Mario Dewar Barrett (born August 27, 1986), better known by the mononym, Mario, is an American R&B singer-songwriter, actor, dancer and model. He is best known for his singles “Just a Friend 2002” (2002) and “Let Me Love You” (2004), which won him two Billboard awards, as well as for appearing in the films Step Up and Freedom Writers. He has released four studio albums: Mario (2002), Turning Point (2004), Go (2007), and D.N.A. (2009). In the end of 2000’s decade, Mario was ranked by Billboard #98 on their “Artist of the Decade” list.
Mario grew up in Baltimore and other working-class neighborhoods in Baltimore County, Maryland. He lived with his grandmother, who raised him while his single mother struggled with a drug addiction. Mario said at the age of four that he wanted to become a singer. His mother supported his dream and bought him a karaoke machine. Mario joined a musical group in Milford Mill Academy with the oldest son of comedienne Mo’Nique and best friend Jaye Brebnor and also his younger god sister Chea Tyler. He was always dedicated to having a musical career. He learned to play the piano and used that skill as the basis for his melodies and songs. He was discovered at age eleven and signed by producer Troy Patterson, after singing “I’ll Make Love to You” at a Coppin State College talent show. Mario attended Milford Mill Academy up until the tenth grade where he was inspired by his music teacher, during his early teen years, and was offered a record deal at the age of fourteen, signing with Clive Davis’ J Records. His musical influences include Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Nat King Cole, Brian McKnight, Boyz II Men, Usher, and Joe. His first introduction to the music industry was the Dr. Dolittle 2 movie soundtrack in 2001. He sang a captivating performance of the Stevie Wonder classic “You and I” at Clive’s Grammy party in 2002, and began recording an album.
Main article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_(album)
Mario began recording his debut album Mario in July 2001, nearly a year before releasing it in March 2002. The lead single “Just a Friend 2002”, which was a cover of Biz Markie’s hit, was an instant success, peaking at #1 on the charts. Follow up singles were “Braid My Hair” & “C’mon” . He was the opening act on the Scream Tour 3, which featured B2K,Marques Houston, Nick Cannon, Jhené Aiko, and AJA. As of 2006, his debut album has sold over 700,000 copies. During this period, he became a draw in the teen market.
Turning Point (2004-2006)edit:
Main article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turning_Point_(Mario_album)
After his debut album was released, Mario wanted to record an album that was more mature. He enlisted a number of well-known producers to help him, such as Scott Storch & Lil’ Jon. He released his second album, Turning Point on December 7, 2004. The album was more successful than his first, mainly because of the hit single “Let Me Love You”. The single, described by reviewers as “melodic and sweetly lilting, reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s vintage romantic ballads” was successful, peaking at the number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for nine consecutive weeks. The single is written by Ne-Yo. Other follow up singles include “How Could You” co-written by J. Valentine, with a cameo appearance in the video by rapper Cassidy; “Here I Go Again” (whose video starred model/singer Cassie) and “Boom” featuring Juvenile. To date, Turning Point has sold platinum and the lead single double-platinum.
In February 2006, Mario filed a lawsuit against his former manager, Troy Patterson, alleging that Patterson had paid him $50,000 for the sale of more than 3 million records, which was later found to be false accusations. Mario was later sued by Patterson and lost. Mario’s new manager is J. Erving and he was chosen by Mario.
Main article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_(Mario_album)
Mario’s third album Go is dedicated to his mom Shawntia Hardaway and was released in South Africa under Gallo Records on October 9, 2007, in the U.S. on December 11, 2007. The album includes collaborations with Jermaine Dupri, Ne-Yo, Janice Robinson, Scott Storch, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Timbaland and Bryan-Michael Cox. Mario, who has described the album as “sex…more personal…more passionate”, had more creative control on Go than on his previous two albums. The first single to be lifted from the album was “How Do I Breathe” which was released in May. The second single was “Crying Out for Me” after a poll on his website. The single was later certificated Gold by the RIAA. On December 13, 2007, Mario was on “106 & Park” where he stated that the third single off the album will be “Music for Love”. The entire album was made available for the public to listen to on his Myspace page before its release. He also has a new song that came out on December 11, “Do Right”. Go has sold 331,540 copies in the U.S.
In an interview with DJ “Z”, Mario stated that problems with the record label caused the album launch to be pushed back 6-8 months. In 2008, Mario competed on season six of Dancing With the Stars. He was partnered with Karina Smirnoff. They were eliminated in week eight of the competition.
Main article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D.N.A._(Mario_album)
In a 2009 interview with Rap-Up.com, Mario said that “Soul Truth Entertainment” was his new entertainment company. Before the release of his third album Go, Mario confirmed in an interview with that he was working on a new album “by the time school starts back up, like after next summer” “But there’s really even more than that, ’cause I’m gonna start recording, like, at the end of January”. The album is involving a wide range of producers and songwriters such as Darkchild, Babyface, Polow da Don, RedOne, and CJ of Charlio Productions, Malay, Jazze Pha, Stargate, KP, Tricky Stewart and The-Dream as confirmed by Mario. Mario said that he would like to work with no more than 4 producers for this album. Mario has described this album as World music, an old school R&B influenced with a modern dance pop sound. The album is being described as his “most personal, colossal album of his career.”
In January 2009, Mario became the face of Pelle Pelle’s European Spring/Summer campaign with various press shots running through the first part of the year. For his fourth album D.N.A., the lead single “Break Up” was released on April 28, 2009. The song features Sean “The Pen” Garrett and Gucci Mane. In the US, the song, have peaked at number 2 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Chart and 15 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Mario’s most successful single in five years. The single has been recently certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for a shipment of over 500,000 units as a . “Thinkin’ About You”, was released as the second single reaching number forty-five on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Chart. “Stranded” never labelled as the third single due to the limited airplay that it received. Lack of interest led to the single being cancelled, although in January 2010 the song entered on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs peaking at number 84. “Ooh Baby” was later confirmed to be the third single from the album, it peaked on the week of March 19, 2010 debuting on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 95. The entire album was made available for the public to listen to on his Myspace page before its release. The album debuted at number nine on the Billboard 200, selling 38,000 copies in its first week, becoming Mario’s lowest-selling debut in the United States. So far, it has sold 93,385 copies in the US.
Mario is currently working on his fifth album. He says: “I’m working on a new album right now. It’s gonna be totally different than D.N.A. Not typical R&B style but more like club songs.” Recently, Mario took CJ Hilton under his wing and asked the newcomer to write songs for his next album. Mario did an Ustream chat with CJ Hilton, stating that a possible title for the album is Mario Barrett, which will show people the “real” him, and also that he’s meeting with his record label about the scheduling of his new album and to play them ten new records. From the sound of it, we’ll be hearing more songs like “Green Light” and “Starlight” on the new album, going with a more Euro-Pop/Electro/R&B sound. The Baltimore native explained that the genre’s grooves were just too appealing not to flirt with on his upcoming project. “I just came back from Europe — it’s crazy out there,” Mario said. “I just did a DJ/ house music tour in Europe… It was incredible to see how many people are into house music and R&B music, and how house music influences R&B nowadays. You know, it has a real strong presence over there.” The collection, due this summer (according to Mario) would be his fifth album and the follow-up to last year’s set, D.N.A. That project spawned the hit “Break Up,” featuring Gucci Mane and Sean Garrett. Mario’s yet-untitled album is tentatively slated to include a guest appearance by Chris Brown, though nothing has been confirmed so far. Mario said the two crooners recently spent time together in a Los Angeles studio — though admittedly Brown was working with Keri Hilson and not with him — and the pair have high hopes to get something recorded between them soon. “For the ladies,” he said on his official Twitter, “This album is for the world. I’m taking all my knowledge and love for music and puttin it out” and add “All new shit nothing recycled”. On his Twitter he made an announcement saying that he was going to Miami to work with Rico Love and also to finish the album on the same week.
In an interview with Vibe, Mario was asked what direction he was trying to go with on his fifth album; his answer was, “I wanna give as much honesty as I can. I want to be honest, but grab the attention of everybody, but still compete so when you hear it on the radio it’s pushing the envelope. The melodies coming out of me now are unorthodox– melodies I’ve never expressed before”. He also confirmed he has five tracks that are definitely going on. “These tracks are like movies, they are intense”, he added. Nevertheless, the album will probably feature a song centered on his mother, written by himself. In another interview with Rap-Up TV Mario revealed details on the new single and the album. Mario explained that the first single “The Walls” featuring Fabolous really pays homage to women who are comfortable with being sexy outside and they’re sexy with their men when they get home. In addition to that he revealed that he anticipates a November or January release. On December 19, 2011 Mariomusic channel on Youtube leaked a video with the mixtape name, Truth Be Told and some song snippets.
On October 7, RCA Music Group announced it was disbanding J Records along with Arista Records and Jive Records. With the shutdown, Mario (and all other artists previously signed to these three labels) will release his future material on the RCA Records brand.
Through his official twitter page, on May 17, 2013, he confirmed that he has been working with Polow Da Don, for the track “Somebody Else” featuring rapper Nicki Minaj and was already done and released. The song was made available in the iTunes Store on May 21, 2013. He also thanked to Polow Da Don, Jeremiah Renaldo, Nicki Minaj and CJ Hilton for composing the song. He also stated that his album, Restoration, will be released in September 2013 and guest appearances from Nicki Minaj, J. Cole & Sevyn Streeter. “Fatal Distraction” which features J. Cole will be his next single.
Mario Announced during a USTREAM interview with Music Choice, his album will be released on September 17th 2013.
Mario starred alongside Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan in Step Up, a dance-themed film released on August 11, 2006. For his next film, Freedom Writers he acted opposite Academy Award-Winner Hilary Swank and Patrick Dempsey of Grey’s Anatomy. It was released on January 5, 2007. Mario did not take acting classes before undertaking the role. Mario has stated that he would like to own his own film production company entitled “Inside Paris Productions” and become a director. On 5 March 2009, Mario said on Twitter that he had made an ABC network testing for a new Pilot. As result, he made an announcement to “The Electric Company” on PBS, with the “Soft G”. Also starred in “One on One” as Spirit’s date to the dance.
Knightwritaz is a production team of which Mario was part of. The production team included Mario and includes Sterling Simms, Warren “Oak” Felder and Marsha of Floetry. Aside from producing songs for Mario’s album Go, the team has written and produced songs for Jennifer Lopez, Chris Brown, Jordin Sparks, Usher and Raven-Symoné. Mario claimed to be more of the songwriter in the team. In an interview with Rap-Up he sentenced that he was no longer part of the Knightwritaz.
The Mario Do Right Foundationedit:
Mario’s Do Right Foundation was established on March 2008 to educate and inspire kids who suffer from the drug addictions of their parents. In May, Mario published a notice on the Facebook page of the foundation, saying that he had been in a studio in Miami all night re-recording the hit song “Do Right” from his 2007 album “Go”. This remix “Do Right” will be the theme song for Mario’s Do Right Foundation. The song debut is expected to be at this year’s African American Heritage Festival in Baltimore.
MTV aired a special on October 21, 2007, “I Won’t Love You to Death: The Story of Mario and His Mom,” which dealt with his mother’s heroin addiction. The documentary is about how the singer strives for help to stop his mother’s addiction. While doing this, he seeks help from family and friends. Mario wrote a letter to his mother stating how appreciative he is and begs her to stop her addiction. At the end of the letter he says, “I love you, but I won’t love you to death”. The documentary, produced by Gigantic! Productions, won a 2008 Prism Award for its accurate portrayal of drug abuse. Mario has also written a song titled Do Right that is dedicated to his mother. This song explains his mother’s addiction and how it affected his childhood. The song is featured on his third album Go.
In 2009, Mario endorsed PETA in the campaign against killing animals entitled “Ink, Not Mink”. He tells: “Be comfortable in your own skin, and let animals keep theirs”. Mario has homes in Baltimore, Atlanta and Los Angeles.