Mario: Grown Man Talk
After earning kudos for his portrayal of Andre in the Richard LaGravenese directed movie, Freedom Writers, the next love is to appear in more films. In addition to that, on October 21st on MTV [at 10pm EST] there will be a documentary in which the Mario shall speak, in detail, about the precursor to his dreams his mother. But right now, in J Records posh surroundings overlooking a grand view of Central Park, Mario sits down with HipHopDX and talks about his new project called Go, shares his appreciation for his fans and reveals a deeper side about his mother.
HipHopDX: You got some nice reviews for your role in Freedom Writers, are you going to do anymore films?
Mario: Currently, it is in the works. I just read for about six, seven different films. Im just trying to work my way around Hollywood. I want to let them know how serious I am about it. They need a new, young black male lead to be in the spotlight and do his thing. Id do any role that would touch the world, not just the U.S. I would like to do a movie along the lines of Transformers.
DX: If you had to describe your experience in the music industry in one word what would it be and why?
M: Oh, snap! Hmm, one word? Eclectic. I cant really find a word that describes the feelings that I feel as a person, as an artist, as a creator, as a singer and as a human being. When I travel, how it feels to be outside of the country, I notice the connection between myself and the people. The fans how they connect to the music here and abroad its just I dont know, its like a cotton ball with all of these strings coming through it. Even though, theres a lot that goes into it, but its a beautiful experience for a person like myself.
DX: On this latest album, you say that this is more personal and more revealing. What was it that allowed you to open up more for your fans?
M: I think what caused a lot of it was me wanting to come outside of my shell. I never had that many friends, so my albums were a way of allowing my fans to know about me and for me to talk to them about the issues of a young man. From being in relationships to being out of relationships, everybody needs somebody to confide in and I want to also show them what type of person I am. I want people to know how I am when it comes to family. The song "Do Right" is definitely one that describes how it was for me growing up in Baltimore, having a mother who was a heroin addict, being a support system for her and her being one for me. I had friends who were in the drug game, but that just wasnt my choice. I chose to do what I do with music, whereas they chose to make their decisions. This album kind of touches on a lot of different things; even during recording, I was going through a lot of different things that sometimes would mess with my creativity. I eventually got out of that and I got on point. Thats why the pictures that you see [points to album layout on the table] are so focused, theyre so personal and passionate thats how I felt when I was doing the album.
DX: You have a documentary thats going to air this weekend and in it you talk candidly about your mother. For those who arent abreast of the situation, would you mind talking about it just a little bit? M: Very hard but doable. At the end of the day, the bond between a mother and any child is unbreakable. Its something that you cant really describe. When my mother and I were younger, we had a great relationship. She was the person to help me discover my talent at a very young age. Even at that time, I was doing everything that I had to do even if it meant giving her that tough love, you know? I was going to do that so that she could help get herself together. Through that, after she got well and got clean, she thanked me. I think that made our relationship even stronger in terms of understanding and trust. Its hard to trust someone whos an addict. I couldnt trust her at that point, but now, I can trust her with certain things and depend on her it made our relationship stronger.
DX: Music aside what are a few things that no one outside your circle would really know about Mario?
M: Wow thats a good question. I dont know if I want to tell you that. [Laughs] I box. Thats how I take out my frustrations. I can be very aggressive for no apparent reason, at times. I dont know if that makes me crazy, you know [Laughs] The "Crying Out For Me" video was a reflection of some things that could happen to someone whos in that type of relationship, though.
DX: My lady friends talk about how much youve changed since you first came out. What all have you been doing to get in shape?
M: Honestly, I always loved boxing, but my manager hes nice. He boxed for real. We actually are working on a gym right now in Atlanta. Its about to be the hottest thing crackin, because were going to franchise it all across America. Its called Sweat City and when I started, I really didnt like running on the treadmill, I wasnt that good of a basketball player, Im aggressive and I have really good hand-eye coordination. So, boxing is what I chose as my sport
DX: Ever been forced to show out?
M: I try not to get to that point. Nowadays cats are going to jail left and right, cats are catching cases left and right and I dont need that in my life.
DX: At the end of the Crying Out For Me video, the jealous boyfriend gets into a car accident and it says, to be continued. Whats next up with it?
M: Thats Malcolm Jones doing [laughs]. He wants to direct the next video [laughs] so he put that in there. Any to be continued video that you see, when you see it, you automatically think about what could happen next. So, it just adds that extra catalyst to what that video is. There may be a continuation, because at the beginning of the video, you hear "Music For Love" which is one of my favorite songs on the record. Its an amazing, sensual you know when you listen to J. Holidays "Bed" record
M: You know how he wants to take you to bed You dont even have to go to the bed with this record. [Laughs] You just have to listen to it. Its incredible.
DX: How have your parents affected your views on parenthood, or changes in your life?
M: Hmm youre really asking great questions, Kev. [Laughs] My faith as a human being is at its full potential, right now. Not because of any religion or of any church or gospel, its because Ive seen what can happen when you have faith. My mothers getting better and her becoming clean is a testament of what true faith can do. She used for twenty-something years shes clean now. She has helped me with faith, by her experiences alone. I would want to have good communication skills with my children. I would want to know how they feel and how theyre doing at all times. I didnt have a father figure growing up, so I think that its important for a son and a daughter to have communication with their mother and their father. Its true and I believe that a woman cannot give her son or her daughter the things that a father provides. I think its important to have that relationship.
DX: What was your most memorable episode where a fan has taken her appreciation way too far?
M: There was this one fan and Ill never forget this she made a huge poster. It was a collage of pictures that showed my life and on each picture she had wrote a quote as to what the picture was, what time of my life it was. Interestingly enough, she had information on me from when I was a child. I mean [laughs] she did her research. So, I saw this when I was 19, 20 years-old and it was wild. [One of Marios people mentions, You should talk about the drivers license"]
M: Oh, shit! [Laughs] Yeah, youre right. I got my drivers license when I was 16 and I lost it, like, that same year or a year later. I speak at schools sometimes when Im in Baltimore, and this young girl came up to me one day saying, I have your license. I said, What? What you mean you got my license? She had found my license. She pulled it out, it was cracked up. I dont think I even lost it in Baltimore, I think it was out here [in New York] when I lost it. It was just interesting that she happened to have it. So, I signed it for her. For me, the poster was much more special I had signed a few of the pictures that she had wanted me to sign and Ive taken pictures with her before. I dont remember exactly what we talked about at the time, but Im pretty sure that we talked about what was going on in her life and I gave her advice, something that was solid.
DX: Now that youre 21 and hold a lot of titles how can you stay focused to continue to express your love of music?
M: Sometimes, other things become more of a priority than others, but for right now music is my focus, its my love, its my passion. Hopefully, itll not get to a point to where I have to create another career because my music is stalling. Ive worked harder than that and Im blessed to have this success.