Stevie Face, Alaine, Cezar and Benjy Myaz are just some of the artists Mario Evon has sung backup vocals for during his singing career. Now, he’s emerged as a solo artist and has performed extensively in both the Caribbean and United States.
As a graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Mario Evon’s reggae-soul fusion is nothing short of amazing. His unique sound earned multiple performances at the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival (2009, 2010 & 2013), opening for Marion Hall, Jon Secada, Hall & Oates and Gladys Knight. His hit singles, “You Used 2 Love Me” and “Love In Di Mawnin”, continue to serenade audiences everywhere. Recently, we got a chance to chat with Mario about his music, the Jazz and Blues Festival and more.
At what age did you discover you could sing? When did you start taking your music career seriously?
I discovered I could sing when I joined the Mona Prep choir at 7 years of age. I started taking my music career seriously long before I became Mario Evon, but as a member of a quintet of friends called the Choir Boyz. We would sing at many paid corporate events around Kingston, Jamaica. I became even more serious when I started singing solo at weddings and officially developed into Reggae-Soul Singer/Songwriter, Mario Evon (M.E.), in February 2008.
In my opinion reggae is so popular across the globe because it’s vibe music. Many times conscious music. Often times love music. Reggae can be many things to many people, but most importantly it’s connected to brand Jamaica, which is generally perceived as really cool. I mean everybody wants to be Jamaican (laughs) so by extension many also love reggae everywhere.
What does the genre mean to you?
The genre represents an authentically Jamaican music form, and as a Jamaican that means the world to me. For such a small country, we have managed to do so many great things not only in music, but in athletics, amongst other things. So the genre is a stamp of my culture. It makes me proud, and it has taught me about letting the music speak for itself, through its message and often powerful simplicity.
My sound, which I call Reggae-Soul, as the name suggests is a fusion of reggae influences such as Bob Marley, Beres Hammond, Tarrus Riley, Wayne Wonder and soul/R&B influences such as Babyface, Brian McKnight, Stevie Wonder, Boyz II Men, Donnie Hathaway … to name a few. My lyrics are often influenced by personal experiences, but sometimes I write from the perspective of someone else, which is always an interesting challenge.
Who are your favorite reggae artists in the industry today?
Some of my favourite reggae artists in the industry today include, Tarrus Riley, Raging Fyah, Protoje, Chronixx, C-Sharp, and so many more. I listen to a lot of music, and there is really a lot of good stuff out there now.
Each time was a unique an amazing experience. It was a stage I admired whilst dreaming of being a performer, so to perform on it was a big deal to me. The year I performed on the main stage was the closest I came to the international artists, and I was most excited to meet Gladys Knight. She sat at a table beside mine while eating in the food room, and I went over to her and introduced myself and we spoke briefly. She was really gracious and as nice as I had imagined.
If you could collaborate with any current artist or band, who would it be?
I would probably want to collaborate with Konshens or Chronixx, not just because they are two of the most popular local acts right now, but because I like what they represent. They both have good, fun music and a great work ethic.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
It constantly changes, but to date I’d have to say performing and making it to the final round of ‘Amateur Night at the Apollo’ in Harlem, New York City. Again I grew up watching the show and laughing at performers being booed off the stage. I never imagined I would have been on that stage, winning two of the four rounds, tying for third in another and performing in the final round. It is one of those experiences that is difficult to put into words, but it reminded me that anything is possible once you believe in it.
I’d love to actually do some reggae-soul stuff over hip hop beats, and I’d definitely be open to some dance remixes of some of my songs. I believe music should be free, so I’d be open to experimenting with almost any genre.
What can we expect to hear from you in the future? Is there an album in the works?
Expect to start to see a lot more of M.E. I have no plans to stop and to only keep developing the product to the best it can be. There is an album in the works and it’s called ‘Reggae-Soul Volume 1: M.E. On Love’. I’m about 3/4 way through it, which means some singles should be coming out really soon, and the intention is for a 2013 release, so keep your ears open.
and You Tube!
*Special thanks to Mario for taking the time to speak with us!
*All photos courtesy of and provided by Mario Evon
Check out his singles “You Used 2 Love Me” and “Love In Di Mawnin” below!