MARANTO is the entertainment alias of Mark Antonio Bradford - a Jamaica born singer, songwriter, producer, arranger and musician whose true-life story ascends from tragedy to glory - from a sudden fate of failing health including blindness by age 31 to an ultimately powerful and inspiring testimony to the world that he'll share in forthcoming musical and literary statements. As co-writer/co-producer of the international Reggae Dance smash "Cheerleader" by Omi, as well as the one-time lead singer of Jamaica's acclaimed Pop Reggae performance ensemble C-Sharp Band - a free standing group also renowned for backing the likes of Rita Marley & The I-Threes - Mark/Maranto is the rightful heir of a high place in pop music circles. Yet he has set his sights on heights higher still via the inspirational Gospel album he is preparing - an autobiographical cycle of songs destined to uplift and exalt the Most-High.
Mark's interest in music stretches to his childhood when he (6) and his brother Horatio (10) sang a Country & Western song "Lord Have Mercy on Me" for their parents. Their father, a minister, began having Mark sing before his sermons, also getting him music lessons. At this time, Mark listened to 90% gospel.
In high school, Mark discovered Contemporary Soul music by Brian McKnight and Boyz II Men along with Michael Jackson. And by the time his senior year, Reggae became of interest. Excelling in his musical growth, Mark joined the Glenmuir High School Concert Choir - one of the top high school vocal ensembles in Jamaica - performing in Austria and Germany for Olympics level competitions. He later studied at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts ( School of Music - popular music studies). For a special program honoring 200 Years of Haitian Independence, the Minister of Culture sent Mark as a singer along with the C-Sharp Band (from 'Edna Manley School of Music') which became a life-changing experience.
Though his college music studies emphasized classical and opera virtuosos as well as the jazz of Ella Fitzgerald, Nat "King" Cole and Frank Sinatra, his enamor with the presentation of Jamaica's explosive C-Sharp Band rocked Mark to his core. He never knew Reggae could be delivered so powerfully in massive festival settings. Mark maneuvered his way into the local sensation group for four years as its lead singer and primary songwriter on their 2005 debut CD, What a Day.
Mark was introduced to an up-and-coming singer named Omi for whom he eventually co-composed, co-arranged and co-produced over 20 songs including the one that made Omi a star, "Cheerleader," #1 in over 20 countries.
While preparing his solo Album and working with stars like Alborosie, he was giving the opportunity to do a solo promotional tour, returning home to Jamaica, Mark suddenly became seriously ill. Though diagnosed as diabetic since age 12, Mark had kept the disease under the control. Now, his kidneys and liver were failing, and his heart and spleen were enlarged.)
With Mark's faithful wife Shirann as his devoted yet overwhelmed advocate and breadwinner, they made a trip to Atlanta, Georgia where her father lived and where Mark underwent a surgery. While the eye surgery was a success, tragically, the recovery process was not, taking further toll on Mark's weakened body: darkening and roughening his skin, making it unbearable to sit up for any length of time and, ultimately, robbing Mark of his eyesight. It was a devastating time ... Mark tail-spun into deep depression and Shirann suffered two nervous breakdowns. They could not understand why such heavy misfortune had befallen them so young. Family and a few friends pitched in to assist as able but darkness was eminent ...
Then out of the blue, a Prophetess from Overcomers Christian Fellowship in Georgia came into their lives assuring them that God would give Mark songs that would change their lives as they touched the lives of others. She told them, "No matter how dead your life may seem, there is always the spark of life within."
Miraculously, Mark's strength, health and disposition all began to improve. Song fragments and ideas began to divinely channel through him in waves as he pieced together music right in his home. Suddenly, a new vision was forming: to write a book accompanied by a solo album of inspirational Gospel material dealing forthrightly with the stages of his illness and recovery.
Among Mark's new compositions are "The Battle is Won," "Faith Through the Fire" . Mark may possibly also use songs from an earlier writing period including "I Believe " and "Barriers," the latter chillingly foreshadowing many struggles Mark Antonio Bradford would go through in the music industry as well as his personal life. It also contains the lyric upon which Maranto's glory assuredly pivots:
"It's my wish you live to see me tear down the barriers that you put before me I Then I'll truly be free and you'll really see me for who I am I I'm not someone to be sorry for I I don't need your pity I My pot of gold is right there and you'll see me get there I promise."
Faith Through The Fire is the new EP from Jamaican native and recording artist, Maranto. The EP is a collective of songs given to Maranto by God. Each personal and testimonial, yet inspiring to all listeners. Download or Stream "Faith Through The Fire" today!