Singersroom recently caught up with Mario while he was in town supporting friend Ne-Yo's Compound Foundation second annual "Fostering a Legacy Benefit" in East Hampton, NY. During our quick chat, the R&B crooner, who released his last album, D.N.A., in 2009, opened up about his upcoming fifth studio effort, creating a new sound, his collaboration list, and more.
Singersroom: What should your fans expect from this album?
Mario: I think more than anything, great music. We all want to make great music that fits with the culture and where music is going; forward thinking and progressive too. You gonna get a bit of progressiveness and classic Mario that my fans love as well. The single is called “Fatal Distraction”, which is an alternative R&B record and a new sound for me in terms of the approach I took to the record.
Singersroom: Does it feel weird taking time off and coming back and establishing your place?
Mario: No, It doesn’t feel weird, it doesn’t feel weird at all! I understand where music is at right now. I feel like more than anything, I’m just doing what I love to do. There is a disconnect with what the new R&B is, and it’s been missing. There is a lot of mixtures, and different textures of music right now and I feel like it is perfect for someone like myself, I’m so versatile with what I can do musically. I feel like it’s the perfect time for me to come out right now.
Singersroom: Besides Nicki Minaj, who else did you work with on this project?
Mario: I’m still putting it together. I would love to get Kendrick on the album. As far as R&B, I want to work with Ne-Yo again on a record. We are actually working on writing a record together. Janelle Monae, I’m a huge fan of hers. I saw her at the ESPYS; I actually got there late and as I was coming in, she was on stage, and we made eye contact. It was a moment of respect for her art. She is definitely someone I would want to work with.
Singersroom: When you think about R&B and where it is, what experiences are you bringing to the table to help you create the new sound of R&B?
Mario: Everything! From my personal life to my family and understanding where I come from in music and where I think music is going. You know just everyday life. The skill is trying to translate all of those things into music and records, and that is something I am trying to do.
Singersroom: Do you plan to tour with this record?
Mario: I start touring in September overseas. In October, I will be in the states.
Mario's fifth studio album, Evolve, is slated for release in October.