Some of you may remember Mario from his 2004 hit single “Let Me Love You,” a time when the true R&B sound was vibrant and well alive. The song garnered Mario a Grammy nomination, ranked on Billboard‘s All-Time Top 100 Hot 100 Singles list, and for many, is considered his all-time most notable hit song.

So what has the R&B vocalist been up to recently? Of course, he hasn’t left the music scene since “Let Me Love You,” releasing projects such as Go, D.N.A., and various singles accompanied with partnering visuals. However not too long ago, Mario left RCA Records to pursue an independent music career, filled with obstacles and rewards — many of which he has decided to talk to us about in this new series.

Tell us more about the creative process behind your “I Need More” music video

I just wanted to create a production, something that I haven’t done in a while. Something that people wouldn’t expect. When you hear the record you probably think the video would be like me in the club with some bad chicks and some bottles. You know Ciroc or something. But nah, it’s a production, I wanted to create something that had a deeper meaning. I feel like we all fight for something, whether it’s creative control, whether it’s love, whether it’s for freedom. Whatever it is. I wanted the overall mood of the video to be togetherness, fighting for what you believe in type of vibe. I have some really cool shots in there. Some really talented dancers in there, who dance with some of the biggest artists out there. It was an overall great team.

You’re now in the independent realm after leaving RCA Records. How has it been being independent?

I think the biggest thing it’s been is just managing the work load and really trying to keep doing it at a certain level where my fans don’t feel like I’m giving them some left field, cheap (material) thrown together. I want to give them a proper rollout, a proper visual; we have a dope social media campaign going on. I want to pace them and let them know to look forward to content along with music, not just the music but actual videos. So when the project comes out and I can go on the road and perform. I want to put an album out at the top of next year.

How have you adapted your music process for the fusion of other genres into R&B? Is it hard to figure out what lane you want to take?

I’m definitely in the perception of not being comfortable, I like not being comfortable. If anything I’m more excited about trying and merging and doing different types of music. Approaching it from a non-traditional standpoint of R&B because of the plethora of all different types of music. I’m just excited overall about introducing new music to the fans. I know what they want to hear in terms of me being a vocalist, but I want to merge that with creative concepts and unique sonic approach to the music that you wouldn’t expect from a Mario record.

What’s one of the hardest things that you’ve been dealing with as an independent artist?

One of the hardest things that I deal with now being independent is responsibility. I’m very hands on with business, so when it comes to making sure the money is going where it needs to go, everyone’s paid on time, just everything. Literally everything. I’m on my phone 24 hours a day, I sleep with my phone next to me most of the time, which is not really healthy. I’m just in a more business mindset, and probably the hardest is balancing the logical and creativity mind because there is literally a balance, that’s probably the hardest part. Just keeping the bar high, just making sure everyone that I work with is great at what they do and passionate about it and believes as much as I do. Some people come from working in major systems, where we can get the same things done but it’ll be harder and more work. However, some people are ready for that task and some can’t handle it. It’s finding those people who are willing to work hard enough and are passionate about it to take that journey with you.

Watch our interview with Mario below:

Ever wondered what happened to some of your favorite celebrities? Did they retire? Are they pursuing new careers or are they living normal lives like everyone else? Let us know who you would like us to find and speak with to see what they are currently up to.