrific song choice. So he had Emmet listen to it for the first time, learn it in an hour, and get back onstage to sing again. “It was the most stressful hour of my life,” Emmet says. “But I said to myself, this is the moment to suck it up and do it, and through sheer determination and adrenaline and some help from Red Bull, I got through it. Now I’m excited to re-live and expand on that moment with this, the first song we’re releasing. It’s kind of the song that started it all.”
It sounds cliché but “AGT” changed his life and career. Emmet, who moved to Las Vegas with his family at age 15 from Rochester, New York, graduated from Faith Lutheran High School and performed in its theater program. The first time he stepped onstage as a solo singer was at the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation gala in 2009.
He was performing in “The Cocktail Cabaret” at Caesars Palace last year when his run began on the popular TV talent competition, where he finished in the top 10.
“I learned so much and I’m so grateful, and of course the exposure is unprecedented,” he says. “The best part was the opportunity to showcase myself as an artist in a way that was truthful. I appreciated that they let me be a true crossover singer on the show. Of all the singing talent shows out there, they don’t put you in a box. It was wild and insane and exhausting and incredible, but it was the perfect thing at the perfect time for me.”
Emmet considers himself a classical crossover singer and describes his style as a gateway to classical music. He’s performed several operatic covers of pop hits including a Spanish version of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” at a Vegas Golden Knights game intermission at T-Mobile Arena.
“My goal is to show classical music in a light that’s not stuffy, not your grandma’s opera, accessible and open to everybody,” he says. “I get a lot of comments on social media saying, ‘I didn’t know opera could sound like that,’ and I’ve heard from people who would never listen to opera without hearing it that way first.
“The world has this view that classical music is dying and I refuse to believe that. I want to help keep it alive every way I can and this way seems to be working, so hopefully I can bring people along for that ride.”
Emmet’s ride as an independent artist continues and “Passerá” is just the beginning. He’s finalizing plans for a show or series of shows in Las Vegas this year, as well as a schedule of symphonic performances across the country. And he’s been recording a lot more music for release this year, too.