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Where has R&B singer Mario been? On a recent visit to Dallas for a show benefiting our troops and veterans, the 29-year-old stopped by 97.9 The Beat. Digital Correspondent Bobby Pen interviews him about his hiatus and upcoming projects to learn just how deep Mario actually is.

In the on-on-one, Mario reveals that he’s been on a spiritual journey which actually began when he was adopted at 13. Growing up in a Muslim family and singing in church laid the foundation for him to comment on a deeper level with God.

The crooner says due to this connection he’s able to manifest God through his artistry. Which led him to acknowledge his reverence for Stevie Wonder– an a cappella serenade accompanied the revelation, which made Bobby blush.

Mario also shares that he is now an independent artist and has established his own record label. His latest single, “I Need More” is his first indie effort after a 13 year run with RCA / J Records and he’s excited to be the boss.

This newfound freedom has encouraged the artist to explore other passions, including film. He shares that he intends to move into directing and more acting, beginning with the music video for “I Need More,” set to release soon.

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In light of recent events, like the Freddie Gray case and the complex incident that left 23-year-old mother Korryn Gaines dead, Bobby asked Mario about his thoughts on community relations with the Baltimore Police. In short, Mario suggests African Americans learn and understand the system and prepare to create their own solutions within their own communities.

Finally, Mario recalls his experience touring with Bow Wow, B2K and Destiny’s Child!

Check out our fun one-on-one and a special serenade above. For an added bonus, check out Mario in-studio with J-Kruz below.