Mario Biondi hails from Sicily, where he was born on January 28th 1971. He grew up in a very musical family. His Grandmother was a Opera singer and his father is an author of important Sicilian traditional/folk songs. Therefore he approached music at a very young age, debuting at 12 singing around Sicily. Growing up he discovered his passion for Black Music in the albums of James Brown; Aretha Franklyn; Earth Wind and Fire; Lou Rawls and Al Jarreau.
Although he also featured in a Vincenzo Bellini staged opera as a supporting role, he pursued his passion refining his style of singing in bars and clubs around Sicily. In one of these spots, he also had the privilege to duet with the late, great Ray Charles one night. Albeit he scored 7 Dance singles on several labels, the last of which for Warner Bros., his passion for Gospel brought him to sing at a Festival that had the excellent Cheryl Porter in the line-up. As a natural outcome, the debut album testifies his absolute love for Soul, Rhythm’n’Blues and Jazz.
In “Handful of Soul” Mario sings accompanied by a band of phenomenal musicians, The High Five Quintet. Together they recorded original pieces in addition to re-interpretations of classics in jazz, such as “On A Clear Day” from the homonymous American musical or “Slow Hot Wind” by Henry Mancini. In Soul they covered “I’m Her daddy” by Bill Withers, as well as in blues-rock they did “I Can’t Keep From Cryin’ Sometimes” by Al Kooper.
The voice of Mario Biondi resembles the great names in Soul and Rhythm’n’Blues. Sensual grooves combined to the incredible feeling of his unique voice make one imagine of an International production. Quite opposite, the album comes from the Italian label Schema Records. Following a long list of successful artists launched by the label in Milan (among which feature artists like Nicola Conte, Gerardo Frisina, Rosalia De Souza, The Dining Rooms, S-Tone Inc.), Mario Biondi is the last name to leave its mark, fast becoming Gold Record in Italy. Since he achieved the sales of 40.000 album copies in January, “Handful of Soul” registered a constant rise to the top: scoring the impressing amount of 80.000 albums sold and becoming Platinum by the time of The Sanremo Festival (February ’07), where Mario duetted as guest of local EMI artist Amalia Grè. In the middle of March Mario’s album reached Number 1 in the Italian Sales Album Charts after staying there for 17 weeks. Also Itunes Italy saw the permanence on top of the digital downloading charts of Mario’s “Handful of Soul”. Currently the copies sold are 200.000. The single “This Is What You Are,” which went immediately into heavy rotation throughout Italy and the U.K. A year later Biondi performed the song at the important Sanremo Festival in Italy, bolstering the record popularity and helping to push it into Billboard’s European Top 100 chart.
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