R&B singer Mario caught up with Billboard ahead of his latest single, “Used to Me,” featuring Ty Dolla $ign, now available across streaming platforms. The chart-topping vocalist and songwriter delved into the early years of his musical career, signing his first deal with Clive Davis’ J Recordings at 15, touring with Destiny’s Child, his musical process, and even serenaded the Billboard staff with an a capella rendition of his hit single “Let Me Love You.”
On signing his first deal, Mario shares, “It happened pretty fast. I got adopted when I was 13 and moved from Baltimore to Jersey. That span of two years happened really quick. It prepared me for this industry and the fast pace of it.”
Not long after, the budding singer joined his first world tour alongside it-girls Destiny’s Child. “I was talking to Beyonce at Steve Stoute’s party and I said thank you for taking me on my first major tour,” he added, calling the experience “amazing.”
Twenty-one years following his breakout single “Just a Friend,” Mario is continuing to share R&B gems, including his latest single, the Ty Dolla $ign-assisted “Used to Me.” The pair have been hard at work in the studio with super-producer D’Mile, eventually leading them to creating the smooth track, which earned “27 fire emojis” from the feature favorite himself.
“Me and Ty known each other for years,” Mario says. “We were just waiting for the right time [to create] something that feels classic and can live forever.”
Mario also touched on Kendrick Lamar’s Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, one of the albums he’s listened to and resonated with in the last year. “I relate to Kendrick in general as an artist, his process and how he delivers the music,” he says. “I relate to the whole album because growing up I saw a lot of toxic relationships between men and women. I understand the duality of light and dark when it comes to love.”
The singer continues to have his finger on the pulse of R&B, naming artists such as SZA and Lucky Daye as acts he’d love to work with, and teasing new music with Sabrina Claudio. “We have a little surprise we’re about to spring on y’all,” he says.
Check out Mario’s interview with Billboard above.