Brooklyn, NY -- Mario, one of the smoothest balladeers in the current fleet of young male R&B singers, joins this season’s celebrity cast of Dancing with the Stars, the popular dance competition series. The show kicks off live on Monday, March 17 on ABC (8:00-9:30 p.m., ET).
The youngest celebrity to participate to date, Mario shares the dance floor with some of the world’s most accomplished celebrities in their respective field of entertainment and sports, including Academy Award winner Marlee Maitlin, Olympic Gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi and NFL’s current Man of the Year Jason Taylor.
In addition to viewing his progress on the show, Mario will provide fans with weekly updates on his training and performances through his mobile community at (818) 836-8041.
“It’s an honor to be cast amongst such an elite group of celebrities. I’m only 21 and I hope that I can reach the pinnacle of success that many of them have achieved in their careers,” says Mario.
Success is certainly not fleeting for this multi-platinum selling Baltimore native as his current single “Crying Out For Me” holds the #5 spot on this week’s Urban Mainstream chart. Mario continues his chart-topping status as his third album Go is Top 20 on Billboard’s R&B Albums chart. The “Crying Out For Me” video is in heavy rotation at BET and has been a mainstay on the network’s 106 & Park countdown show since November. The video is also in rotation at MTV and Mario recently performed the hit single on TRL.
“My fans know me for my music and acting (Step Up, Freedom Writers). Being a part of this show gives me the opportunity to express another side of me,” states Mario. “If I win, it will also help me further establish my Do Right Foundation to aid young people dealing with similar issues as I did - growing up in a household with a drug-addicted parent.”
Mario’s Do Right Foundation was created to empower children affected by drug abuse to make independent choices and believe in themselves. The foundation provides participants with the power and resources to rise above their circumstances, step out of the pattern of their families’ situation and history and succeed in life.
Mario first hit the music scene at the young age of 15 when he released his debut album, 2002’s Mario, which spawned the Top 10 single “Just a Friend (2002).” His follow-up album, 2004’s Turning Point, featured the mega hit “Let Me Love You,” which skyrocketed to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it stayed for five weeks, propelling Turning Point to worldwide double-platinum status and earning Mario two Grammy nominations and two Billboard Award wins. Mario’s December 2007 release of Go marked his third Top 5 debut on Billboard’s R&B Album chart.
Mario made his foray into acting with a noteworthy performance in the 2005 summer teen dance movie Step Up, which debuted at #2 and grossed over $21 million during its opening weekend. In 2007, Mario took on a more dramatic role alongside Hilary Swank as a Long Beach, CA high school student struggling to survive after the LA riots in Freedom Writers.