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STEP UP

MARIO (Miles), an R&B superstar, makes his feature-film debut in STEP UP. Born Mario Barrett, he was raised in Baltimore and began singing at the age of four, when his mother caught him in the living room with a microphone in his hand trying to tune it in with the radio. By the time he was in elementary school, he had started to compose melodies and develop harmonies on a piano his mother had bought him and began to enter talent contests.

Taking inspiration from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Usher and Brian McKnight, he honed his talent singing along with a karaoke machine. Before he turned 15, he signed with Clive Davis' J Records and immediately began working on his debut album, "Mario,” which was released in June 2002 and showcased label-mate Alicia Keys. His first big single, a reworking of Biz Markie's 1980s hit "Just a Friend 2002,” hit the Top 10. His second album, "Turning Point,” was released in 2005 and spawned the hit singles "How Could You” and "Let Me Love You,” which was number one in the country for five weeks. "Turning Point” went on to sell 2 million copies worldwide. Mario then hit the road with Destiny's Child for their farewell tour in the summer of 2005. He has since been nominated for two Grammy Awards® and took home a Billboard Award in 2005 for Best R&B Single. Mario is currently hard at work on his new album to be released in early 2007.

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