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Sep 28 - New Mario Vazquez Interview

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 Sep 28 - New Mario Vazquez Interview
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"A Gallery of Dreams Becoming Reality Mario Vazquez "
Feature by Stacy Christoforidis

Television networks and radio stations have quickly familiarized themselves with his name. Taking his primary steps on the popular, nationally-televised American Idol competition as a Top 12 Finalist, Mario Vazquez, carefully turning down and taking up specific opportunities, has landed himself an Arista record deal thatís helping him rapidly rise to the top of R&B and Pop charts. His hit single, ďGallery,Ē written by Ne-Yo, has taken over number one spots on various countdowns. The much-anticipated release of his debut album, jam-packed with production work from internationally known producers (Lester Mendez, Underdogs, Luny Tunes) has been set for September 12th. Mario Vazquez has come a long way to set his imprint in music and, with his large fan base and a great deal of talent, music executives and majors have accepted him as an artist here to stay. As a New York native, you must feel proud to be getting your music heard because not many artists are given a chance to demonstrate their talents nationally coming from here.

What do you feel separates your talent from the other Ushers and Ne-Yos and the Ginuwines out there?

MV: Well, definitely, I think, number one, coming from New York City. I think just the vibe that, as a New Yorker, we bring to the music world. Particularly, Iím a big fan of Kelis and her coming from New York City could serve for her edge on music, and I think itís something influenced from New York City itself. Itís a melting pot of music and sounds. Thatís what I definitely try to portray on this album. Just everything Iíve been influenced by with all the reggaeton, the hip hop, the pop, the whole old school Motown sound, everything. And just living in New York, I was influenced very early on and I think that is definitely what it is. Just being from New York, we got to bring it. Thatís a good point you bring. Just coming from New York City, we need to represent. And me being a Nuyorican Latino, I want to do it right and I feel like we definitely hit the nail with this album.

Youíve been described as a young, multi-talented, American-born Hispanic singer with a strong voice and charisma. What are some of your flaws in your eyes that youíd like to better?

MV: Well, I think, sometimes, Iím a little too relaxed in a sense. I think I come off too personable with people and Iíd like to get to know people on a personal level. For me, I think Iím sometimes a little passive-aggressive. And I think, sometimes, in this industry, you need to learn to be more aggressive and not passive because things wonít get done. Itís a hard industry and things wonít be done and you need to make sure you know what you want. Thatís a flaw that I think makes me human, but, at the same time, people can take advantage and itís something Iím learning on the way.

People en EspaŮol have named you one of the 50 Most Beautiful People. How do you feel about that?

MV: I was just speechless. I was like, ĎWow.í Iím a big fan of People and People en EspaŮol and for them to approach me with that, I was just really honored about it. The first thing that popped out of my head was my mom. She reads the Spanish mags and, just something like that, sheís already framed it. Itís a great piece that Iíve achieved and itís something thatís not seen in the past and Iím like, ĎWow, Iím part of it.í Itís something thatís made me proud, made my family proud and, you know, Latinos, I hope, as well. New Yoricans at that.

Would you be interested in branching off to acting or modeling down the line?

MV: Oh, definitely. Thatís something Iíve always been involved in. In the Arts School and during Junior High, Iíve studied a lot of acting and my acting teacher at the time really pushed me to get into theater so they definitely opened my mind up to acting, to movies. You know, thatís where my passion is, thatís what I love, the arts. I understand you took an unexpected leave from American Idol due to personal reasons.

I donít want to ask why, but I do want to ask if you feel you made up for it this past year since so many of your fans were disappointed.

MV: That was another hard part of my decision just in reference to: ĎOkay, if I make this move, how would my fans from the show react to it?í But, you know what? They just need to realize that, in this industry, you need to make the right choice and I know, at the time, the competition wasnít right for me and I thought the choice of me leaving was the best one. Definitely much more artistic than business, it was something I needed to really take control of my career and take control of my art and thatís something very important. Now, as if I made up for it or not, itís something we are yet to see because itís something I am right now on the road promoting. Iím promoting my single, ďGallery,Ē first off the album. Itís just we need to wait and see. So far, so good. Weíve got a great reaction on the single. I just hope that they see me for me and my art and not so much for the American Idol show. Again, Iím very grateful for them giving me the platform to showcase my talent but, definitely, I felt that was the best thing for me to do. I just feel more independent and more as a real artist.

Props to you because that was a big move!

MV: It was an amazing move and if I were on the other side, Iíd think Iím crazy, too. But, just with the lead that I had, I thought it was in my best interest to do it that way. And in my opinion, I thought I would be restricted. And with Arista Records and Clive Davis, theyíve just been so lenient with me.

Did Arista Records come to you through the show?

MV: Iím a.ssuming so. Yes, Iím a.ssuming they saw me on the show. Actually, they were the last company that had approached me. And I had never thought it wouldíve been Arista Records, J Records, since their involvement with Idol. It was really surprising to hear, but once I went there, it was like, hey, this is Clive Davis, no matter what. Heís definitely made some moves and Iím so happy to be on that list, definitely wanting to grow as an artist on the label, as well.

Do you feel that your career wouldíve taken a different path had you stayed on the show?

MV: It definitely wouldíve been different. I donít know because we didnít go that route. But, I just feel I wouldíve been more restricted. I donít know if I wouldíve won it, I donít know if I wouldíve came in number 6, number 5, whatever number. The fact is now Iím not numbered. Iím just the guy who loves to do his own thing. We have yet to see, but I definitely feel good things are coming toward this and Iím definitely having a ball so far.

Are you an Idol fan?

MV: I am an Idol fan. You know what it is? Iím an Idol fan in the sense that I was part of the show and to see how it works with other contestants, you know, itís the curiosity to check it out. Your hit single ďGalleryĒ is written by Ne-Yo.

Who else can we expect to see on it?

MV: Well, you can definitely expect to see cameos from Akon and a couple of other guests weíre working on. Who has been your favorite talents to work with on this album? MV: Well, my favorite producers, Iíve had a couple of producers Iíve worked with from Underdogs to Luny Tunes to Lester Mendez, but Iím definitely feeling the Underdogs and Lester Mendez. I definitely feel they have the perfect combination of Latino and hip hop. Itís definitely a good mix. Itís definitely what I wanted to put in my album.

What would be your perfect collaboration on a song that would include you plus three others? MV: Okay, I would think Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, myself and ... who am I a big fan of? You like the ladies, huh?

MV: (Laughs) Iím trying to think of a gentleman that would be combined with my voice but I canít think of anybody. But, I definitely feel those two. A year, more or less, has passed since your American Idol experience. Whatís been the biggest move, step, accomplishment or drawback throughout this past year for you? MV: I think itís more just getting on the album, the resurrection of the album. Iíve seen other artists trying to do a multi-format album with different sounds because thatís what I wanted to do. I wanted to do hip hop, I wanted to do pop, I wanted to do reggaeton. I wanted to do a bit of everything. Just knowing the industry, itís hard to market a record like that. But I definitely feel Iíve accomplished that and I think thatís one hurdle I wanted to overcome because itís hard. The public is picky. Iím not going to underestimate the public but, from what I know, theyíre picky. For me to do what I love, thatís something I needed to have on the album. I needed to have a bit of everything. Especially on a debut? Itís kind of hard, but I definitely think weíve accomplished that with Arista. Itís been good, Iím just really happy and I feel Iíve accomplished something great. Iíve overcome a hurdle that stands as an obstacle for other artists. Judging by his voice, his charm and his sincerity, Mario Vazquez is bound to set records off with his debut. Be one of the first to get your hands on his debut album, being released September 12th. And donít forget to watch Mario on MTVís TRL August 9th, introducing the debut video of his single, ďGallery.Ē

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