Mario is an American R&B vocalist who rose to fame in the mid-2000s for his silky smooth voice and talent for writing sentimental love songs. Although Mario hails from Baltimore, his singles have consistently found success across Africa, especially in South Africa.
Let’s explore with Tubidy on the 18 biggest Mario hit songs that continue to be loved by South African R&B audiences:
1. Let Me Love You
The romantic ballad “Let Me Love You” was Mario’s first smash, topping charts all over the world in 2004. Its tender lyrics and Mario’s falsetto notes struck a chord with South African listeners, cementing his status as an R&B heartthrob.
2. How Could You
Appearing on his 2005 debut album, this breakup ballad “How Could You” highlighted Mario’s vocal range over its acoustic guitar-based production. The track’s themes resonated with South African fans, becoming one of his most requested throwback hits.
3. Here I Go Again
Mario tapped into universal feelings of regret on “Here I Go Again”, an R&B gem from 2009. South African audiences loved the raw emotion in Mario’s vocals and relatable lyrics about repeating mistakes in relationships.
4. Braid My Hair
The silky smooth “Braid My Hair” from Mario’s 2007 album ‘Go’ serenaded South African women. Mario’s falsetto notes and lyrics praising natural black hair won over fans all over Africa.
5. Crying Out for Me
Appearing on the ‘Step Up’ movie soundtrack, “Crying Out for Me” sandwiches Mario’s lovelorn lyrics between a hip hop-inspired beat. The 2006 track highlighted his versatility and cemented his teen idol status in South Africa.
6. Lay in My Bed
Sensual jam “Lay in My Bed” was crafted specifically for R&B radio, and soon dominated South African airwaves after its 2009 release. Mario’s intimate vocals and invitation to cuddle up struck a chord with couples everywhere.
On this heartbreak ballad, Mario likens a lover to Kryptonite for making him weak in the knees. Released in 2009, “Kryptonite” displayed his songwriting skills through creative metaphors South African audiences ate up.
Mario tapped into the popularity of crunk&B on seductive 2009 hit “D.N.A.” featuring Rich Boy. The track blended hip hop and R&B for a unique crossover sound that expanded Mario’s fanbase.
9. Do Right
Ethereal love song “Do Right” from 2007 contained a sample of jazz standard “A Sunday Kind of Love”, giving it a timeless quality. The sincere lyrics touched many South African fans.
10. Music for Love
This silky smooth jam “Music For Love” appeared on the ‘Think Like A Man’ movie soundtrack in 2012. Mario’s buttery vocals glided over the swaying beat for an R&B delight that sounded at home on South African radio.
11. Got 2 Be Down
Early hit “Got 2 Be Down” introduced Mario’s artistry to South African audiences in smooth style back in 2002. His soulful vocals and lyrics entrenched his reputation as an R&B traditionalist.
12. Just a Friend
On this 2002 cover of Biz Markie’s hip hop classic “Just a Friend”, Mario impressively toggled between rapping and singing. The remake highlighted his versatility and range that appealed to South African pop and R&B audiences alike.
13. How Do I Breathe
The breakup ballad “How Do I Breathe” arrived in 2007 at the peak of Mario’s career, topping South African charts. His falsetto vocals and a guest rap from Fabolous came together seamlessly into an R&B gem.
14. Let Me Watch
Sultry jam “Let Me Watch” was crafted for late nights, with Mario pleading to a reticent lover in the lyrics. Released in 2004, the babymaking anthem became one of his most replayed catalog cuts in South Africa.
15. Boom (feat. Juvenile)
Mario tapped Southern rapper Juvenile for gritty 2004 collab “Boom” that lit up hip hop clubs and pop radio alike in South Africa. The synth-heavy production gave Mario room to highlight his energetic vocal runs.
16. I Need Love
The acoustic guitar ballad “I Need Love” was an underrated deep cut among South African fans. Mario laid his emotions bare on the 2009 track with a stripped-down, heartfelt production.
17. Definition of Love
Appearing on his 2007 album ‘Go’, “Definition of Love” blended pop, funk and soul influences into an effervescent jam. The romantic lyrics highlighted Mario’s versatility as both a singer and songwriter.
18. Dancing Shadows
Soulful album cut “Dancing Shadows” from 2009’s ‘D.N.A’ LP gave Mario a chance to show off his vocals. South African R&B fans loved when he would take the song even higher live with thrilling ad-libs.
Through his discography spanning nearly two decades, Mario has cemented his place among the R&B greats for South African audiences. His velvety voice and talent for writing vulnerable love songs appeal across generations of R&B fans. Although he has taken breaks from music, these 18 classics keep Mario’s legacy alive in South Africa.
Why Mario’s popularity in South Africa:
- Mario became the first male R&B artist to top South African charts with “Let Me Love You” in 2004.
- He won Best R&B at the South African Music Awards for “Let Me Love You”.
- Songs like “Braid My Hair” and “Lay in My Bed” have ranked among Metro FM’s most played R&B tracks.
- Mario has surpassed 300,000 monthly listeners on Spotify in South Africa.
- He has collaborated with South African artists like TKZee and Mafikizolo.
- Mario’s music videos were staples of Channel O rotation in the 2000s.
- His albums have reached the Top 5 of Apple Music’s R&B/Soul chart in South Africa.
- Mario’s singles frequently enter 947 FM’s R&B rerun segments.
- South African singers frequently audition on talent shows with Mario covers.
- Fans on Twitter often request Mario hits to be added to Metro FM’s Slow Jam Sundays playlist.
Although he took a break from releasing new music, Mario’s silky classics continue resonating with South African R&B fans. His vulnerable songwriting and magnetic voice have made him a timeless figure on the African R&B scene since his meteoric rise in the mid-2000s.