“Most stakeholders in the blues world are killing it instead of keeping it alive”: Athlete turned guitarist Emanuel Casablanca approaches guitar with a competitive mindset – and he’s on a mission to stop the blues all sounding the same

Emanuel Casablanca
(Image credit: Natalija Buba)

Brooklyn, New York, has long been associated with indie, punk and jazz, but for the most part, blues has been overlooked. Thankfully, Brooklyn native Emanuel Casablanca didn’t get the memo. In fact, he’s doing everything he can to move the blues needle into the red.

Before he made music his life’s work, Casablanca wasn’t focused on the blues at all. “I was a competitive basketball player since I was around 10,” he says. “I played in school and summer leagues, so it occupied my life all through high school, prep school and the beginning of college. I never even had a Christmas break until I quit playing basketball.”

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Andrew Daly

Andrew Daly is an iced-coffee-addicted, oddball Telecaster-playing, alfredo pasta-loving journalist from Long Island, NY, who, in addition to being a contributing writer for Guitar World, scribes for Rock Candy, Bass Player, Total Guitar, and Classic Rock History. Andrew has interviewed favorites like Ace Frehley, Johnny Marr, Vito Bratta, Bruce Kulick, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Rich Robinson, and Paul Stanley, while his all-time favorite (rhythm player), Keith Richards, continues to elude him.