PARAMUS, N.J. -- Daniel Amato stood on the stage with his bandmates at the Orange Lantern in Paramus, and he knew he finally made it.
That show was the first time the 21-year-old guitarist was performing at home with his new band -- Dan Amato & The Sentimental Gentlemen -- comprised of a group of friends he met two years ago during his freshman year at Monmouth University.
After nearly a decade of failures, Amato says hearing the audience sing along is a testament to the band's success, and helped the guitarist understand the purpose of the hardships he overcame.
"You can't be afraid to fail," said Amato, a junior at Monmouth University. "I failed so many times, and I'm only starting to see success now."
Amato was coming to terms with yet another band breakup just as he set off to college in 2016.
It was his fourth band that unraveled in his junior year at PHS and, like the three before it, Amato poured his soul into making things work.
It wasn't until he went to college and met the five people that became Dan Amato & The Sentimental Gentlemen that Amato learned how one great rock show could change the world.
"I didn’t find the right people who shared the same passion until I got to college," said Amato, the band's lead singer and guitarist.
"There was just incredible chemistry off the bat. We got to know each other as musicians and close friends through playing."
Amato describes the music of Dan Amato & The Sentimental Gentlemen as a blend of classic rock modern pop and timeless soul.
The song that he says fans love the most is called "Roses for Rosie" -- a spinoff of a song he made earlier in his career.
"It was with my first record and I was trying to find my sound," the musician said. "It had blues and jazz, it was just all over the place."
He knew he could do it better, though, and decided to recreate it with Dan Amato & The Sentimental Gentlemen.
"I said, 'Let me not think about what I want to say and just say it,'" Amato told Daily Voice.
What came out was a song about a fictional girl who only likes things that perish and die, Amato explained: "She was the exact opposite of me."
The lyrics are dark but the sound is fun, he said.
The song is a harbinger to Amato that he's exactly where he's supposed to be as a musician.
"You have to go through the heartache and trouble to get to where you want to be," he said. "The good people will come to you."
Dan Amato & The Sentimental Gentlemen will be performing at the Orange Lantern again in June. You can find their music on Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, Facebook and YouTube.
- Nicole Govel - Backup Vocals
- JJ Fabricatore - Saxophone
- Mike Grant - Piano
- Owen Flanagan - Drums
- Jon Bass - Bass Guitar
- Dan Amato - Vocals & Guitar
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