Chris Kowanko

A gifted singer/songwriter, Chris Kowanko has made a pair of fine albums when not busy with other careers in acting and visual art. Born in Australia, Kowanko's parents emigrated to the United States when he was young and eventually settled in Minnesota. In time, Kowanko developed an interest in both theater and art, which took him to New York City in 1983, where he became involved in a number of theater projects. When not acting, Kowanko wrote songs, some of which were used in a variety of off-Broadway theater productions. During a spell living in Los Angeles, a close friend of Kowanko's was cast in an independent film being shot in the Pacific Northwest; his friend introduced Kowanko to musician and producer Steve Fisk, who was working on music for the movie. Kowanko and Fisk struck up a friendship and the producer helped Kowanko record a demo tape, called Airmail, in 1989. Airmail found its way to an A&R executive at Morgan Creek Records, a major-label-distributed offshoot of the successful film production company. Morgan Creek signed Kowanko to a deal and in 1993 released his debut album, Kowanko, which was produced by Lenny Kaye. While the album received enthusiastic reviews, Morgan Creek was unsure how to promote Kowanko and this (coupled with his reluctance to tour) put paid to the album's opportunities in the market place. Kowanko retreated from the music business, continuing to work as an artist and author when not busy with his new responsibilities as a husband and father. He continued to write songs, however, and after Kowanko relocated to the Pacific Northwest, Fisk encouraged him to take a stab at a second recording project. With Fisk in the producer's chair, Kowanko recorded his second album, Spell, in 2001, releasing it later that year on his own imprint, Swimming Records. ~ Mark Deming

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