|Next Project:||Go (July 31st, 2007)|
|Twitter:||Mario on Twitter|
It’s been almost three full years since R&B singer Mario released a studio album. In late 2004 “Turning Point” landed on store shelves and with the success of the hit single “Let Me Love You,” Mario landed atop the charts and with a platinum plaque in hand. Fast forward three years and he is on the verge of dropping his follow-up, “Go,” a more sophisticated and mature offering. Alongside producers such as Stargate, Polow Da Don and the Neptunes, Mario is looking to duplicate his previous success and add to his growing legacy. During an interview with DJBooth.net’s DJ “Z,” Mario discusses his reasoning behind the gap in his musical works, what kryptonite he possesses that doesn’t allow his relationships with women to work, and why Akon might be the most god given producer he has ever stepped inside a studio with to record!
Listen to the Interview
Mario Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on ya’ll? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is an actor-slash-singer, who has a brand new album called, “Go”; which will be out in stores this July. Please welcome R&B sensation: Mario. How are you?
Mario: What’s going on man? That’s a nice little intro—you can add writer to make it R&B singer slash actor slash writer.
DJ Booth: If you want we can send that over to your management and get that on all official Mario stationary, Mario CD’s, etc… We can make that happen!
Mario: Let’s definitely do that man, how you been?
DJ Booth: I’m good, thanks. I’ve heard a lot of new stuff off this brand new album (Go) and in the pre-interview we spoke about how highly anticipated it is and how excited you are. Put a perspective for me: You’ve been in this game for a long time, but this I’m sure has to be the ultimate point thus far?
Mario: Thus far it definitely is, you know, in terms of being able to understand where I am. This is a very important point in my career. A lot of my true fans, who have followed me thus far, are going to see a lot of growth, in me. My fans have grown, and they’ll be able to relate to many of the topics that I’m talking about on this new album. They are definitely going to know what I’m talkin’ about.
DJ Booth: Definitely. Your sophomore album, “Turning Point,” was released back in December of ’04, so who or what do you think is most responsible for the delay in-between the albums?
Mario: Who or what? Hmmm. I think that it is important to look outward. It’s important as an artist to allow yourself to grow. I think that a lot of times, when you’re young, you think that an album is going to come out every year, but to be honest, what have you learned? What can you learn about for a new album that you didn’t know? In one year? Not that it’s a bad thing, but I think it’s more important to allow yourself to grow as a young artist. I don’t regret not putting an album out sooner. I learned from it. I also had a few legal situations to work through, which set my album back 6 to 8 months. With all that’s been said, I now have much more control over what projects, and how the album gets done. I’m a much happier person now, with how the album is being done. The album will speak for itself in terms of being better than my last record. It was more challenging [for me], and [also] more gratifying.
DJ Booth: Honestly, that’s a terrific situation, because obviously as a singer, you have a voice to your music. But now, you most certainly have a voice to your music. Mario, the official first single, already at radio is “How Do I Breathe.” Tell me the truth behind the writing of this single, because there has to be a story here?
Mario: Well, I met Stargate, the [producers] from Norway. We met when I was oversees touring, and they were talking about a little producing. They were up-and- coming at the time. Next thing I know, I hear their music all over the radio. I was thinking, ‘Wow, I really like their music. These guys are classic’. We did two songs, which they made with me and Ne-Yo, but they didn’t make the project. Then we did two more songs, which I co-wrote and one of them was “How Do I Breathe.” The truth is that I felt like the track already had a story to tell; but that there had to be a certain flow over the record. I had to show some vulnerability, and that is what the record is about. It’s about being vulnerable and knowing that you lost something that so essential to your life. I’d say it’s about 75% true to life, and the rest is just creative writing.
DJ Booth: Well, the end result will probably be that you’ll have 100% of women in love with you…
Mario: Ha-ha [laughing]… That’s the plan you know, in order to have people relate to the record. I love it when women come up and talk to me about how they can relate to the record. A lot of guys come up to me, too. It’s gratifying. It’s so funny, it’s real.
DJ Booth: I agree. Mario, have you met a woman thus far in your life that has made breathing a struggle for you, while you were in her company?
DJ Booth: Literally!
Mario: Yeah I have, Beyonce ha-ha. I have a lot of respect for her man. The infatuation part of it, I have grown out of. Like, I used have an infatuation with her where I’d be speechless around her. I guess some guy’s would call me a “Wussy” for it, but I respect her. I respect her work ethic, how far she’s come, and how far she’s grown. I’m a huge fan.
DJ Booth: You mentioned, some guys would call you a “Wussy,” but have they seen her and been in her presence? I doubt it.
Mario: I don’t know. Who’s to say that they won’t have the same thing happen, in their situation? It is what it is; I’ll stand behind my words all day.
DJ Booth: Exactly. Another hot song off this new album is called, “Kryptonite.” What feminine-driven kryptonite has had the strongest detrimental effects, on Mario?
Mario: Being in my professional position. I’ve been in a relationship, where I had to be on the road a lot and wow…that right there is really hard when you are 19 or 20 years old. I’m a very social person, and a lot of times I’ll be intrigued by the different type of women I meet, and all their personalities. It’s like kryptonite. I had to do a record that explains trying to save a relationship, but at the same time dealing with obstacles. It’s just like Superman with kryptonite—kryptonite was the death of him and it’s just a cool metaphor.
DJ Booth: This is the song that is going to get 100% of the guys respect, because when they listen to the song, they’re going to know what you’re talking about.
Mario: Yeah! And that’s the second single.
DJ Booth: Everyone who has Top 20 hit at radio right now is on the album: Polow Da Don, Stargate, Akon, Timbaland, The Neptunes. So, which one(s) do you think deserve more credit for the hard work they do, after having worked so closely with them all?
Mario: Whooo…I think that’s the best question, that’s someone’s ever asked me.
DJ Booth: I appreciate that.
Mario: I’d say…Polo. I need to say more than one. I’d say….
DJ Booth: You’re totally changing my question. You can only pick one.
DJ Booth: When you and Akon got together, what did Akon do to compliment your style, that worked so well?
Mario: Akon and I worked on an introspective record, called “Do Right.” Akon masters doing real songs about real issues, and writing them so that they are relatable to all types of people—in all cultures. What we did was take a lot of personal issues that I have and we used his expertise to bring that across in the music, because it is real in a way that people can relate to. I really—I definitely think he’s god gifted. I enjoyed working with him, man. It’s just his insight. He has a lot of insight. He’s a real dude—a real dude…some people no matter how much success the get, they don’t lose that realness. I gotta send a big shout out to Polo, and Pharrell (of The Neptunes.)
DJ Booth: Yeah, I knew you were going to get the other two back in there, and add it to your original answer at the end. That’s okay. I’ll let it go…. [Laughing]
Mario: Ha-ha. Yeah, but the bulk and nucleus of the answer was given!
DJ Booth: I’ve read a lot of press clippings about your struggle over whether or not to release your new album under your full name, Mario Barrett, or just Mario. What made you contemplate the change?
Mario: When I got into acting, they usually ask you to use your full name, and so I wanted to see my full name up on the screen, during the credits. I decided to do that for the acting, but in a staff meeting with J Records (Mario’s record label) it came up that I should use my full name for the new album. They thought it would make the album more personal. I just felt like I had time for that, and decided not to do it
DJ Booth: Okay, well I just saw Mario Barrett in the film Freedom Writers. Are you sure you just started acting; because that was a hell of a role you played!
Mario: Aww man, stop it! Thank you man. There were a few scenes I would have loved to reshoot, but this was actually my second part, and of course this is just the beginning of my film career. I plan on doing a lot more. I think those are actually the roles that helped to show growth, because I had to pull from personal experiences to do that film.
DJ Booth: You played it with realness, and sincerity, and not a lot of actors in Hollywood –established or not– could do the same thing.
Mario: Wow, Thank you.
DJ Booth: Your welcome—Mario go ahead and give a website or a MySpace address, so that all of your fans can find out about your new album, “Go” in stores this July.
Mario: Well you said it for me, it’s “Go” out in July. I am really excited about the project. I want to thank all my fans who supported me thus far. You can go to www.myspace.com/mariojrecords. If you wanna give me a call, I have a number that’s called my ‘Say Now’ number. I check it every week and leave new messages twice a week. You can call me at 818-836-8041. Holla at yo Boy!
DJ Booth: I want to wish you nothing but the best of luck on this new album; you’re your burgeoning acting career.
Mario: Thank you, brother. I appreciate it man.