[INTERVIEW] SUPAH MARIO
Integrity and authenticity is a combination that many seem to think they can do without. Navigating through the industry off sheer excitement and temporary fulfillment will only leave you exhausted and confused. While aiming to produce the next Billboard hit may be the goal for many producers, that doesn’t seem to be the only focal point. Speaking from experience allows others to study and observe the details unlike any class you could take. Jonathan Demario Priester aka Supah Mario is a born leader that expresses gratitude for the learning process and honors every aspect of the art form. His collaborations with artists such as Drake & Young Thug allowed many to take notice. Despite having great success early on, it’s apparent that he aims to be timeless and not just relevant.
“My friends, my family, and the love of sound and art are my most motivating factors.”
At an early age Mario envisioned himself as a musician and sometimes a super-hero. He spent his childhood in South Carolina along with three siblings. As he began to discover his love for music it was only a matter of time before he fully devoted himself. Mario began to study the culture and attended local events to network. At the age of 14 he began producing music and formed a rap group with kids he befriended in his neighborhood. While many rush to only bask in the glorious moments, it’s apparent that Mario aims to lead by example with perseverance and ambition. “I think my sound selection, my tempo, and my vibe make me unique as far as my sounds go”, says Mario, “I’m big on not competing with musicians for the same sounds. I’d rather make music that goes against the grain. Usually my sound is mellow with hard hitting drums. I love chord progressions. I tend to over produce sometimes because I always hear a new element that can be added. I’ve learned to dial it back a bit though.”
“My biggest thing is that you can come from anywhere and become something great or live out your dreams. I came from a place that wasn’t big in the music scene and although we had no real outlets I still didn’t allow that to stop me from accomplishing what i have accomplished today. I just want people to be motivated by the things I’ve done and realize it’s not impossible.”
Many popularized individuals in the Hip Hop industry seem to only pay homage when it’s convenient. Few have the capacity to respect and honor fellow artists/genres accordingly. Mario isn’t hesitant to acknowledge greatness in others. “There isn’t one artist that has impacted me. I feel like there are too many to name but if I have to pick I’d say, Tame Impala. The sound is so psychedelic and I am a huge fan of tones and harmony.” Studying arrangements and embracing the unfamiliarity that music brings from all across the globe is a special process that not many experience. It’s refreshing to know that there are current composers that will not let history be forgotten.
“My favorite song is “Lucidity” by Tame Impala. I think mainly because of the Soundscape and the message behind it.”
The music business is constantly evolving and the rules continuously change. It is crucial for new producers to be aware of all the fine details. Whether pursuing a partnership with a major label or building a dynasty all on your own, it’s always best to think about longevity. “Being signed isn’t a bad thing neither is being unsigned in my opinion. As an indie artist I’d say its been a tougher journey to get some of the resources need to reach a bigger audience and reach a bigger platform. However, just because you sign doesn’t guarantee it will be any easier to gain that audience. I realized when I signed it just provided me enough funds to operate full time in music and chase it that much easier without worrying about the funding part of it. That’s if you use your funds wisely. Rappers, singers and producers can’t be out here spending money on things that aren’t important. Studio time, food, travel expenses are necessities and I can understand having to spend on those things but you don’t really need a chain or a new watch. Those are bonuses.”
“I’ve been working with Uzi, also a lot of new music with Swae Lee. Me and Swae have at least 20 new songs that we just created over a 2 month period. I’m also looking forward to getting some of the music i have with J Critch out and releasing more sound kits. I just released a kit on Splice and its my first one ever but aside from that I want people to be able to access more sounds from me via my own website and some merchandise as well.”
Supah Mario has established himself as an innovator destined for eternal greatness. It’s no surprise that his work ethic elevates regularly as he concentrates on being a dominant force that uplifts the music community. “I’m hoping to be on more projects in 2019 and going forward would like for more people to be familiar with who SUPAH MARIO is and to recognize my music when they hear it. I’ve been blessed to meet some really dope artists recently and looking forward to dropping some of the new music I have with them. I’m also looking forward to introducing the world to some of the new artists and producers I’ve been helping to develop.” As the South Carolina native continues to guide his peers and astonish fans internationally, it’s only a matter of time before the walls become covered in plaques.