"I Never Wanted Fame or Stardom": A Guest Editorial by Mario

"I found this process to be like a surgery that was long overdue."
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Mario, 2018

Chart-topping, GRAMMY Award-nominated singer, songwriter, and actor, Mario is back with the release of his long-awaited fifth studio album, Dancing Shadows, which dropped on October 5 and debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes R&B/Soul chart. 

What does influence mean? 

As a kid, you don’t know the responsibilities of having influence. I mean, who’s more influential, the class bully or the smartest kid in the classroom? I guess it would depend on who’s observing the choices and characters of both parties. It is indeed true that we are affected by our environment and the energies projected onto them.

What we often take for granted the most is our own inner power. The power to influence ourselves. We are never stuck in a certain mood or expression. It’s always possible to shift your mindset, which affects your emotions and the way you project into the world around you. Some of us fear what we do not understand about ourselves, therefore, fearing the world around us by not opening up to our own shadows. This is not a shameless plug for my newly-released album, Dancing Shadows, but a statement I find true through my own inner visions and self-liberating experiences.

I started in the music business at 14 years old. Growing up in Baltimore, I saw firsthand the cause and effect of unwarranted environmental influence. As children, if our parents aren’t giving us the tools and education to consciously navigate our surroundings, we have to learn through trial and error the harsh realities of being a victim of societal ignorance. This can take on many shapes and forms. We shouldn’t expect schools or any other government agencies to teach our children the fundamentals of individual human existence partnered with cultural and ethnic psychology. As I do believe we are one species, the human conditioning over eons of time has displaced our relation to the simple human qualities that we can all relate to.

One of the things I can say I understand now as an adult that I didn’t as a child was the concept of generational patterns within my family. Whether it was drugs, violence, or mental health, I later came to the realization that it all can be healed. But first, we must become aware of and not afraid to face what lies in the shadows. Too often we overlook the root issues that are the catalyst to the conditions that become obvious to our friends and families. When I was writing Dancing Shadows, a lot of memories from my childhood often felt very present. I used that energy and awareness to my advantage. It was like I was my own therapist all of a sudden. I found this process to be like a surgery that was long overdue.

The other day, I was asked when I realized I wanted to be a singer. It was a question I had been asked before, but suddenly I had this sort of irritating ponder about my answer. The truth is, I never wanted to be a singer. I never wanted fame or stardom. I was more of a “How can I create more freedom for myself with no boundaries?” type of kid. I was always searching for the alternative. 

In the present day, I now understand that God wanted me to see the world from an eagle’s eye perspective so that I could then create that freedom from understanding and wisdom. If nothing else, this odyssey has given me the experiences and challenges I needed to crack and rewrite certain codes for myself. One of the main rules of my private counsel is “one must always take away and apply a lesson from his experiences.” I don’t have the luxury of saying “What a coincidence.” There are no coincidences, only cause and effect. Once we learn how and what causes, we can predict the effect.

It’s time for us to use the shadows as our partners to illuminate the forces that balance our existence, instead of allowing those who use the ignorance of the collective to propagate their own selfish agendas.

What do you think it is that makes music such a powerful force in the world? If you were to ask me, I would first say it’s a very intrusive, passive-aggressive experience. For instance, you can’t control what you hear unless you are at home or in your car where the volume is under your control. Outside of those surroundings, your ears are the physical polarity of the subconscious mind. It’s a vacuum. Music is information that the brain breaks up in various ways to communicate it to your body, also using the nervous system which is the telephone line between your physical and omnipresent self. This is why we are so connected to music and how when we hear music we create analogical photographic memories of these moments. 

We all know songs that take us back to specific times in our lives; I know I do. With that being said, there is a science behind the creation of music. Most indigenous cultures use music to communicate with omnipresence, spirits, different Gods, etc. But it is, in fact, the intention of the force creating the music that is the most important factor for the listener and observer.

As we move into the next chapter of the human experience, I think it’s time we start to focus on our intentions and the causes and effects of them. I think we have become very antiquated in our awareness of evolution. We have become scared of the shadows, of the sacred forces awaiting our presence with self-liberation. Technology is not as much of an advancement as it is an escape from our highest potential as omnipresent beings. We are just creating more realms within the realm of illusions. But that’s a conversation for another time. 

As my homie Childish Gambino would say, “Stay woke!”

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