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At age 15, when his 2002 debut album Mario garnered 700,000 copies in sales, sparked by the lead single "Just A Friend (2002)," young Mario set the stage for his 2005 sophomore set aptly titled Turning Point. Worldwide, the album reaped 2 million units in sales as "Let Me Love You" propelled him to the number one spot for nine consecutive weeks. The single holds the honor of being one of the highest selling ringtones to date with 1.6 million downloads and Mario himself was bestowed with accolades including 2005's Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Award for Top R&B/Hip-Hop Single, a Billboard Music Award for Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Single of the Year and a slew of nominations from the Grammys, BET Awards, Vibe Awards, MOBO Awards and the Soul Train Music Awards.
That process of growth for Mario has been therapeutic as the freedom of expression became comforting because there was no "fear of being judged." Assuredly, "there are a lot of songs on this album that the fans can relate to. I want them to go out there and feel proud about picking this album up in the store. You can rock it at any time and feel like you are a part of what I'm doing when it comes to this movement."
This multi-layered "movement" featured Mario the actor in the 2006 teen dance movie Step Up, which debuted at #2 and grossed over $21 million during its opening weekend. In January 2007 Mario continued his burgeoning acting career with a lead role as an at-risk student in the Paramount Pictures/MTV Film Freedom Writers with Hilary Swank, now available on DVD.
Soul Truth will be the breeding ground for developing talent under Mario's wing. "I'm in touch with my soul. Your soul is what carries you and that was the realist thing I could find that I could relate to people with. And then truth just comes from what I stand for and me not ever wanting to take for granted that God has given me a gift to be who I am and stand for just that, and that's a gift too. Soul Truth!"