Mario for Kontrol Homme
We know you have all been wondering where Mario has been. Well, the singer-songwriter shared exclusively with Kontrol what he has been up to – traveling the world, finding himself, working on his new album and also working on writing a book!
“I’ve been a little bit of everywhere. Every year, I would say at least six times a year, I go overseas, I tour overseas, I record overseas; I’ve been in and out of the country a lot,” Mario tells Kontrol. However, Traveling wasn’t the only reason you haven’t heard from the Baltimore singer as of late.
“I took another year to get myself together spiritually, which helped a lot and has a lot to do with where I am today in my vision and my perception.”
Mario also opens up about parting from the label he was signed with.
“I was signed to a major label, and about two years ago I negotiated off of the label so that I could start my own.”
He explains that the situation wasn’t a negative one, and that it was more of a decision he made to be able to grow as an artist. He also tells us that he made a whole album while signed to his former label, which he decided to not release, and to instead just move forward with a fresh start.
Although that is an album Mario fans probably won’t ever get to hear, he came back with something even better. Mario is releasing his new album titled ‘Paradise Cove’, under his own label ‘New Citizen.’
“It’s really about finding light in a dark place; you know, finding paradise within darkness within your own things that you may deal with,” Mario says in regards to his new project.
“I think every person has their own ‘Paradise Cove’. My personal ‘Paradise Cove’ is when I’m able to use my experiences as a reference, and not as something that is still attached to me. It’s not a physical place, it’s an internal place where everything becomes subjective, and not objective.”
Mario for Kontrol Homme
‘I Need More’ is the first single from ‘Paradise Cove’ that Mario released, which has a bit of a dissimilar sound to it. This single has an edgier and more upbeat tune than what we are used to hearing from the R&B singer.
“The record is talking about no matter how much you gain in material things, all of the things we may want or think we want, once we get it, it’s not enough. We end up needing or wanting more. You’ll realize that you have to come back to your core, you have to be happy within.” Mario explains that each single on his new album has its own underlying meaning to it than what you may interpret from first-listen.
When asked what it is that he ‘needs more’ of or may be missing, Mario responded, “That record is a very present-time record, because I feel like I always experience this.” He goes deeper into explaining himself saying, “I may meet someone that I feel connected to and attracted to in the moment, and in that moment everything is perfect, but at the end of the day sometimes that fades and you realize ‘okay, is there more to this?’ I go through this all the time, and it’s really hard cus I have to remember the time I went through it before, what the outcome was. ” Could love be the inspiration and deeper meaning in Mario’s ‘I Need More”?
Mario further explains his ‘love life’ stating, “My love life is a paradox. You live and you learn.” He proceeds to open up about his relationship with his mother and how it affected his love life throughout his early stages of dating.
“The type of women that I was attracted to were a little bit more unhealthy for me because I was trying to fix them. I was attracted to beautiful women that were completely insane. There was a darkness in them and I was okay with that because I came from that.”
Although Mario’s mom made sure to get him on the right track with music, she was constantly in and out of his life, and due to her battles with drug addiction, it was hard for Mario to find the love and nurture that he needed from her during those times. These circumstances led to Mario falling for women that maybe weren’t the best for him; but despite the unhealthy relationships with both his mother and other women, Mario overcame all of it.
“Ultimately as I got older I realized that I had to find that within myself, not in a woman. I had to be at peace and be okay with being alone.” – Advice that we can all take from Mario. After all, you can’t be good to someone else without being right within first! Mario says he has overcome all of the issues he may have had in the relationship department “110%”, and that the progress he’s made throughout his journey is reflected in ‘Paradise Cove.’
The “I Need More” singer also shares his ambitions with us, and what drives him daily.
“I feel like it’s my challenges coming from Baltimore and growing up there that have helped me to maintain my level of ambition and strength and my level clairvoyance in a weird way, because when you experience things like that you can see that same texture of that experience in another experience, and you’re like ‘okay I know where that leads to’.”
Adventure and challenges are Mario’s current motivations, but before making it in the entertainment industry, making his grandmother happy was the only thing pushing Mario to work hard.
“I didn’t have a vision of being a star, I didn’t know or think that that was possible because of my upbringing, so I didn’t relay have ambitions like that when I was younger. I just knew I loved singing, I loved music, and I loved God.”
He may not have had the vision, but that voice and belief in God certainly pulled through for him! Mario tells Kontrol that all the money started coming in when he was 18; because he started at such a young age, he didn’t see his checks until then.
“I saved, I shopped, I have some to family member, I traveled… Mostly shopped though. I bought a car… or two.” Making it big at a young age certainly has its perks, but apparently only if you spend responsibly! Mario also tells us about a big purchase that wasn’t worth it, “I bought this diamonded out Cartier watch in Europe and nobody told me to get insurance on it. I think I paid like $140k for it, and I had it for six moths then I lost it.” Material gains may not mean everything, but they can be a little fun too – when you don’t lose them at least.
Based on Mario’s style on a day-to-day, we can assume some of that “shopping” was definitely on clothes and shoes. Mario talks fashion with us, saying his favorite fashion designers are Diesel, and John Varvatos because he loves distressed clothes. On the same topic of distressed style, Mario says he’s a fan of Kanye and understands his vision for his Yeezy fashion line, but says, “70% of it I think I could wear, 30% of it I don’t think I would wear.”
“I love grunge, and I love royal. I love ancient-feeling textures and symbolism.” Mario says he gets his fashion inspiration from moods and feelings. “I dressed based on my mood and based on the occasion.”
Mario has also been stepping a little out of his comfort zone with fashion, and trying new things.
“I just started wearing lighter colors, I used to wear all dark colors.” He’s also switched up his shoe game a little, and tells us “I also just started wearing low-top shoes, I used to wear all high –tops. I like trying new things”
Mario for Kontrol Homme
In addition to fashion, Mario talks to us about his thoughts on where music stands today.
“I feel like music is very dumbed down, and I feel like some people are capitalizing off of that; but I feel like it’s direct at the same time. I feel like there’s a lot of urgency in hip-hop, something can happen tomorrow and then someone can put it in a song and the song is big; so the urgency is there. But I feel like the quality of how the music affects you as a human being is very low, like how the frequency of the music affects you is very non-existent, it’s temporary.” He also gives us his opinion on Beyonce’s latest album ‘Lemonade’ and how she switched it up, “ I loved it. I felt like I was walking through an art exhibit. I think she did a great job with that project, and she’s one of the artists who knows how to balance out the older generations and they younger generations and I think that’s important.”
Well, we know we can certainly look forward to ‘feeling’ Mario’s new music, but that’s not all we can be excited about. The artist is adding ‘author’ to his resume! That’s right, Mario tells Kontrol how he is currently working on writing a book titled “Life in Exchange.”
“It’s basically a practically written book that I’m using my experiences to write, that is based upon managing your personal an spiritual space.” Mario hopes the book will be published and in stores by the end of next year, but until then we can look forward to new music, new visuals and maybe even a new tour after the release of ‘Paradise Cove.”
Photography by Nathan Pearcy
Styled by Julian Lark & Sakeya Donaldson, Assisted by Ashley Wilson
Interview & Story by Daniela Posso
Groomed by Jessica Ammons
Wardrobe provided by Diesel & Threadz Atlanta
Eyewear provided by Eye Candy Creations