STYLE: R&B RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 174964-28206 LABEL: Independent FORMAT: CD EP RELEASE DATE: 2018-11-16
Reviewed by Matthew Cordle
Maranto, aka Mark Antonio Bradford, is a Jamaica-born singer/songwriter. The son of a minister, Mark used to sing before his father's sermons and much of his youth was infused with gospel music. Subsequently discovering contemporary soul and reggae, then studying classical and jazz at college, Mark joined Jamaica's C-Sharp Band and began to write with others. However, following complications to do with diabetes, Mark tragically lost his sight by the age of 31. Following a period of much struggling for both Mark and his wife, they received a prophecy that God would give Mark songs that would change their lives as they touched the lives of others. Hence this EP comprising five songs dealing honestly with the stages of his illness and recuperation. The overarching themes are of recognising one's helplessness, God's hand being strong to save and the need to surrender to him. Mark's silky-smooth vocals blend perfectly with the rich, tight vocal harmonies from The Black Bettys, all well-supported by solid musical production. Leaving aside the reggae style of "Take Me Over", the arrangements are not particularly innovative and could have easily come out of the early 1990s from the likes of Howard Hewitt. But they sure are soulful. I just couldn't keep my head from nodding along to the slow funky groove of "I Need Your Fire". An EP that clearly demonstrates Mark's writing and singing ability and I look forward to hearing more from him in the future.
The opinions expressed in this article are
not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed
views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may
not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a
Interested in reviewing music? Find out