GRAMMY-nominated R&B artist Mario recently visited The Recording Academy's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., to participate in an exclusive GRAMMY.com interview. Mario discussed the common themes in his music, collaborating with GRAMMY-nominated rapper Nicki Minaj on his latest single, "Somebody Else," and his upcoming album, Evolve, among other topics.
"We took something old-school and we made it feel new," said Mario regarding "Somebody Else," which was produced by GRAMMY nominee Polow Da Don (Ne-Yo, Rihanna). "I fell in love with ['Somebody Else.'] … We wanted to have the female rebuttal on the record … and Nicki Minaj was my first pick, hands down."
Born and raised in Baltimore, Mario was discovered at a local talent show at age 11 by producer Troy Patterson. At age 14 he signed with Clive Davis' J Records and made his debut on the 2001 Dr. Dolittle 2 soundtrack with "Tameeka," featuring GRAMMY-nominated rapper Fabolous. At age 15 Mario released his self-titled debut album, peaking at No. 9 on the Billboard 200. His platinum-selling sophomore effort, 2004's Turning Point, peaked at No. 13. The album and the No. 1 hit "Let Me Love You" garnered Mario his first two GRAMMY nominations for Best Contemporary R&B Album and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, respectively. He followed with 2007's Go and 2009's D.N.A., the latter of which cracked the Top 10.
Mario's fifth album, Evolve, is scheduled for release in October. The album will include the hit "Somebody Else," featuring Minaj, and a collaboration with GRAMMY-nominated rapper J. Cole, among others.