Mario Flores has been making music in and around San Antonio since as far back as he can remember. I had the opportunity to speak to Mario this past Friday to find out a little about his past and what the future holds in store for his band.
DP: Mario, nice to see you again. Thanks for taking some time out before your show.
MF: No problem.
DP: So what's going on in the Mario Flores world these days?
MF: Well, things have been going pretty good. Our latest single, “Crazy Enough for Me” continues to climb the Texas Music Charts; number 28 last week. We're getting tons of radio stations picking it up late in the game I mean the song's already been out for 22 weeks so it's kind of rare that a song has gone on for that long but still doing so well so we're really excited about that.
DP: There is some talk about Singer of the Year for you. What can you tell me thus far?
MF: I was honored to find out this week that Big Star 97 voted me Male Vocalist of the Year so voting begins this Friday and continues through next week so man, just a bunch of good things. We're starting to headline and open up for some really big acts; Aaron Watson, Roger Creager and we have the Oyster Bake with Kevin Fowler so I can't complain, things are going great.
DP: That sounds great. So, your newest single is coming out as you said March 11th. Tell me a little bit about “I Didn't Pick This Life.”
MF: Honestly, I would have loved to have written this song but it's not one on the album I did write, but I'll tell you what the minute that I heard it I said 'you know what, if you're a musician or someone on the road and actually it doesn't have to be a musician. It's kind of God's way of saying 'you know what, I already have a plan set out for you and you're going to follow this plan whether you like it or not.' That's basically what's the song's about. I didn't pick this life, it picked me. It's funny I always have people telling me, 'man I don't know how you do it. You work 40-hours a week, you're gigging every night, you're up till three o'clock in the morning but you're up at seven or eight. How do you do it?' Well it's because, you know what, I love to do what I do and this is what it's all about and that's what the song means, I didn't pick this life, it picked me.
DP: Any big shows coming up?
MF: We do have a really big show coming up on March the 17th for St. Patty's Day. We're going to be headlining with Bleu Edmonson, Aaron Watson and Roger Creiger and that's one of the bigger ones we're looking forward to.
DP: So let me switch it up and ask something the fans may be interested in knowing; What is your songwriting style? What is your method?
MF: Honestly, and I don't know if everybody says this but I don't like that bubble gum kind of songwriting. I'm more about real life experiences. I mean, honestly I've had moments where I've woken up in the middle of the night and honestly the melody is in my head or a dream or something and I swear it's three o'clock in the morning got my phone and I recorded. Because I know I've had it happen where I forget the next day and say 'I have a bad ass song' but the next morning but I don't remember what it is! So now I spend a lot of time in the night recording my stuff. But really it's from life experiences. I write from things that happened in my life and things that are happening currently so I take from life and that's what I write about.
DP: Yeah, I totally know what you mean and segueing into my next question, can you remember the moment on stage when it really clicked, when you knew this what you were born to do?
MF: You know what? Honest truth, fifth grade is when I knew. You know it's funny, where I grew up, my mom is from Mexico and she didn't understand English. She was an immigrant worker, came to the US and I used to watch Bugs Bunny and there was an episode where he was singing opera, “Figaro, Figaro” and I used to run around the house singing that. My mom would say, in Spanish, “You know you got a really good voice.” And I remember, fifth grade I was asked to sing in a play and I was on stage. The lights were coming on me and I was singing “We Three Kings” and I remember it just hit me right there. I said 'you know what, this is what I was meant to do.' and like I said earlier about the song, I didn't pick this life, it picked me.
MF: This is what I want to do and it's what I've been doing since the fifth grade.
DP: What an inspiring story. So let me ask you this, and I'm sure you've been asked before but what musician, past or present, would you want to play with, and why?
MF: You know I'll be honest with you. A lot of people always freak out but my favorite country singer, and it's always been country, is Steve Wariner. He's not only a great singer but he's a great writer and he's a musician and I'm not anywhere near where he is but for whatever reason I have always been drawn to his music. I have every one of his albums. I've seen him everywhere he's come to town and it was so disappointing because he's playing here in Texas on March the 23rd and I know the owners of the bar and I asked them. I said 'I'll move a gig if you give me an opportunity to open up for him,' because you know it would really be a dream come true. But they already had an opening band which is a real good friend of mine and I didn't want to step on anyone's feet. You know so I'm going to be doing a show when Steve Wairner is playing here in Texas. But I just love his writing style and he's an awesome guitar player for Country Music and he's always been a guy I've just followed and really enjoyed.
MF: You know, one of the things that I think that really makes me try harder than everybody else is that I'm Hispanic. I'm a Hispanic in a typically Caucasian genre of music which is Country Music. And I've had people come up to me my whole life and tell me 'you know what, you should do Tejano. You should do Spanish, you know, maybe Country's not the right thing for you.' But I never quit and it was people like Raul Malo, Rick Trevino, Freddy Fender, Johnny Rodriguez that kept me wanting to do what I wanted to do. So I wasn't going to let anybody tell me I couldn't do something. And that's what I love about The Mavericks. They did their own thing and I just love their music. I went to go see them at Gruene Hall and that was one of the best concerts I've been to the entire year.
DP: Yeah, I saw you at that show and it was high octaine.
MF: That's right! It was freaking phenomenal. I mean I got to hang out with Raul which was again, a big deal.
DP: That's right, we were on the bus together!
MF: Yeah that's right. So it's like I look up to guys like him and Rick. They say, 'you know what, I'm going to do it.' That's why I'm here.
DP: Have you heard their latest. It just dropped yesterday.
MF: No, I've not yet heard it yet.
DP: Well the label (Valory Music) is pushing it as Country and I think a lot of people are going to be reminded what real music is supposed to be about.
MF: Oh yeah.
MF: You know when I went to the concert in Gruene, I thought 'This is what Country Music...this is what it's supposed to be about.' And not even Country, just music. I mean God, the way they put stuff together was just awesome.
DP: And you know what was crazy that I noticed about that night?
MF: No, what?
DP: That there was hardly anyone wearing a cowboy hat.
MF: Yeah, that's very true and I'll tell you what. This is the honest truth. I've heard all The Mavericks albums but that was the first time I got to see them live and I'm now more a fan of Raul Malo then I've ever been. His voice is amazing and his musicianship...he's just an all around great musician and performer and I was like floored. My wife was with me, I mean she wasn't a big Mavericks fan and when we left she was like 'Put all their songs on my ipod!'
DP: Yeah, they have that reaction on people!
MF: Seriously, now I'm all excited!
DP: Well it's about that time to get up on that stage.
MF: Yeah, can't wait.
DP: Thanks Mario and have a great set.
MF: Thank you, Dave. Come enjoy the show.