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Born and raised in Baltimore, Mario has wanted to sing since he was 4 years old. He honed his gifts singing along with a karaoke machine and plunking out melodies on the piano his mother bought him. By the time he was in elementary school Mario was developing harmonies, constructing melodies and finding inspiration in a range of artists, including Stevie Wonder, Brian McKnight, Usher and Joe.
As a young teen, Mario was a regular contestant in talent shows. These frequent competitions helped greatly in turning his boyhood dreams and career aspirations into reality. He was discovered at the age of 11 in a local talent show.
Mario signed to 3rd Street/J Records and immediately began work on his infectious debut, one that showcased label mate Alicia Keys, who declared Mario's voice is "one of the most beautiful I've ever heard."
Mario contributed to the "Dr. Doolittle 2" soundtrack and gave a captivating performance of Stevie Wonder's "You and I" at Clive Davis' Grammy party in February 2002.
Mario's first single, "Just a Friend 2002," from his debut and self-titled album (released when he was just 15 years old), shot up the charts and the video featuring Biz Markie was a fixture on BET and MTV rotations. The positive attention and response from critics, fans and peers alike, was pleasantly surprising to Mario. All listeners were quick to praise his superlative singing and appeal.
"I didn't know people would accept it. God was on my side and I thank him every day for the blessing."
The newfound exposure lead to greater opportunities to showcase his talent to the world. Soon after his debut, Mario hit the road as the opening act for Bow Wow and followed by being part of the Scream 3 Tour, which also boasted B2K, Nick Cannon and Marques Houston.
"Being on tour taught me how to handle the stage on my own and now I'm ready to do it again. I'm excited."
In an industry that has seen its share of baby stats, Mario's dedication to his art and appreciation for his accomplishments is noteworthy. "I think the thing that I've really noticed is that I'm starting to understand what it really means to appreciate family, people, relationships, my fans and life. The success I had was so unexpected. I didn't really get a chance to think about it. I just did what I did and didn't say, 'Oh, I have a hit record.' I was just being myself."
Mario's future is bright, as is his outlook.
Hit songs include --
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