Mario (entertainer)

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Mario being interviewed at a charity event for cancer in San Diego, California, on September 14, 2008
Background information
Birth nameMario Deward Barrett
Born(1986-08-27) August 27, 1986 (age 26)
OriginBaltimore, Maryland, United States
OccupationsSinger-songwriter, actor, dancer, model
Years active2000–present
LabelsJ, RCA
Associated actsSean Garrett, Big Sean, OJ Da Juiceman, Gucci Mane, Ludacris, Plies, Lil' Jon
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Mario being interviewed at a charity event for cancer in San Diego, California, on September 14, 2008
Background information
Birth nameMario Deward Barrett
Born(1986-08-27) August 27, 1986 (age 26)
OriginBaltimore, Maryland, United States
OccupationsSinger-songwriter, actor, dancer, model
Years active2000–present
LabelsJ, RCA
Associated actsSean Garrett, Big Sean, OJ Da Juiceman, Gucci Mane, Ludacris, Plies, Lil' Jon

Mario Dewar Barrett (born August 27, 1986),[1] who performs under the mononym Mario, is an American R&B singer-songwriter, actor, dancer and model. He is best known for his hit 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.[2]


Early life

Mario grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and other working-class neighbourhoods in Baltimore County, Maryland.[3] He lived with his grandmother, who raised him while his single mother struggled with a drug addiction.[3] 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.[3] 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.[3] 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.

Music career

Mario (2002–2003)

Mario began recording his debut album Mario. A year before releasing it in July 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.[3] During this period, he became a draw in the teen market.[3]

Turning Point (2004–2006)

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"[3] was successful, peaking at the number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for nine consecutive weeks. The single is written by Ne-Yo.[3] 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.[4]

Go (2007–2008)

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, Eric West, Lionell Davis, Scott Storch, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Timbaland, Bryan-Michael Cox, Zane' Lord, The Neptunes, Jim Jonsin, Akon, Dre & Vidal, Warryn "Baby Dubb" Campbell, Sean Garrett and Mr. Collipark.[5] Mario, who has described the album as "sex...more personal...more passionate", had more creative control on Go than on his previous two albums.[3] 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.[6] The single was later certificated Gold by the RIAA.[7] 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.[8]

D.N.A. (2009–2010)

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".[9] 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.[10][11][12] Mario said that he would like to work with no more than 4 producers for this album.[9] Mario has described this album as World music, an old school R&B influenced with a modern dance pop sound.[12] The album is being described as his “most personal, colossal album of his career.”

The album's lead single "Break Up" was released on April 28, 2009. The song features Sean "The Pen" Garrett and Gucci Mane.[13] 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 .[14] "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.

Restoration (2011–present)

Mario is currently[when?] 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."[15] Recently,[when?] Mario took CJ Hilton under his wing and asked the newcomer to write songs for his next album.[16] Mario did an Ustream with CJ Hilton and stated that a possible title for the album is Mario Barrett, which will show to people the real him, also he's going to have a meeting with the record label about the scheduling of his new album and play them ten records never heard before.[17][18] From the sounds of it, we'll[who?] be hearing more songs like "Green Light", "Starlight", and things of that nature on this new album. Mario wants to go with a more Euro-Pop/Electro/R&B sound this go-round, now whether it catches on with the general public has yet to be determined. "The new album right now, I'm just focused on the album", says Mario.[attribution needed] The Baltimore native explained that the genre's grooves were just too appealing not to flirt with on his upcoming project. "Stay tuned. I just came back from Europe — it's crazy out there," Mario said. "I just did a DJ/ house [music] tour in Europe; I did like 10 days. It was a huge thing, like 15,000-seat venue. 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 him — and the pair have high hopes to get something recorded between them soon. "For the ladies," he said[19] 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".[20] 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.[21][22]

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.[23] 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.[24] On December 19, 2011 Mariomusic channel on Youtube leaked a video with the mixtape name, Truth Be Told and some song snippets.[25]

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.[26][27]

Other ventures

Acting career

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.[3] Mario has stated that he would like to own his own film production company entitled "Inside Paris Productions" and become a director.[28] On 5 March 2009, Mario said on Twitter that he had made an ABC network testing for a new Pilot.[29] As result, he made an announcement to "The Electric Company" on PBS, with the "Soft G".[30] 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.[31] In an interview with Rap-Up he sentenced that he was no longer part of the Knightwritaz.[32]

The Mario Do Right Foundation

Mario's Do Right Foundation was established on March 2008 to educate and inspire kids who suffer from the drug addictions of their parents.[33] 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 years African American Heritage Festival in Baltimore.[34]


On 10 January 2009, Mario ventured to be the face of Pelle Pelle's European Spring/Summer 2009 campaign with various press shots for the campaign running throughout the next few months.[35]

Soul Truth Entertainment

In an interview with Rap-Up, Mario said that "Soul Truth Entertainment" was his new entertainment company.[32]


Mario is the new face of PETA in the campaign against killing animals entitled "Ink, Not Mink". He tells: "Be comfortable in your own skin, and let animals keep theirs".[36]

Dancing With the Stars

Mario competed in Season 6 of Dancing With the Stars, being partnered with Karina Smirnoff. They were eliminated in Week 8 of the competition.

Personal life

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.[37] 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".[38] The documentary, produced by Gigantic! Productions, won a 2008 Prism Award for its accurate portrayal of drug abuse.[39] 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.[40] The song is featured on his third album Go.

Mario has homes in Baltimore, Atlanta and Los Angeles.[3]


Studio Albums



2002Uncle PHimselfminor role
2003One on OneHimselfminor role
2006Step UpMiles Darbylead role
2007Freedom WritersAndre Bryantlead role
2009Destination FameWizzylead role


  1. ^ Southern, Nathan. "Mario – Overview". Allmovie. Retrieved 2012-07-11. 
  2. ^ "Artists Of The Decade Music Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-12-19. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Ollison, Rashod D. (2006-12-27). "A maturing Mario". The Baltimore Sun.,0,3126202.story?coll=bal-features-headlines. Retrieved 2006-12-27. 
  4. ^ Gail, Mitchell (2007-06-18). "R&B artist Mario gets personal on 3rd album". Reuters. 
  5. ^ Mario Music: Go | The Official Mario Site. Retrieved on 2012-04-15.
  6. ^ Rodriguez, Jayson. "Mario Gets Back To Making Music With Akon, Timbaland, Neptunes". Retrieved 2006-12-19. 
  7. ^ Rock On The Net Staff. "Rock On The Net:Mario". 
  8. ^ "Mario Interview". June 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  9. ^ a b "Mario Already Conceptualizing Next Album". 2007-12-14. Retrieved 2007-12-14. 
  10. ^ "Mario in Studio with Rodney Jerkins, Babyface, Polow da don, Red One, CJ, Malay, Jazze Pha". 
  11. ^ " no one on the corner has swagga like us » Blog Archive » Mario Eyes March Release For Fourth Album". Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  12. ^ a b Bella Vai (2008-11-07). "LIVESTEEZ – Exclusive Interview: Mario Bares It All". Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  13. ^ Bossip Staff (23 February 2009). "Exclusive* Studio News: Mario’s "And Then There Was Me". Bossip. Retrieved 7 March 2009. 
  14. ^ Mario to turn in D.N.A. October 13th. (2011-12-22). Retrieved on 2012-08-28.
  15. ^ Chryssa (2010-04-07). "Exclusive* Spin FM interviews Mario". Spin FM. Retrieved 9 April 2010. 
  16. ^ Al Shipley (2010-03-02). "Baltimore City Paper: CJ Hilton". Baltimore City Paper. Retrieved 18 April 2010. 
  17. ^ TwitLonger — When you talk too much for Twitter. Retrieved on 2012-08-28.
  18. ^ Twitter / Mario Barrett: RT @iamcjofficial: 10 new. (2010-05-06). Retrieved on 2012-04-15.
  19. ^ Mario Focused On New Album | News Video. MTV (2010-05-19). Retrieved on 2012-08-28.
  20. ^ "This album is for the world!!!!". 2010-05-08. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  21. ^ Twitter / Mario Barrett: @DJQUICKSILVA On my way to. (2010-05-08). Retrieved on 2012-04-15.
  22. ^ Twitter / Mario Barrett: Flyin to Miami this weekend to work wit @IamRicoLove... YOU READY PIMPIN?. (2010-05-06). Retrieved on 2012-04-15.
  23. ^ "Mario Talks Refocusing On Music & New Mixtape [Pg. 3 VIBE"]. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  24. ^ Rap-Up TV: Mario Reveals Details on New Single, Album. (2011-08-27). Retrieved on 2012-04-15.
  25. ^ "Mario Boston Day 2 " Truth Be Told " Song snippets". 
  26. ^ Christman, Ed. (2011-08-23) RCA's New Executive Team Named Under CEO Peter Edge Amid Layoffs (Update). Retrieved on 2012-04-15.
  27. ^ Radio Industry News, Music Industry Updates, Arbitron Ratings, Music News and more!. FMQB. Retrieved on 2012-04-15.
  28. ^ Adler, Shawn (2006-12-19). "Mario Sheds A Tear For 'Freedom,' Says He Wants To Direct". Retrieved 2006-12-19. 
  29. ^ Barrett, Mario (2009-03-05). "Mario ABC network testing for a new Pilot". twitter. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  30. ^ "THE ELECTRIC COMPANY: Mario Barrett's "Soft G"". Youtube. 2009-03-13. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  31. ^ Concepcion, Mariel (2007-04-19). "Mario Teams With Akon, Timbaland on New Set". Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  32. ^ a b Georgette Cline. "10 Questions for Mario". Retrieved 2 July 2009. 
  33. ^ The Tyra Banks Show (25 January 2008). "R&B Singer Mario’s Foundation for Children of Addicts". Retrieved 30 March 2009. 
  34. ^ Mario Barrett (29 May 2010). "I'M EXHAUSTED FB Friends". Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  35. ^ Pelle Pelle featuring Mario. Retrieved on 2012-08-28.
  36. ^ Lauren Walker (2009-05-27). "Mario: A New Point of View". Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  37. ^ R&B Star Mario Tackles His Mothers Drug Addition On TV Special. (2007-10-16). Retrieved on 2012-08-28.
  38. ^ [1][dead link]
  39. ^ SAMHSA holds PRISM Awards and Voice Awards. Retrieved on 2012-08-28.
  40. ^ "Mario Ready to 'Go'". Spotlight on RnB. 2007-04-22. Retrieved 14 March 2009. 

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Cameron Mathison & Edyta Sliwinska
Dancing with the Stars (US) quarter-finalist
Season 6 (Spring 2008 with Karina Smirnoff)
Succeeded by
Maurice Greene & Cheryl Burke