Mark  James Fortin
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Mark James Fortin

Band Folk Acoustic

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Music

The best kept secret in music

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Discography

Two Days in Rexdale (solo)
Cinematic-FFM (Friedman, Fortin & Masich)
Place of Standing-Yvonne Mkskimming

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Mark James Fortin

Described by Bruce White as “Canada’s best unsigned artist,” Mark James Fortin is also one of Canada’s best-kept secrets. This powerful songwriter, vocalist and guitarist turned his back on Toronto’s live music scene just as he was poised to break with his debut CD and has been quietly perfecting his craft on the West Coast ever since.

Born in France, raised in Canada and Germany, he spent his formative years playing hockey, drinking beer with old men and soaking in classic jazz supplied by his trumpet-playing father. A return to Toronto in his late teens and the sounds of intelligent roots-based music from artists such as John Hiatt, Elvis Costello, and Tom Waits inspired him to trade his hockey stick for a guitar. The collision of hockey, jazz, rock, and women brought forth his first batch of “tough but tender” songs, which combined the sophistication of jazz with a straightforward emphasis on groove, feel, and honesty. A natural talent on the acoustic guitar, his accomplished playing, distinctive vocal style and direct, yet evocative songwriting placed him squarely in the media spotlight, attracting Toronto heavyweights the Briet brothers Kevin and Gary to his band. With strong performance reviews and industry “buzz” he was soon playing shows with artists such as Greg Keelor, Jim Cuddy, and Soul Asylum.

After winning Toronto’s Radio Q107 Homegrown Contest, he recorded his debut CD "Two Days in Rexdale" and was offered management, label deals and a lot of the seedier trappings of the industry. Disillusioned and burned out, he moved to the West Coast where he began rediscovering what it was that made him an artist in the first place.

Mark' first west-coast musical collaboration was with Yvonne McSkimming, co-writing music for the Fringe Festival Hit “Crossing Boundaries”. After rave reviews the two went into the studio with Bill Buckingham to arrange and co-produce Yvonne' debut CD "A Place of Standing" which spent 6 months at the top of the MP3.com charts and across Canada. The artist’s collaboration also resulted in the co-creation of one Vancouver’s most beloved and well-attended monthly songwriter’s showcases in the city’s history. The ongoing benefit event “Just Singing Round” hosted by Fortin and McSkimming has raised over 160,000 dollars for numerous Vancouver charities over the past five years and is regularly sold out. Since it’s inception Fortin has toured to Scotland for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where the JSR showcase garnered rave reviews.
Today, Mark James Fortin continues to write, record and perform new material. Concentrating on music for it’s own sake, he has delighted scores of listeners of all tastes and backgrounds with his accessible, yet authentic songs. Fortin’s wide appeal is based on skill, talent, and something much more important – an uncompromising desire to offer music with heart. Onstage, on the page or in the studio – Mark James Fortin delivers.