At times, I wonder if you fully grasp or perhaps accept your importance to the culture. We are constantly reminded of how frequently our black prodigies fade into oblivion. Recklessness, lack of guidance, socially unprotected, often outright self-destructive, or victims of predators are generally to blame. TV series such as “Unsung” and others have developed brands and business models simply by showcasing the downfalls of those fallen stars we still look up to – even though they don’t shine as bright. Fortunately, we as a culture haven’t and won’t see Mario in that space. That means a lot to us. We have “M” to reference as an example to our kids. Did you know that? How do you feel about it? This is a good point. I feel like one must find true purpose and balance in life first and foremost. As an artist you’re usually spread very thin to accomplish daily goals that lead to success and fame. The issue is that people neglect the understanding of the realms of existence and how they work energetically. For me, energy is everything. Often times we are influenced by the wrong people and ideals that don’t match our highest potentials. That’s where things go dark and sometimes remain there.
Do you find pressure in the expectation of both sonic and social perfection? Or does it motivate you? Being held in such high regard by so many is what, in my opinion, added weight to the shoulders of Sam Cooke, Prince, and Michael Jackson – who already had the weight of the world on their shoulders. I don’t find that type of pressure to be uncomfortable because it’s natural for me to work, feel and think in that space. All of the greats were connected to other realms. You could hear it in their music. Divinity is not a choice, it’s a gift.
For a while there I thought you’d decidedly had what I call an Andre 3k epiphany – not interested in making music anymore in part because of the music that was being made; not identifying with today’s sound, and not wanting that trend attached to your legacy. Any of this applicable to you?What brought you back in the limelight? For me, I was learning so much about myself and playing catch up. In my teenage years as a superstar you never get a chance to breathe or truly take everything in. I think it was important for me to find my ground again as I returned back into the distorted world of entertainment where puppets run wild. I feel sovereign again, but there is a lot of manifesting to do in terms of tuning people into my frequency in a non resistant way.
The late 90’s and early 2000’s gave us these gifts, a select few artists who sang about love and relationships and real life. To this very day they remain family. We refer to you all by first name basis: Mario, Beyonce, Monica, Trey, Rihanna, Ciara, Miguel, Jazmine, to name a few. Why do you feel all of you were so invested in laboring to gain an understanding of love at such a young age? You were kids. I think R&B has always been the platform on which the concept of love was easily expressed. Being able to sing is certainly healing and so is love. Loving was a lil’ simpler back then before the digital crusade. Openly loving was cool. If feels like a lot of people don’t feel they deserve love these days which is why the ego is so prominent.
Comparatively, why isn’t this current troupe of teen artists similarly indebted to love as your class was? At least in their artistic expression, they aren’t. (Laughs!) In my opinion there is a lot of fear in the collective consciousness that keeps people’s hearts closed and survival mode in full effect. So we see each other as targets and goals instead of souls that actually are reflections of one another. It’s a really old template that we are slowly upgrading from collectively. But music is a big part of it because people love music. They want to feel something. It’s our job as artists and musical magicians to help move this energy back to neutrality.
You remain firmly rooted in a spiritually advanced arena. In what ways has it guided you through an entire life and career in the spotlight? (Laughs!) Who are you? (Laughs!) Great question… My openness to the unsend spiritual world has lead me to some very deep places with secrets that only one who has done the same would know, but what I can say is that coming back to this realm I was able to see where I had distortions within my being. Once you see your own you’re able to see others and how we all affect each other as a whole. It gave me the wisdom and strength to stay in my own vortex and channel energy from distant places.
How has your spiritual refinement clashed at times working within an industry where wild animals like wolves, sharks, vultures, and beasts accurately define many of its key players? Your peace and positivity has proven quietly disruptive at points, no? Honestly it doesn’t clash. I am a wolf, a shark, a vulture and a beast and I ate demons for breakfast! I just chose to vibrate on a whole other bandwidth because those energies are weak in comparison to love and honor. For example, becoming an enlightened being doesn’t mean you don’t have negative energy, it means you know how to balance the polarities. I’m far from perfect but I practice neutrality. (Draws this symbol: /\/)
Both of my parents battled with addiction. My father lost his battle in ’98, at age 49. That served as a defining moment for my mother, who found sobriety after her life partner died in such a manner. In perspective, and in retrospect, did our parents doing less ultimately enable us to be more?Perhaps you can elaborate here. I certainly believe that pressure creates diamonds. I wouldn’t change a thing in my life if I could. I love challenge and I’m here for whatever obstacles I’m meant to overcome in order to reach a state of non resistance incompressible by the human mind. Wasn’t easy to see a person I love choose such a self-neglecting path, but I didn’t love them any less.
A shadow implies the presence of light, while also expressing that a person, object, or apparition is partially blocking or sharing that light. It’s mystical, magical, metaphorical. Why is Dancing Shadows the title to what some are suggesting is the indie album of the year, one that should be Grammy nominated. Thank you very much. Just as you said, we embody these polarities naturally and I feel like we are at a crucial point and time where our generation needs to understand the power of shadows work, energy and how it’s being used against us but can be used to help us regain our power and self preservation. I hope this album speaks to those who are meant to hear it. Let’s open up the portals to higher realms of creativity and finish what we started!