Mario Barrett, 27 August 1986, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. This teenage R&B sensation rose to prominence in 2002. Mario decided at an early age that he wanted to pursue a career in entertainment, as he began utilizing a karaoke machine and tinkering on his mothers piano. Soon he began emulating renowned artists such as Usher and Stevie Wonder, and performed at numerous school talent shows and singing competitions. After moving to Northern New Jersey, Mario signed a recording contract with J Records, resulting in the release of a self-titled debut in July 2002, when he was still only 15 years old. The album spawned a popular video/single, Just A Friend 2002, which paid tribute to an earlier, similarly titled track from Biz Markie back in 1989 (Markie even made a cameo in the songs video). Mario featured input by some of the top urban producers of the early twenty-first century, including Warryn Campbell, Harvey Mason, and Gerald Isaac, plus a couple of guest vocal spots by Alicia Keys.
Mario maintained his commercial momentum in 2004 when the single Let Me Love You (co-written by Ne-Yo) climbed into the US Top 5 at the end of the year. The singers second album, Turning Point, was released in December, shortly before Let Me Love You reached the number 1 slot.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.