Every artist needs tools for his trade so upon discovering her son’s expressive yet smooth, unconstrained, completely honest vocal ability she provided Mario with a karaoke machine and a piano which she played quite well herself. The result was simple. "I played with the tools that she had given me and went for broke! From that experience I have learned to create and develop harmonies by just listening to the melodies."
Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Mario now resides in Northern New Jersey where he is a sophomore in high school. The former frequent talent show contestant remembers when not so long ago, he would enter more singing competitions than he could count. Fortunately for Mario the end result would have him fulfilling his dream of becoming the entertainer he was born to be.
Forging ahead, within months Mario - whose musical influences are Usher, Brian McKnight, Joe and Stevie Wonder - went into the studio to record his debut album for J Records. The albums first single "Just A Friend 2002" was written and produced by musical veteran Warryn Campbell and pays tribute to the 1980s hip-hop hit "Just A Friend" by legendary rapper Biz Markie. Markie is featured in the video clip of "Just A Friend 2002" which was shot on location in Mario’s hometown of Baltimore, Maryland.
In addition to Campbell’s contributions, Mario’s debut features production by Harvey Mason (Brandy, Babyface, Tyrese), Gerald Isaac (Mary J. Blige, Angie Stone) and five-time Grammy winner Alicia Keys who contributes two stand-out cuts "Put Me On" and "2 Train."
"Not only is he full of personality," says Keys, "he has one of the most beautiful and original voices I've ever heard from such a young man. He doesn't sound like anyone else and he already knows what he wants to do vocally. With time, he will only master this even more. That's my lil' man and I'm watchin' over him."