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Bill Colgate (born 1953) is a Canadian bar band singer turned successful actor turned critically lauded and award winning singer/songwriter. In 2002, Bill won 2nd Grand Prize Overall in the USA Songwriting Competition. His winning entry, Let It Be There, was chosen from over 32,000 songs. It is featured on his debut CD, when dinosaurs ruled the earth songs from Bill's two solo CDs, as well as his latest effort with The Urbane Guerillas, are featured on his website.


Born in Welland Ontario and raised in Toronto, the arc of Bill's professional life begins in the early 70's, fronting such "memorable" bar bands as Uncle John's Dirty Secret and The All Star Disco Band (currently residing in the 9th Circle of Hell). It was while playing The Nickelodeon (Ronnie Hawkins’ old "Hawk's Nest") that things took a left turn when he was approached by the artistic director of a fledgling theatre company with the proposal that he might consider giving acting a try "since you seem to be handling the role of lead singer pretty well".

20 years later, when he recorded his first CD, Bill had appeared in every aspect of the profession: stage, screen (BIG and small), radio, cartoon and commercial voice work. He has performed the plays of Shakespeare, Beckett, Shaw and Ibsen but is most often recognized as both the "good old boy" on Relic Hunter (enlisting the aid of Tia Carrere to track down a guitar given to him by Elvis Presley) or as The Singing Pirate from an episode of the children's show "Join In" recorded 15 years ago. Bill has worked with the following names you may find familiar: Tommy Lee Jones, John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Diane Keaton, Diane Lane, Virginia Madsen, Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber, Matt Dillon, Anthony Edwards, Tia Carrere, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Beau Bridges, Joe Mantegna, Sarah Polley, Kyra Sedgwick and Joanna Cassidy. (see http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0171441)

While with a small theatre company in Mississauga Ontario (Cyclos Theatre), the process of osmosis first affected Bill's artistic life. He discovered that all those years of singing in bar bands had given him an instinctive understanding of song structure. This came in especially handy as he was the only one in the company with any musical background and someone was needed to write original songs for their children's shows. Thus began Bill's education in songwriting. It proved to be an excellent training ground. The lyrics had to convey information and "further the plot" while the melody had to engage the notoriously fickle pre-pubescent audience. It was an apprenticeship that's advantages far outweighed the one disadvantage of having to "unlearn" a certain didacticism inherent in children's music as he later struggled to find his own "voice".

This struggle began during an hour long walk Bill would take every summer day from the hamlet of Port Ryerse to the town of Port Dover (where he was appearing at The Lighthouse Festival Theatre) along The Radical Road. It had been several years since Bill had been required to write a song but, for some reason, that summer they came fast and furious and, so far, the flood has not abated. Whereas once the osmotic process had flowed from music to theatre, the reverse was now the rule. All the experience Bill had acquired from his years as an actor - his understanding of imagery, the rhythms of speech, the relationship and responsibilities of performer to audience - informed his songwriting. He had a foot in both camps. He could stand on the shoulders of the giants, not only of the music he loved (The Band, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen) but of the theatre, whose works he had performed (Shakespeare, Beckett, Ibsen, Shaw).

Bill does not play an instrument. He has too much respect for musicians to call what he does to a harmonica "playing an instrument". Nevertheless, with his principal musical collaborator, Cam MacInnes, he has successfully developed techniques for getting what he hears in his head “outta there”. At 3 critically lauded CDs and counting, it must be workin’. Fast forward to today and we have a Bill Colgate who, ironically enough, uses the acting profession as that thing to fall back on if this singer/songwriter gig doesn't work out. Look out world there's a not-so-new-kid in town. Bill has shared the concert stage with the following names you may recognize: Jim Cuddy, Ron Sexsmith, Bobby Wiseman, Kevin Hearn, Sarah Slean, Mia Sheard, Tamara Williamson, Amos Garrett, The Bills, and, in his bar band days: John Lee Hooker, Chubby Checker, Sha Na Na, Lighthouse and The Stampeders.


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