Picture this: A young woman from California with a tremendous voice somehow meets a Russian woman and a Nicaraguan man, in Florida—both ballroom dance instructors—and 24 hours later, they’re making a YouTube video together. How could folks so far apart ever find each other? When you have theimmense talent of17-year-old singer/songwriter Em Rossi, 29-year-old Zavio González and Aliska Burkina, his just-as-nimble dance partner, you’re bound to bump into incredible people eventually.

Modern technology helps too

Months ago, Em Rossi released on YouTube her song “Earthquake.” In just one week it amassed a million views.

She thenreleased “Young Hearts,” and in no time it racked up 2.5 million views, finishing Number 1 on the YouTube charts of Australia, France, Canada, New Zealand and Italy. People “all over the world,” as the new song goes, are noticingand taking action, sending messages: “We want you.” “We want your song.” “I want to remix and relaunch your song, but we’ll need some fantasticdancers.” You get the picture.

Enter, men of vision

Internationally acclaimed DJ Tom Colontonio was the man with the plan. He and live action director Kurt Zendzian got everyone together in a Sarasota, Florida, warehouse and virtually made magic. Em Rossi’s media manager put out the call for dancerson Facebook, and within half an hour Zavio González and Aliska Burkina responded, “Ahem!

You’re looking for us.”

Speaking with the stars

Em Rossi spoke to Blasting News in an exclusive interview. Her first words were meteorological: “It’s a foggy and cloudy day in California. It’s been windy the last few days.” Which is pretty ironic since “Young Hearts” begins with a similarweather report: “It’s never cold in California / But suddenly a chill is in the air.” Yet the young hearts in question aren’t terribly concerned with climate, not as much as the heartbreak they struggle to cope with.

Art fromheARTbreak

At age 15, Em Rossi lost her father, Robert Brockman, irretrievably, when he suddenly died. He was a gifted amateur singer and guitarist who also wrote songs. He was and continues to be her muse. He wholeheartedly supported her precocious talent (“my parents couldn’t keep me quiet at parties”), wisely got her professional grounding from age 8 with vocal teacher Simone Lyne Comtois and even accompanied and sang backup for Em, just for fun.

Finding her own voice

Em Rossi learned vocal technique and developed skills through a wide array of non-operatic Classical works and Broadway show tunes. But at age 13, for hours on end, she lockedherself inside her father’s office to discover her own voice, to see how she could use heracquired skills to make other people’s music sound like she wrote it. What emergedis a rich warm mezzo-soprano range, full of colorful expression and capable of wowing.


The young singer unabashedly admits “My father and vocal teacher were mychief musical influences.” She continues, “I’m very close to my mother, Karen Brockman, and she’s mymanager.” She’s even tightly knit with her brother, Daniel Brockman.

Before their mutual loss they were one of those all-too-few families who actually like—not just love—each other. “We enjoy spending time together,” she says, “and I think it’s sad that very few classmates ever said the same thing.”

Time off, to regroup

“Myfather’s death,” says Em Rossi, “has drawn us threeeven closer.” Understandably, she took a six-month break from music two years ago. “Then Mom, my brother and I discussed things and decided to commit to all the work involved in pursuing a career in music.” With palpable warmth, she poignantly says, “I feel like I keep my father very much alive in my music.”

To-do list

  • The new video premiered Friday, June 17. So go have a look-see.
  • Stay tuned for the equally fascinating stories of the featured dancers, in tomorrow’s column.
  • Meanwhile, time for a little YouTube listening … maybe an opera Mozartcomposed and premiered at age 15. Let’s see, which of the two will it be?
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