By Joe Stone
At first glance, Mark Rostenko may seem like one of the least likely people to win a nationwide songwriting contest. While he’s been involved with music for a long time and has been playing for fun with a local jam group for a number of years, he only started taking his music seriously thee to four years ago. Even then, it took encouragement from a friend before he “got more serious” and began creating his own songs. Now, a little over a year later, American Songwriter has awarded the Cotopaxi, Colorado, resident grand prize in the magazine’s 2016 Lyric Contest for his song “Billy (Off the Line).” First glances can be deceiving, and for this writer, it only took one conversation and a listen to Rostenko’s lone demo to realize he’s the real deal. He is a man fulfilling his destiny to write and perform music that can make a difference, music that can change people’s lives.