You can’t miss him when he’s coming down the street. It’s the hair, a gorgeous lion’s mane reaching out to both horizons. And it’s his walk, somewhat bouncy and imperial. He’s Mark Tara, and he’s fabulous. “I had short hair, for sure,” he tells me, “but in my mind why hide your light? I'm being authentically ME, and big hair is ME.”
Mark is the host of Rainbow Country, a chatty interview show on CIUT 89.5 FM. It airs Tuesday at midnight. I was a guest on the show last June, and I enjoyed myself immensely. That’s because Mark does everything right. He made me comfortable, did his research, and really drew it out of me. He also tries hard to get great guests, like John Tory, Carole Pope, Lorraine Segato, Donnarama, Jade Elektra, and Ashley MacIsaac.
“Rainbow Country came about as a direct result by my frustration in trying to get my music played on radio,” explains Mark. “It wasn't happening so I figured if I can't get my music on radio maybe I can get on radio.” Though it’s a pity his songs didn’t get the airplay - I particularly enjoyed "Number One" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cX1XfpaaLPU) - it did give birth to a new broadcaster.
“My most provocative interview has to be the porn industry people that I've interviewed. Liam Cole from Treasure Island Media. Toronto porn star Ryan Russell, a sweetheart. And I have an upcoming interview with porn star Hugh Hunter.” When I ask who his listeners were, he says “open-minded souls."
Back in 2006, Mark had a hit with "Different Love" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2Z3gCpWZ_s), which was embraced by that year’s Pride Committee and produced by the Boomtang Boys. But mismanagement occurred. “It was originally released on Popular Records but they fucked up by not being prepared because the track started taking off but no one could get it and it just faded.” It didn’t stop him, because then he recorded "Live Your Life" and most recently, "Number One." “'Number One' is me,” he stated. “Plain and simple. I shot, edited and did the video on my own with the help on some friends.” Did I mention that Mark is also a videographer?
It’s unfortunate that his records could not find their audience. Can Mark Tara find it in himself to ever record again? “HELL YEAH I'm gonna record new music. I need to turn my focus on myself again but in 2017! I'm looking to do a mash up of 'Oh Sheila' and 'Glamorous Life.' And of course do a video as well.”
But one question still remains. With his propensity towards big hair and bold outfits, does Mark Tara consider himself a drag queen? “I don't need to do drag because I AM DRAG. I look the way I do because it's simply me. My hair's my own. I’m gay. I cross dress and to be honest I look good doing so. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t."
And what's next for Mark Tara? “TV?!” he declared. Let’s hope TV is ready for him.