Mark Masri is a Canadian singer, songwriter and producer of pop, classical and inspirational songs and a pianist. He born to a Lebanese immigrant father, a Pentecostal minister, and a Canadian mother, a banker and moved with his family from Ontario to various locations including Quebec and Nova Scotia. He started singing in his father's small church near Antigonish, Nova Scotia, when he was nine. The family returned to Scarborough, Ontario in the 1980s. At twelve he was singing in local churches and giving piano recitals. He led in many choirs and worked as a music producer for the CTS network. When his job position was eliminated, he decided to devote all his time to music. In 2000 he released his first album and has been on the upswing since. Now in his mid thirties he has developed into fashion model handsome warm stage personality whose tenor voice sounds as if early training choices were made he could be singing opera. But enough of the 'what ifs'.
In this album Masri finds comfort in the accompaniment of guitar, cello, accordion and mandolin: in other albums he uses the full orchestra. But here he is able to sing more intimately, more to the first row than the balcony. He is multilingual and his expression of these songs in various languages proves his abilities there. He has a way with songs that makes him hit home when aimed at the heart. His choice of repertoire is fairly wide: Castelli Di Sabbia (The Shadow Of Your Smile), Parla Più Piano (Speak Softly Love), the old standard Santa Lucia, Con Te Partiro (Time To Say Goodbye), Nella Fantasia, Intermezzo, Arrivederci Roma, Un Giorno Per Noi (A Time For Us), Tristesse, O Sole Mio, Torna A Surriento and Un Giorno Per Noi (A Time For Us). When he steps into the operatic repertoire as Nessun Dorma he manages to stay away form comparisons with folks like Andrea Bocelli by limiting the accompaniment to simple sounds. Does it work? Well, yes, on its own terms. But Mark Masri is a balladeer and his voice is trained in that tradition. He is someone we can sit back and enjoy not so much for the training of the voice, but more for the pleasure of hearing old songs well sung. Grady Harp, November 11