Damian Yonge, Artist of the Week
Runs Jan. 20-24th.
A curious soul, he has travelled the world, speaks 4 languages and grew up wanting to be a stuntman. Toronto-based singer-songwriter Damian Yonge is a man with a dream powered by great determination to defy the odds. He lives by a motto, inspired by and shared with one of his (many) role models Pierre Elliott Trudeau, “just watch me”. Like many roads to success, Yonge’s journey to musical achievement is filled with many unexpected twists and turns. His future was not initially paved with a path filled with the arts. He was raised by a highly-conservative family who sought to shape their son into a wealthy businessman, Yonge took creative escape in books and science fiction. Inquisitive and studious in nature, it was an intuitive trip to South America that blew him open to the world of sound and rhythm, defining his musical education from listening to the cool sultry sounds of Bossa Nova and the heavily rhythmic Samba. Already achieving success and accolades throughout his young career (including winning London’s Best Singer-Songwriter award), he will introduce a new sound and artistic persona. Yonge’s second and upcoming album Southbound is birthed from the unwavering dedication to his art form, songs that emanate striking maturity, soulful composition, and lyrical depth, aided by Juno award-winning producer Dan Brodbeck (The Cranberries). Defining his new musicality, the new sound blends bluesy-pop, complemented by a jazz, AC-vibe.
Yonge’s musical introduction started at the ripe age of 10 when he was forced to play the classical piano. It wasn’t long before he grew bored of its restrictions, and was drawn to the fluid expression of pop, soul, and R&B. Inspired by the music of Jack Johnson he eventually discovered his first love, the guitar. This newfound outlet provided him with creative freedom, fueling his present passions. Sure he dreams of winning a Grammy like most musicians, however it is his true dream to one day assist artists in developing their craft through pioneering approaches, and to facilitate music programs that are accessible to developing areas within his Toronto home. Philanthropic in spirit, he continues to actively engage to assist others, donating his time to many charities including Han Voice (North Korean Awareness), the YMCA, STRUTT (Awareness for Breast Cancer).
He is a graduate of Fanshawe College for the Music Industry Arts program, academically, Yonge set upon studies in music production, establishing a foundational knowledge in key components in the music industry, including law, business, and engineering. His debut album Pieces of L.A. showcased true compositional mastery and his ability to dive into multiple genres from pop to alt-rock. He also received significant notoriety for being sponsored by Labatt, entertaining hundreds of spectators for the Toronto Beer Festival. These experiences were instrumental to Yonge’s exploration of his identity as a budding musician as he shape shifts into a new musical form.