MARIO's back and Dancing Shadows

R&B singer Mario is back and better than ever!

The GRAMMY Award-nominated, multiplatinum-selling singer, songwriter, producer, and actor just released his highly-anticipated fifth studio album, Dancing Shadows on October 5th.

He’s also heating up the screens as Devon, the sexy new addition to FOX’S EMPIRE. See what the singer has to say about his new music and his plans for the year ahead.

 PHOTOGRAPHY:  IRVIN RIVERA

PHOTOGRAPHY: IRVIN RIVERA


Tell us the story behind your new album Dancing Shadows. What took you so long? 

The inspiration behind my album Dancing Shadows was my musical influences and my journey growing up in the music business and my personal life as far as the content. This is my first time actually writing and expressing my creativity on a high level. 


What’s your favorite track from the new album and why?

My favorite song off the album changes day by day but today it’s going to be “I believe”. I’m choosing that song because I’ve been listening to Stevie Wonder all day while on-set and he and Michael Jackson are huge influences of that particular song. 


Let’s talk about your new single Drowning. What is it about?

Drowning is about the consequences of making a choice to be intimate with another woman after just breaking up with my ex-girlfriend. I wasn’t yet over my attraction and love for my ex and while having sex with the new interest, I kept thinking about her.

How would you describe your musical style? 

I would describe my music style as cosmic soul. I can take on any form of creativity when it comes to music but it always comes from a soulful place whether dark or light in which the universe and embodies both. 

Who are your music idols?

My music idols are Michael Jackson, James Brown, Prince, Freddie Mercury, Jimi Hendrix, Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men, Queen and melodically James Blake.

 

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by the unseen world around me and people who find new ways to express themselves. It’s inspiring to see growth in others. And I like to inspire others to grow as well.

Walk us through your process as an artist. How do you make music?

The process of making music starts with tuning into whatever energy I am hosting at the moment and how to take that energy and bring it into a musical existence. The next phase of the process is to extract emotions and feelings out of the people that I’m working with to add to this alchemical creation.

Let’s talk about your role in the TV Series Empire. Tell us more about your recurring character DeVon in the new season of Empire. What is he about and what can we expect from him? 

Working on empire has been great so far. It’s preparing me to take a leap back into the acting arena. DeVon is a young kid from the inner-city who’s working really hard to take care of his sick sister. One cookie hears his voice on Instagram video, she’s really intrigued. At this point in time the Lyons are making a comeback and then eat raw talent, DeVon fits that perfectly. He’s faced with a tough decision of deciding to go with Deciding to go with the conglomerate Empire or the new Lyons management. I’m looking forward to DeVon’s development on the show and my fans have been very excited and showing their love and support as well.

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If you can have a conversation with your younger self, what would the present Mario tell the younger Mario? 

If I could talk to the younger Mario, I would tell him to have more fun, take more risks and trust his instincts.

 

What’s the top 3 music in your playlist right now?

The top three music is James Blake, Quavo and Anderson Paak “Tints”.

 

If you are a book, what book are you and why?

If I were a book, I’d be the dictionary because there is no limit to where I’m willing to go to learn and express myself as a human being. 


What else can we expect from you this year?

This year I plan on doing more movies, TV shows and touring heavily. I find that traveling for leisure also creates the inspiration for writing songs and other creative expressions, so that on my list as well. 

Is there any charity that is close to your heart? Which one is it?

I would like to work with charities focusing on mental health and substance abuse prevention. Me and my management are in talks with a few. I feel like more now than ever people need to understand their true parents live in healing and expressing their truth. I think there’s a creative being in all of us and when it suppressed our soul suffers. Everyone’s afraid to be judged which sometimes leads to people feeling excluded or alone in their own perception. Would love to create spaces where people can be whoever they are and not be judged as long as they aren’t hurting other people.

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Catch Mario as the new heartthrob, DeVon in Season 5 of Empire!