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21 December 1966

Marco Roberto Borsato was born in the Wilhelmina Hospital in Alkmaar as the son of Roberto Borsato and Mary de Graaf. The family moved to Italy, where the father started up a restaurant in Garda. Marco spent a significant amount of time in Italy and speaks fluent Italian. Marco debuted as a singer after he won the Dutch Soundmixshow programme on April 7, 1990 with his rehearsal of the song 'At this moment' by Billy Vera. In August 'Emozioni', an album in the Italian language, comes out. This is soon followed by two more Italian sung albums called 'Sento' and 'Giorno per giorno'. Sales are disappointing however and the record company is wondering what to do with Marco.

In the meantime the composers Jan Tekstra, Han Kooreneef, Leo Driessen and John Ewbank work on new songs that are adaptations of Italian pop songs. They contact Marco to see of he’s interested. With nothing much to lose he records the single 'Dromen zijn bedrog' ('Dreams are a delusion'). The song is a translation of the Italian 'Storie di tutti i giorni'  and is an instant hit. The album 'Marco', which is sang in the Dutch language, is soon released with the same success. Translating Italian songs seems to be lucrative so songwriter Ewbank plunders the catalogue of artists like Cocciante for the second album. With the third album 'De waarheid' ('The truth') Marco grows more and more into the Dutch sung material and the album can be considered as his first more serious album with songs like 'Ik leef niet meer voor jou' (I don't live my life for you'), 'De bestemming' ('The destination') and 'De waarheid' ('The truth'). The album sells over half a million copies within only a few weeks and is awarded with two Edison Music Awards (the Dutch Grammy’s). Marco also records the duet 'Wereld zonder jou' ('World without you') with singer Trijntje Oosterhuis from 'Total Touch'. 
The album 'Luid en duidelijk' ('Loud and clear') is released in 2000. Due to problems with the record company it takes several months before his next single 'Wat is mijn hart' ('What is my heart') is released.  In 2002 he records, together with singer Sita, 'Lopen op het water' ('Walking on the water')  the official tune for the royal wedding between crownprince Willem Alexander and Maxima on February 2.

Marco becomes the biggest selling artist of the Netherlands at the start of the millennium. In 2004 he announces that his new album 'Zien' ('To see') will be a dvd only. For each track a video will be shot by famous Dutch film directors such as Dick Maas, Johan Nijenhuis, Matthijs van Heijningen jr. and Theo van Gogh.  In June he performs six nights at the Rotterdam Kuip to crowds of 50.000 fans. At his concerts in Rotterdam's Feyenoord Stadium Borsato sings a duet with upcoming star, Moroccan/Dutch hiphop artist Ali B. It marks Borsato's first collaboration ever with a rapper and the result is the single 'Wat zou je doen' ('What would you do?').
In 2006 Borsato plays ten shows at the Gelredome stadium in Arnhem called 'Symphonica in rosso'. The singer and his band are accompanied by 'Guido & his Orchestra', a 40-piece Dutch orchestra. The concerts are accompanied by his single 'Rood' ('Red') and the album 'Symphonica in Rosso'. In 2008 Marco is asked to play a part in the movie 'Wit licht' ('White light'). Later that year the album with the same title is released. The movie is the Dutch entry for the Academy awards in 2010. 2009 is an ill-fated year for the singer when in september he sees his company 'The entertainment group' going bankrupt and his investments of the last 20 years going up in smoke. In october a special concert is planned where a host of Dutch artists come to the rescue to at least lower the debts Marco is in. In 2010 he makes a very musical strong return with the album 'Dromen durven delen'.

The new decade doesn´t bring good fortune for Marco however. In 2011 he suffers from a polyp on his vocal cord. In January 2014, just before a concert of the Vrienden van Amstel Live, Borsato suffered a TIA. His albums aren´t received with the same enthousiasm and a musical called Sky is stopped after 3 months due to disappoiting visitor numbers. At the end of the decade his marriage also comes under stress due to an affair he had years ago. In the end Borsato steps out of the limelight temporarily with a burn-out.

On the web:

- Marco's website: http://www.borsato.nl/

If you like this, you probably like.. / european counterparts

Patrick Bruel (France)

What do we think:

DB: Probably the most loved Dutch artist ever. Any album he records immediately goes platinum. Personally i'm not particullary fond of Marco's music. He tends to plaster his productions solid with any musical intrument in sight. Therefore the musical background that surrounds his voice is painted full and busy. But this is a typical Dutch tendency since Dutch producers are completely incapable of producing a ballanced pop album but rather show off how many channels they can open at the same time. So, although Marco taps into the Italian music tradition, the over production is his typical Dutch characteristic. Hmmm, let me just think about that one. By the way, it is in the ballads that the orchestra get's time off and Marco can deliver some of his best songs.

PR: Although his huge succes in Holland, Marco always remained 'the boy next door'. He appears to be a very modest, sympathetic guy and he is always prepared to perform for charity causes. Personally, I do not particularly like his singing or his music, but I have to say I respect the way he continues his career very much. Having started as competitor in the (then very popular) 'Soundmix show' he certainly grew towards a mature, professional artist.

Recommended albums:

♪♪ - Als geen ander (As no other) - 1995

♪♪♪ - De waarheid (The truth) - 1997

♪♪♪ - De bestemming (The testination) - 1998

♪♪♪ - Luid en duidelijk (Loud & clear) - 2000

♪♪♪ - Onderweg (Along the way) - 2002

♪♪♪ - Zien (To see) - 2004

♪♪ - Symphonica in Rosso - 2006

♪♪ - Wit Licht - 2008

♪♪♪♪ - Dromen durven delen - 2010

♪♪ - 1000 spiegels - 2013

Further listening:

Emozioni - 1990; Sento - 1991; Giorno per giorno - 1992; Marco - 1994; Evenwicht - 2015; Thuis - 2017

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


  EUROPOPMUSIC - Netherlands