Damato brings finger-popping cuts to Hotel Utah 

“Everybody Vs. You And Me,” the upcoming Universal Motown debut disc from much-buzzed-about young neo-soul singer Damato could be a runaway smash.

It’s awash in finger-popping potential hits like “Run,” “Angels” and the title track, just perfect for summer car radio airplay. And its aura of lived-to-tell honesty has a lot to do with the fact that the man himself was a runaway, who wound up homeless, living on the streets of Hollywood at the tender age of 18.

With fellow single-monikerred up-and-comer Hugo, he plays The City’s Hotel Utah tonight at 8 p.m.

How did this all go down?

As Damato tells it, he was raised by a Pentecostal-preacher father, whose hardcore scriptural ideology clashed with his own rebellious nature. And his punishment for sinful transgressions was quite unique — his folks would temporarily take every worldly possession away from him except dad’s battered old acoustic guitar, something they believed was the antithesis of fun.

But lo and behold!

Damato began strumming, singing and writing out his frustration, before inevitably striking out on his own. But he caught the ear of Ben Harper alum Tom Freund and Jack Johnson drummer Adam Topol, and managed to piece together his first EP, “Floating Down A River,” which rocketed the 23-year-old straight onto the radar of Universal. And his autobiographical album actually makes leaving home early sound like it was all simply meant to be.

For more information, visit www.officialdamato.com.

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Tom Lanham

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