Growing Pains

Mario, Growing Pains

With that being said Mario is a throwback to days of yore. After getting signed by the legendary Clive Davis, releasing a debut album a year later with a top 10 hit, a remake of Biz Markie’s classic ‘Just A Friend’ only to follow that with a string of sold out tour dates and a sophomore flop that did the exact opposite, scoring his best album sales to date and a #1 hit with the smash ‘Let Me Love You’ you’d expect Mario to take some time off, and after accomplishing all this and more at the tender age of 18, it was time for him to kick his feet up for a few. However during his brief hiatus a new era of artists emerged. Remember, turn around is quick in this day and age, and those who were on the cusp before, the Ne-Yo’s and Chris Brown’s of the world, are now full fledged pop stars in their own right. Is Mario worried? Not in the least bit. Competition is welcome and he isn’t so much the underdog as he is the veteran.

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When asked about his two-year break between Turning Point and his new album tentatively titled Go! Mario coolly replies “I’ve just been working on a few projects and expanding my horizons”. That much is evident. With the release of the feature film Freedom Writers, where Mario starred alongside Academy Award Winner Hilary Swank, he took a significant step towards becoming a more relevant player in Hollywood. “My first role was in the film “Step Up”. It was a film with a heavy dance and performance theme so it wasn’t much of a stretch for me. With “Freedom Writers” it was a whole different feel because I had to stretch who I was and the film is based on a true story so you got to be careful to remain true to your character. The approach you take to acting is way different than what you would do in music. Luckily I had the opportunity to work with the people that I did on a project like this. Watching Hilary do what she does is amazing. There is so much I learned from this film, but there is still a lot I have to grasp. I’m anxious to do my next film.” Mario even said he’d eventually like to start his own production company and even direct in the future.

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Mario’s interests expand beyond the medium of entertainment however. Doing charity work in his hometown of Baltimore, MD. Mario says, “The thing about charity is if they can’t touch it… they can’t feel it.” Coming up in B’more, Mario understands that people need something to believe in and he tries to keep whatever charity work he does as hands-on as possible. “I always make it a point to give back”.

My mentality when it comes to music, to anything in life really, is to get up and go. Go get it.

His next high profile project though is Go!. The album was formerly titled Mario Barret – Effortless, but he decided to change the album name to more reflect his philosophy. “My mentality when it comes to music, to anything in life really is to get up and go. Go get it. Anything is possible with hard work and determination” This new album mirrors Mario’s own growth as an artist and as a person. From Mario to Turning Point there was a noticeable evolution. What does Go! portend to bring us? Collaborations from the likes of heavyweight staple Jermaine Dupri to perennial hit maker Scott Storch. Also expect to see Alicia Keys, Nelly, Sean Paul, The Neptunes and Tyrese on the album which Mario claims is a more passionate and more personal body of work.

In an era where stars are born and fade out within a matter of weeks it’s easy to consider Mario a veteran. Already an accomplished singer and a budding talent on the silver screen, his track record speaks for itself. One thing can be said for stars that rise quickly, they tend to fall just as fast and while we’ve all watched Mario grow in front of our eyes his fans grew with him.

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