Mario Marks His Return As A "Reformed" Artist
Don't call it a comeback
Photo courtesy of Mario
Chances are that you only know Mario Barrett by his first name. During the early aughts, Mario was an R&B sensation with classic hits that constantly played on the radio like "Let Me Love You" and "Just A Friend 2002." (They were all the rage at my middle school dances.) Come 2006, he casually crossed over into the field of acting and stole everyone's hearts on the screen with films like Step Up and Freedom Writers. During that period, he established the Do Right Foundation to educate and inspire children who suffered from parents with drug addictions.
But around 2009, Mario sort of faded into the background. Rather than be at the forefront of the field, he learned how to produce and write for other artists. A few months ago, Mario released "I Need More"—his first single in seven years—on his newly launched record label New Citizen LLC. With both hands on the wheel, he's the one in control of navigating the independent route.
Now, at the age of 30, Mario is reintroducing himself to the world and he wants everyone to be a part of it. In addition to releasing a new album and co-directing his own music videos, Mario also has a book on the way tentatively titled "New Citizen."
"I feel like when you tune into that part of yourself, that true artistry, you know, you create from a different place. I think being in the game for 12 plus years, I have developed a knack and a vision for what I want to be from this point on as an artist. You know, where I’ve grown from when I first started to now," he says.
Learn more about Mario's path of self-discovery in the interview, below.
Mario: Yeah. So ‘I Need More' is about perspective and coming from a male artist who is in this transitional place. I go out here and there and I have these experiences where it’s like, I’m living the life that probably a lot of young men at any moment would want to live. Whether it’s clubbing and being around a lot of beautiful women and bottles and the cars and this and that. But, when you’re in it and you step back from it while you’re in it, you’re like, 'Wow, this is enough.' This isn’t the end all be all of success, we need more and I need more than just this. I’m loving it, I’m having a good time but I need more than just the bottles. So that’s what the concept of the song is. The video, I took it a little deeper and a little more cynical... I don’t know if that’s the right word, but whatever. It’s more about freedom, and fighting, and believing in yourself, and fighting for your freedom. It’s a performance/cinematic storyline about freedom and people sometimes feeling trapped within their environment or feeling trapped within their own perceptions, and about fighting for what you believe in.