His third album, "Go," just came out this week, but R&B singer Mario is already planning to release his fourth less than a year from now, "by the time school starts back up, like after next summer."
Mario tells Billboard.com that he's in the midst of a creative spurt that yielded 70 songs he considered for "Go" before settling on the dozen tracks that made the album -- including the first single, "How Do I Breathe," and its follow-up, "Music For Love."
"You can imagine how many different concepts and things I had," the 21-year-old explains. "But there's really even more than that, 'cause I'm gonna start recording, like, [at] the end of January."
Mario says one difference between "Go" -- which follows 2004's double-platinum "Turning Point" -- and the next album will be fewer collaborators. "Go" features a different producing and writing team on every track, including Akon, Timbaland, the Neptunes and StarGate. For his next set, Mario says he's "probably gonna work with no more than four producers, maybe two or three, but no more than four."
Needless to say, he's looking ahead to a busy 2008. With "Music For Love" due out in late January, Mario plans to start a tour in February or March. "I want to do a big production tour now," he says. "But it's gonna take creating videos and visuals that make people want to come out and see a show." To that end, the video for "Music For Love," he says, "is gonna like you're watching a performance. That's the sense I get from that record, so that's gonna draw people out to the shows."
Besides all that, Mario hopes to add to his film resume in the new year as well. Though he's still smarting from being turned down for a role in "Dragon Ball Z," Mario -- whose previous roles include "Step Up" and "Freedom Writers" -- hopes to find a project in the near future.
"Of course I want to pursue it and read some more (scripts) and try to find something where I can break in between albums," he says. "It's kind of hard to juggle, but I'm very much excited about that part of my career, too."