Born Mario Dewar Barrett, Mario began projecting his innate artistry after being discovered by his first manager at the age of 11. Three years later, the Baltimore native—who grew up singing in church—signed a recording contract with music legend Clive Davis’ J Records. Mario’s eponymous debut studio album rolled out in 2002 featuring his first top five R&B/pop hit “Just a Friend 2002,” a revamped cover of Biz Markie’s 1989 top 10 pop single.
Two years later, Mario revisited the upper echelons of the Billboard charts with his sophomore set Turning Point. The platinum album spun off the melodic double-platinum Hot 100 chart-topper “Let Me Love You” (nine consecutive weeks), penned by Ne-Yo. Rounding out Mario’s album catalog are 2007’s Go, featuring the gold-certified single “Crying Out for Me,” and 2009’s D.N.A. That set’s lead single “Break Up,” with guests Sean Garrett and Gucci Mane, also went gold and peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart/No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100.