Mario has a dilemma on his hands, one that plenty of artists before him have spent months pondering over. He must whittle down a multitude of tracks and select the gems that will make up the tracklisting of his fourth effort, And Then There Was Me. But the Maryland native isn’t breaking a sweat over it. He’s already chosen his first single, “Break Up” featuring Gucci Mane and Sean Garrett, a tune that has caused critics to raise their eyebrows for its unconventional beat and devoted fans to embrace the R&B singer’s return.
Besides standing behind the mic, Mario’s kept himself busy riding dirty in the Gumball 3000, making an appearance on BET’s new prank show, “Played by Fame,” and shooting hoops with his father and younger brother. Fresh off the basketball court, Mario sits in the hot seat to reveal why he no longer likes older women, the hip-hop record that lingers in his head, and one celebeauty he’d like to rendezvous with overseas.
1. What’s the worst way someone has broken up with you?
Being that I’ve only been in one serious relationship, one of the many times that we broke up was not picking up the phone, not answering phone calls, not answering emails, no hint that we were about to break-up—just finding out when we got back together.
2. What have you been doing lately under the production team Knightwritaz?
I’m no longer a part of that. Soul Truth Entertainment is my entertainment company that I am branding as of right now. I’m trying to find artists that I can build a creative relationship with and create a long-term career with.
3. What was a memorable moment you had being a celebrity driver for Team PUMA at the Gumball 3000?
Probably going 165 [mph] and dodging two cars that didn’t put their blinkers on [to go] into my lane. I think I was leaving from Houston going to Orlando. Once I got to the next stop, the drivers were like, “You’re a singer, we didn’t know you could drive,” not knowing that I have a couple fast cars [Maserati GranTurismo S and BMW M5] of my own and I take them hard on the road.
4. If you could take one celebrity on a date, who would it be and where would you go?
Jessica Alba. I would take Jessica to Australia or Rome. Australia is one of my favorite countries. I would take her to Rome because it’s beautiful. She’s an actress so I’m assuming that she’s seen some great places and experienced some wonderful people, so I want to take her somewhere where I can show her I’ve traveled the world too, baby.
5. What’s one hip-hop song you can’t get out of your head?
[Sings Naughty by Nature’s “Hip-Hop Hooray”] That’s my shit right there.
6. You recently played a prank on a fan on BET’s “Played by Fame.” What’s the best prank someone has played on you?
The biggest one is when I got Punk’d on MTV. I always said they would never get me. When they got me on “Punk’d,” my pride was gone. The old lady who said I touched her breast and tried to get me locked up at the hotel, that was a moment. From that point on, I stopped saying I liked older women because I had a bad experience.
7. What word do you catch yourself saying too much?
I do say shenanigans all the time. Say I’m on the phone with a girl and she’s calling me and stressing me out or I’m calling her and she’s not picking up the phone, I’ll be like, “Stop with all these shenanigans.” Shenanigans is like games, bullcrap.
8. Who was the last person you sent a gift to and why?
My grandfather. I sent him some cards when he was in the hospital. And to my little brother, it was his birthday. He’s seven and he wanted the Wii.
9. What do you dislike the most about living in your hometown of Maryland?
The weather. I travel to the West Coast a lot and it’s sunny, women walk around in their bathing suits. But then when I come back home, I never know what it’s gonna be. It might be raining, it might be cloudy.
10. If you were able to turn off your phone and not answer any emails, what would you spend the day doing?
Fishing, basketball, gun range, the movies. I would spend the day doing things I don’t usually do. Taking a jog on a nice day or going to kick it with some old friends or going to the art gallery.
Listen to Mario’s new single, “Break Up” featuring Gucci Mane and Sean Garrett, produced by Bangladesh.