Mario Rollins is an anomaly. Even though no one else in his family is musically inclined, he has been passionate about music from birth. The 24-year-old said that the intensity of what he feels when he is performing continues to grow.
“My first instrument was drums, but I actually learnt bass guitar at church back in 2009 and now it’s my profession,” he told Bajan Vibes.
The dog lover, who simply goes by the name Mario for his performances, is a former student of St. Leonard’s Boys.
“I’ve been performing for about ten years playing bass guitar and singing but only started my solo venture last year May 2019 when I released my first song with Quantum Productions.”
That debut song was Give Me Advantage on the Fine Wine Riddim. His feeling of accomplishment was heightened by the fact that some of the greats like Mistah Dale, Edwin Yearwood and Tony Rebel Bailey, a fellow bassist and singer, who are all true sources of inspiration to him, were also featured on the riddim.
Despite the absence of Crop Over in its traditional format this year, the young musician was still compelled to make his musical contribution. He followed up his debut release with the groovy and equally catchy I Doan Mind on the Moringa Tree Riddim.
He also released an accompanying music video which has racked up close to 1,000 views since its launch in early July. Mario is excited about the response his new release has been generating.
“As far as I can tell, the response to my release has been quite exuberant, and it’s a great feeling knowing and seeing that.”
Fuelled by his love of music and an affinity for performance, the entertainer joined the band Lock It with lead vocalist Joaquin. Being on stage with them has provided one of his most memorable music moments to date.
He fondly recalled his first gig playing with the band at the Garfield Sobers Complex back in 2010, when he was wowed by the sheer energy from the audience.
“[It was] my first time on the stage and the electricity went off for about ten minutes into our set. [It was great] to see a crowd of people supporting and singing along. Even though the music had vanished, clearly, the vibe didn’t,” he reminisced.
Mario has always been a firm believer in making impactful music and that’s the direction he is always aiming for. He explained: “My music speaks truth and firmness about me. For me, it’s basically all about staying true to who you are.”
The musician is committed to remaining his authentic self. “My involvement with music played a very vital role in my life. It taught me how to be loving and compassionate and how to treat and care for the things you hold dear and are passionate about. A great person once told me: ‘Treat the music with love and it will look after you for life’.”
Guided by this tenet, Mario aims to produce the highest standard of music. “The music I’m aiming to create is one that transforms the lives of people in ways they want and never knew could happen and in a more positive way than anything else.”
Being an entertainer has been his tool to bring joy to those around him. Mario enjoys putting smiles on their faces and radiating good vibes onto everyone he encounters.
The song writer uses real-life situations to inspire his material and teachings, which he then puts into his craft as a form of testimony. He hopes others can understand and learn from his craft at some point in their lives.
Mario is hopeful that the thing that sets his music apart is the way it speaks to the being and soul of the listener.
“In everything I do, I try to bring a message from deep inside that I know can resonate with someone in a richly positive way, whether it may be inspiring, encouraging or life changing.”
Among his main musical influences on the regional front are reggae crooner, Beres Hammond, and the late Bob Marley. With a love for all things musical, his playlist is not restricted to any one specific artiste since he believes that across the spectrum, they all have something distinctive to offer.
“There are so many messages out there to grasp from, so much music,
different artistes and singers,” he said.
Though collaborations are not currently at the forefront of his mind, it’s not something that he would rule out in the future.
Mario is enjoying his musical journey thus far and fortunately has not encountered any major challenges. The artiste is just taking every moment as it comes. The change of pace is welcomed, and he is using the next couple of months to just relax. “I’d say it is more of a reflection and rest time for me.”
With a clear vision of what he wants to achieve, those quiet moments will be used to plan his way forward in the music industry.