Mark Cote
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Mark Cote

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The best kept secret in music



“Fresh music with a fun and thought-provoking attitude... I’ve gotten great audience response for Mark’s music when I play it... I’ll continue to keep it on the station’s playlist”.
- Paul Volpe, Disk Jockey - KIEV Radio


“An entertaining show from a unique band with a distinct sound that excites the audience”.
- Lance Hubp, Booker - The Troubadour

"Refreshing see a band trust the power of their material."

"Mark Cote and his band could concievably make considerable inroads in garnering much attention from public and industry alike with the promise they have demonstrated thus far. It is refreshing to see a band and a singer-songwriter trust the power of their material so deeply, avoiding the posturing and the dramatic excess that serve as pitfalls to many upcoming bands." - Tom Semper, Strobe Magazine

""We recommend!""

"We recommend!" - LA Weekly

"Mark Cote set to perform Top Winning Song"

November 4, 2004 --

With his song ' Still I Rise ', just awarded top honors in the 2004 Call To Arts ! National Songwriting Competition, Canadian-born singer-songwriter Mark Cote demonstrates once again, as he has throughout his recording career, that he has carved out an artistic niche for himself, that successfully straddles the fence between rock and world-beat music.

The awards which were honored in October, singled out Mark's song as the top winner in the themed category of ' Spirit and Creativity '. The song " Still I Rise ", from Mark's debut album " Somewhere To Stand ", was written specifically about the struggle of the Native American Indian to maintain an identity and self-respect in the midst of eco-destruction and a rapidly changing world.

In listening to the track, " Still I Rise " one is struck by Mark's poetic lyricism, a trademark of his songwriting craft, over which glides his yearning tenor voice above a swirl of electric guitars that recall some of U2's early instrumental work. Distinctively, actual Native American drums and percussion are woven into rock drum backbeats to create an aural heartbeat that frames the often poignant nature of the lyrics.

"I was very moved by a newspaper article ", Mark explains," and felt compelled to write a song as an emotional response. Through a bureaucratic loophole, a particular tribe of Native Americans that had resided for generations on preservation land they believed was protected, suddenly found themselves displaced. The land became eligible for strip-mining and as a result their groundwater became contaminated forcing them to leave .

"Ultimately, as voiced in the chorus, the song becomes a triumphant anthem to the resilience of the human spirit." To me, at it's core, this is a song for everyone facing obstacles and learning to forge ahead. We are all connected in the most profound way, regardless of our ethnicity and we all laugh the same laugh and shed the same tear."

On Sunday Nov. 7, in Los Angeles, Mark will perform an intimate acoustic version of his winning song at the 2004 Call To Arts ! Summit Conference. Now in it's 2nd year, Call To Arts! is an extension of Artists Helping Artists, a non-profit organization founded to promote and acknowledge accomplishments in the fields of art, music and the written word that advance humanity to higher ideals.

Citing his artistic goals, Cote concludes, "I want to continue to evolve and explore - to be as intensely personal and honest as I possibly can. I want to have longevity as an artist and speak to an audience that stays with me through the years so we can take this journey together". For more information visit - Top 40 Charts


Somewhere to Stand, 1997
Music is Oxygen, 2001
Complicate Me, to be released 2005


Feeling a bit camera shy


Canadian-born singer/songwriter Mark Cote is a natural born communicator. Armed with a poetic lyricism and a striking tenor voice of impassioned yearning, he has carved out an artistic niche that straddles the fence between rock `n roll and world music on his impressive third album, Complicate Me. Each original composition plunges you into its own aural universe to convey stories ranging from love's longing to the fragile state of our planet.

Plumbing the source of his inspiration, Cote (pronounced koh-tay) states, "Songwriting is the most personal form of expression for me as an artist. I find that the more personal you make something the more it speaks universally to people. I try to leave interpretations open so that the listener can find themselves within the song."

Take the hauntingly elegiac "The Dark Side of the Sun," awash in Spanish, acoustic and electric guitars. Within the lyric, Cote writes, "I searched myself for words of comfort but nothing could I claim / A sorrow born of loss and longing has rooted in my veins / All my rage could not express this hunger I've become / For your absence has no equal here on the dark side of the sun." "That song is about the loss of a family member," he explains, "an intense time of my life. I readdressed some of the lyrics later and found that I was also letting go of a relationship. So there are two deaths going on there - the physical and the emotional."

Then there are "Born to Love" and, particularly, "Complicate Me," both love songs which move from quiet storm to thunder storm, expressing the desire to know what love truly is. Reflecting an undeniable Beatles influence in certain chord progressions and a deep creeping bass line, "Complicate Me" is a powerful plea for that one emotion which seemingly makes life complete. "That song is the strongest reflection of where I'm coming from right now as a songwriter," Cote confesses, "stripped down to my most honest core essence."

Beyond love, the planet and issues of ecology are of utmost importance to Cote, reflected everywhere from the lyrical imagery of a ballad like "Wishing On A Moon" (from Cote's debut album, Somewhere To Stand) to the forthrightly activist "Legacy" in which the piano playing resounds like fingers tapping on one's conscience, reminding us of the damage we are heaping upon our fragile earth and atmosphere. "Nature and the outdoors were so much a part of my early life," Cote reflects, "camping, picnics, sledding in the winter... there's a vastness to the Canadian wilderness that makes you very "open" to things in general. Where I grew up in Ontario, my main means of entertainment were books, painting, music and living in my imagination."

Mark Cote was born and raised in Ontario, Canada by his mother (from Palmerston North, New Zealand) and father (from Montreal, Quebec). The first music to make an impression on him was Prokofiev's score for "Peter and The Wolf." "There wasn't a great deal of money around in my early upbringing," Cote begins, "although I never felt a lack. My folks were very conscious about exposing me to various aspects of the arts. I remember my mother taking me to a matinee of children's theatre and being spellbound by the magic that people could create on a stage."

Young Mark threw himself into everything from painting to puppet shows, working with the organization UNICEF and seeing first hand how art could touch people across the globe, defying perceived boundaries of language and distance. A family move to Chicago gave him a bird's eye view of big city living - American style - and soon he was bitten by the rock‘n roll bug.

"Musically, I started on guitar at age 12 because I just thought it was the coolest instrument," he reflects. "I only took lessons for a short while then. Later, though, my folks bought a second hand Gulbransen upright - a refurbished 1910 player piano with this great, creaky old tone. In high school, this piano started to speak to me and my first training on it was in jazz." At the urging of his friend and former 6th grade music teacher Gwen Pippin - who'd transformed her life direction by becoming a jazz club chanteuse - he learned sophisticated chords and scales that would later give his music a soulful edge.

At this time, Mark began to see songwriting as invaluable to his personal expression. "I always loved poetry, but never considered myself a poet. My first attempt at songwriting was after I came across a book of song lyrics by Bob Dylan. I was about 16 and only familiar with 'Mr. Tambourine Man' and 'Blowin' in the Wind." But I was really struck by the poetic way he used lyrics in this book to convey images, ideas and emotions. He showed me that, with metaphors, you could communicate things on a really deep level through a song."

"My fascination with lyrics went to another level when I discovered Joni Mitchell," Cote continues, "who became an incredible influence because of her unflinching eye and musical bravery. She