Mario Jose’s debut EP “Heart of Gold” is a six-song collection that showcases the rising pop singer’s best talents. ETV spoke with Mario about his musical inspirations, the Kickstarter campaign behind the making of his EP, and his plans for the future. Check out the EP here:
Mario’s journey as a singer comes at a very young age, picking up inspiration from his idols that include Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Donny Hathaway and Mariah Carey. However, his first and most important influence in shaping up who he is today was his mom.
“My mom is a singer herself, so she was my first musical inspiration,” Mario said. “If you ask my mom, she said I was singing in the womb. As long as I can remember, I was interested in singing. The first recording of me singing was at 2.5 years old into my parents Dictaphone and I haven’t shut up since.”
Mario would go on to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston and was a part of the award-winning a cappella group Pitch Slapped. He moved to Los Angeles after graduating to pursue a career in music.
Mario’s latest EP “Heart of Gold” EP is the result of a crowdfunding effort to help pay the costs of producing the record. Mario and his manager Ryan Aceto (AMMO Management) both knew they needed to raise money through a grassroots effort because they were completely independent without a label. They ultimately decided on the website Kickstarter, a website that helps a creator raise funds to complete whatever project they are trying to bring to reality.
“Ryan did tons of research about all of the different sites we could use and we thought Kickstarter was the right fit for us, which in the end was absolutely the case!” Mario said. “I was very surprised to see that we reached our goal nine days early. With that extra time, we could keep pushing the limits of what we could do! I was also super surprised to see friends that I haven’t seen in AGES coming through and contributing to the project.”
Mario describes the EP as primarily pop, with several genres and influences coming through in each song. He said when he was writing the EP, he wanted to collaborate with some of his favorite artists to talk about real life experiences that affect many people daily, such as unrequited love, bullying, and trying to fit in and finding your own voice. These were important topics for Mario to discuss and would help his audience relate to his music. Ultimately, when his first solo project was finally released, it was a goal Mario had been dreaming of for a very long time.
“I was so excited for this EP for many reasons, but mainly because it was my first solo project I had ever released,” Mario said. “I think my favorite part was seeing so many people come together to help me make my dream come true. I will always say ‘we’ when talking about ‘Heart of Gold’ because it was a labor of love of so many people.”
Mario’s excited about the release of his EP, but that’s only the beginning of his ongoing journey. He recently released his newest cover single of Charlie Puth’s “Attention” featuring singer-songwriter Madilyn Bailey and video editor Kurt Hugo Schneider. Check out the video here:
When it comes to touring, Mario has shared the stage and studio with music icons including Pentatonix (opening for them on tour), Prince, Justin Bieber, Meghan Trainor (New Orleans Jazz Fest 2017), John Legend (NBC’s Duets), Michael McDonald, Philip Bailey (of Earth, Wind & Fire), John Elefante (of Kansas), Jim Peterick (of Survivor), Bill Champlin (of Chicago), Paula Cole, Lalah Hathaway, Ben E. King, Post Modern Jukebox and many more.
This year, Mario performed original music on tour for the first time on the Heart Hope & Love Tour with Travis Atreo and the Filharmonic, and they will be performing at the Brick & Mortar in San Francisco on July 13. Get your tickets here!
“We sold out the L.A. show and now I’m excited to travel to San Francisco, Chicago and tons of other cities performing songs from ‘Heart of Gold’!” Mario said. “In between tour dates, I’ll be back in the studio writing and recording for the next project! Can’t wait!”