Spotlight – Mario

Meet Mario Barrett, otherwise known as Mario, an American r&b singer, songwriter, producer, actor, model and philanthropist. Mario gained international exposure for his hit “Just Friends“, and for his appearance in the movie “Freedom Writers“.

Mario was born on August 27, 1986 Maryland. He grew up with his grandmother while his mother dealt with her problems. Mario joined a high school musical, and learned to play the piano, which became the basis of all his songs.

Mario signed a record deal at the age of fourteen to Clive Davis‘ J Records. He released his debut single “Just Friends 2002“, which was a remake of Biz Markie’s hit. “Just Friends 2002” peaked at number four on the charts. Mario released his self titled debut album in July 2002, which debut in the top ten on the Billboard album charts. He later released his follow up singles “Braid My Hair“, and “C’mon“, and was an opening act on the Scream Tour 3, alongside Bow Wow, Nick Cannon, B2K, and Marque Houston.

For his sophomore album, Mario wanted to have more mature music. He released “Turning Point” in December 2004, and became even more successful than his first. The album sales were due in partly to its leading hit single “Let Me Love You“. “Let Me Love You”, which was written by Ne-Yo, stayed at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for nine weeks.

Mario made his acting debut in 2006, appearing in the film “Step Up“, starring alongside Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan. He later appeared in “Freedom Writers”, starring opposite Academy Award winner Hilary Swank. Mario did not take acting lessons before starring in the movie. He was apart of a production team called Knightwritaz, which also includes Sterling Simms, Warren Felder, and Marsha from Floetry. The team has written and produced songs for Mario’s “Go!” album, as well as for other artists including Jennifer Lopez, Usher, and Chris Brown.

Mario dedicated his third album “Go!” to his mother. the album was released in December 2007, and included collaborations with Ne-Yo, Scott Storch, Timbaland, Bryan Michael Cox, Akon, and Sean Garrett. The album was more personal and passionate, as described by Mario. In 2008, Mario established the “Do Right” foundation, to educate and inspire kids suffering from drug addictions of their parents. In January 2009, he ventured into modelling, becoming the face of Pelle Pelle’s European Spring/Summer 2009 campaign. Mario released his fourth album “D.N.A” in October 2009. The album’s lead single “Break Up“, which featured the producer Sean Garrett, and Gucci Mane, peaked at number two on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Chart. He also competed in season 6 of Dancing With The Stars, being partnered with Karina Smirnoff.

Mario is currently busy working on his fifth studio album, which he describes as “not your typical R&B style, but more like club songs”. Mario is a very talented singer; he puts passion and soul into his music, and that’s why he is one of my favorite r&b singers to date. Check out my favorite songs below:


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