Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Mar 11th 2010 5:32PM by Whitney Teal
How would you describe your sound?
For sure, a lot of my songs are pretty lyric-driven. The words are really important and the music is kind of following the lyric line. I certainly identify with old-school folk music. Through British, Scottish and Irish and the way it's very narrative and lyrically dense. For me, a great song is a great song, so I'm interested in great songs. I'm not the kind of person into banjos and I'm not into synthesizers or whatever. You can dress up a song in lots of different clothing like genre and production styles and if it's strong and if there's an emotional content to it, I love all that stuff. I'm into a lot of '80s music as well as folk music.
How did you start writing and recording music?
I picked up the guitar because I was interested in writing and interested in poetry and saying something, and being able to sing it was one way to have people listen to it. So, when I first got going there were a lot of pretty inspiring female songwriters at the time. Tori Amos, Ani DiFranco and Dar Williams and the whole Lilith Fair thing was when I was a young woman. That was inspiring at that time, to see these women doing it and really expressing themselves in a way that you couldn't really hear from men at that time. I would go to folk festivals and open mics and kind of fall in love with songwriter culture. The kind of people that are listening for the line and when the one great line comes, they go "Ahh!" and they recognize it and it's sort of a cult, you know. And that's the theme that I really love and the camaraderie of it. So it was really inspiring to fall in with those people at an early age ... everyone's kind of writing songs for each other in that world.
Who are your musical influences?
For sure, a lot of kind of classic songwriters like Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, of course. I'm really into Randy Newman, I think because of his theatrical storytelling style. Definitely a big fan of Peter Gabriel.
What's your biggest vice?
I guess I can be kind of a workaholic sometimes. I don't know, I have this constant struggle in my life: I live in Vermont, which is a beautiful state and it's kind of rural and it can be kind of isolating, kind of cut off from the rest of the country. We don't have a television so I'll sometimes fall off of the news when I'm out here. But we have the Internet and I have a computer and I"m just so aware of how addictive computers and phones are. And when I'm on the road, I feel like if there's anything I felt like I spent less time doing is I wish I spent less time on the computer.
What's in your festival survival kit?
You gotta drink water. I'm really into this one product called Zycam. If you feel like you're getting sick and you take some Zycam, then you don't get a cold. And I swear by it, I've been using it for years.
Who was your first celebrity crush?
Well me and my girlfriends were really into U2 and there were four of us and four of them, so we each had a boyfriend in the band. We'd watch the 'Rattle and Hum' video and pretend that they were our boyfriends and made out with the television screen. I had the drummer, Larry or Adam? Anyway, one of those guys was my boyfriend.
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
Phil Collins, but I'm not ashamed.
Beatles or Stones?
The Beatles, because they're more complex and the harmonies and the headiness of it.
What's the craziest thing you've seen or experienced while on tour?
One time I did a tour with this rock band in the Middle East. I was singing harmony for them and they were this American rock band hired by the State Department. We sang 1950's rock 'n' roll and some Arabic pop music. We went to sing some songs in a tent in Kuwait and they had these trained falcons that wore little tiny leather helmets so that they wouldn't freak out or fly away, and that was a pretty wild sight to see.
Whitney Teal is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.