A soft, deep and sensual voice and yet clear and firm: Mario Biondi – real name Mario Ranno – cultivated his passion for music with care and patience since he was only a little boy listening to his father, the singer Stefano Biondi, in memory of whom he took his current stage name. A baggage of different experiences have turned Mario into the big artist he is now: from church chorus to works for minor record companies, while keep on studying and improving his English, despite being a born and bred Sicilian.
With a passion for soul music, since 1988 Mario was the opening act of renowned international artists, first among all Ray Charles.
And yet the big opportunity came when he released his single This is what you are in Japan and the song was heard by Norman Jay, popular dj from BBC1, who – in love with it – launched it all over Europe.
In 2006 Mario released his first album Handful of Soul for Schema, including 12 tracks: new songs as well as others from the classical repertoire. An accurate selection from which Mario took out the most standard songs. The album received good critics both from general audience as well as from professionals and gained four platinum disks in just a few months. In the same year Mario took part to Alex – Tribute to Alex Baroni with the song L'amore ha sempre fame.
In 2007 Mario was particularly busy carrying out different extensive projects: he took part to the Festival di Sanremo as guest star in a duet with Amalia Grè, singing Amami per sempre. Soon after he released his single No Matter, in collaboration with DJ Fargetta and published his double live album I love you more, where he sang with the Duke Orkestra. Also this album was soon a big success and gained two platinum disks. The album included the ghost track This is what you are, one of the most loved songs of the Sicilian artist.
The 2008 marked a new and funny enterprise: the interpretation of two songs of the soundtrack of the remake of Aristocats - Everybody wants to be a cat and Thomas O'Malley – both turned into Italian.
Mario was also in the cast of one of the main Italian TV shows – Mai dire Martedì with the Gialappa’s band – and was invited by one of the main composers of the XX century – Burt Bacharach – to sing with Karima Ammar at the Festival of Sanremo with the song Come in ogni ora. Mario also sang with Renato Zero in Non smetterei più, included in his latest album.
Released in 2009, If was his second album, produced by Mario’s new recording company, Tattica. Recorded between Rome and Rio de Janeiro and anticipated by the single Be lonely, at the top of the music chart for months, the album was an extensive artistic project, both from a production angle (stings were recorded at the London Telefilmonic Orchestra) and for the collaboration with some of the most renowned musicians worldwide: from Herman Jackson (piano) to Michael Baker (drums), from Jacqués Morelenbaum (cello) to Ricardo Silveira (guitar), from Sonny Thompson (bass and guitar) to Lorenzo Tucci (drums), from Fabrizio Bosso (trumpet) to Giovanni Baglioni (guitar). In this album Mario created soft and passionate soul-jazz music, with some funny interpretations. The collaboration with Burt Bacharach, started with the duet with karima at the Festival di Sanremo 09, strengthened and was enriched by a gift of Bacharach to Mario: the song Something that was beautiful, included in the album.
If made Mario Biondi popular for the big public and was marked by a good success in sales, gaining 3 platinum disks and achieving – through the digital publication (distribution Kiver / Tattica) – a record on iTunes: over 2 months on the Italian top 10 of the best selling albums.
Mario’s international popularity is also proved by the fact he is one of the first Italian singers to have an account on Ping, the iTunes social network launched in September 2010. Thanks to his popularity, Mario collaborated with Bluey from Incognito, remixing No’ Mo’ Trouble from the album If: the song was on top of the chart for the whole Summer. Enthusiast for this collaboration, Bluey asked Mario to play two songs of the band’s 30th anniversary album: a duet with Chaka Kahn and a solo song - Can't get enough – which was acclaimed by London radio networks.
In Fall 2010 Mario dubbed again animation characters and played their songs in the animated film Tangled, where he gave the voice to Flynn Rider. In April 2011 Mario dubbed Miguel in Rio.
On November 26, 2010 for Tattica it was released Yes, you a double live album for the Summer tour that Mario performed on the main Italian stages, all sold out.
On May 21, 2011 for his 40th birthday, Mario opened his new sold out Tour at Gran Teatro in Rome, with Big Orchestra of 40 members.
On November the 15th, for Tattica/Handful of Music it was released Due –The Unexpected Glimpses, a double album in which the crooner meets new undiscovered international and Italian music talents launching the new frontiers of music: the “talent album”. In the new project, Biondi duets with the 20 most talented artists from the soul and jazz scene, performing 13 original songs and 7 covers.
On February 2012, Biondi was at the exclusive jazz club Ronnie Scott’s in London for 6 six concerts that was all sold-out. In March 2012 he starts his new Italian tour in the most prestigious theatres and club.
"Listening to Mario Biondi’s deep, warm and soulful voice it evokes a reminiscence of legends like Billy Paul, Luther Vandross, Isaac Hayes and Lou Rawls. Handful of Soul, his first international release is an album ranging between Jazz and Soul. The result is in this very enticing music release, whose sound swings from smooth vocal melodies to rhythmic tracks to dance to. Adding new facets and his own style to these compositions, Biondi definitely is a major artist to watch in 2007."Jazz Café, UK
"The dark and jazzy soul sound of Mario Biondis vioce is an instant reminder of Lou Rawls, although his musical roots don't lie in a gospel chruch, but in Sicily. His grandmother sang operas, his father wrote popular songs, the son abides by R & B and soul - with success: The single "This Is What You Are" a groovy number with solos, strings, blowers, and percussion, is already gold-plated in Italy. Such Originals ae standing beside songs from the feather of Henry Mancini or Dusko Goykovich, Al Kooper and Bill Withers."Stereo
"Besides the relaxing bossa Biondi also got cheerfully swinging vocal jazz or the well-known and very sensful Samba "Rio de Janiero Blue" included in his program. It even features the classical American repertoire with pieces by Henry Mancini and Burton Lane and Alan Jay. With his versions of Al Koopers "I Can not Keep From Cryin' Sometimes", LC Cooks "No Trouble on the Mountain" and Bill Withers "I'm Her Daddy" Mario Biondi arises as a convincing and mature performer in the Rhythm'n'Blues- and Soul-Genre." Jazzthetik
"I've always been waiting for a title that somehow drops off, or one that I do not like so well, but the 36-year-old seems to be getting even better from track to track! Allthough he seems to have assimilated the Swing with the mothersmilk! Terrific! Fantastic! I can not say more than: "Buy"!" LP Magazine
Mario Biondi hails from Sicily, where he was born thirty-seven years ago on January, 28th. He grew up in a very musical family. His Grandmother was an 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, up with a bullet in the charts and already a certified Gold-Award in Italy and now ready to take on internationally.