First, Ne-Yo found inspiration in the electro blasting throughout clubs overseas, dabbling with the sounds on his last album, Year of the Gentleman. Then Will.I.am, Kelis and a slew of other R&B acts followed. Consider Mario the latest act hooked by house music.
"The new album right now, I'm just focused on the album," the singer told MTV News backstage at Chris Brown's "Virginia Stand Up! A Call to Action" benefit concert on Saturday.
The Baltimore native explained that the genre's grooves were just too appealing not to flirt with on his upcoming project.
"Stay tuned. I just came back from Europe — it's crazy out there," Mario said. "I just did a DJ/ house [music] tour in Europe; I did like 10 days. It was a huge thing, like 15,000-seat venue. It was incredible to see how many people are into house music and R&B music, and how house music influences R&B nowadays. You know, [it has a] real strong presence ... over there."
The collection, due this summer, according to Mario, would be his fifth album and the follow-up to last year's set, D.N.A. That project spawned the hit "Break Up," featuring Gucci Mane and Sean Garrett.
Mario's yet-untitled album is tentatively slated to include a guest appearance by Chris Brown, though nothing has been confirmed so far. Mario said the two crooners recently spent time together in a Los Angeles studio — though admittedly Brown was working with Keri Hilson and not him — and the pair have high hopes to get something recorded between them soon.
"For the ladies," he said with a smile.
Are you excited to hear new music from Mario? Let us know in the comments!