Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Jun 21st 2010 3:00PM by Steve Baltin
As it turns out, working on this soundtrack may be the best thing Mercer ever did. "Going down to Chile for me was the beginning of a sort of, I don't know if transformation is the right word, but it was the beginning of me really opening up and getting out of my shell," he tells Spinner.
For someone used to baring his soul on record, that's a big statement. What about the trip changed him so much? "It's hard for me to even imagine now, but at the time I remember one of the things I was nervous about was that I was gonna have to go on a trip with a bunch of people I didn't really know that well," he admits. "To me, there was a little bit of anxiety about that, just not being sure what that'd be like." As he eventually found out, his fears were unfounded. "It was really fun, a really beautiful experience going down there. And it allowed me to open up musically to be able to work with other people."
"It's possible that Broken Bells wouldn't have happened if it weren't for this Chile trip," he adds. "It really was like an embarkation point for me."
He credits the filmmakers, the Malloy brothers (Chris Malloy directed the film and his brothers Emmett and Dan were with Mercer in Patagonia), with influencing him so greatly. "They're unique and there's a lot of camaraderie that you see between them and attitude towards life that lacks fear to such an extent that you feel ... I guess inspired is the word," he says. "Somehow it sort of rubs off on you in a way. It's an adventurous spirit that you wish you had and you get a little bit of when you hang out long enough with them."
Another person who shared that spirit was Heath Ledger, and the actor's death was also pivotal in Mercer's self-proclaimed transformation. "The other thing that happened right around this time was Heath Ledger was an acquaintance of mine and he died," Mercer recalls. "I was invited to go down to his memorial service and perform. I was nervous about doing that and I knew that it was going to be kind of challenging to be in this real intimate situation and perform music."
Mercer, of course, was very moved by performing at the service. "I went down there and I had known Heath just a little bit, but it was really inspiring. He was kind of a Malloy brother type person it seemed," he says. "It was another situation like this where you were exposed to somebody who just kind of jumped in and had the guts to do things."