Strong roots and a religious devotion to his craft have contributed to the success of Mario Winans. Constantly surrounded by musical influences in one way or another as a result of growing up in a gospel family, Winans was never at a loss for inspiration and spent much of his time studying music at school and home.
However, the catalyst was when his mother, the famous gospel singer Vickie Winans, brought home a room full of recording equipment. Winans played around with the musical instruments and a drum machine and soon, he was making beats.
“Most of my life I grew up listening to gospel,” he said. “When I became a teenager I started listening to R&B, Hip-Hop, and pop. It was a way of expanding musical taste.” You take musical pedigree, toss in some spiritual stimulation, and add direction and support with a good dose of imagination and you begin to get an idea of what makes Winans tick.
Blending traditional Bentley features and handcrafted components with a fresh look and impressive technological enhancements, Winans’ 2005 Continental GT is striking when compared to previous Bentley incarnations. Claiming the Continental GT was “conceived to be a sporting coupe without rival,” Bentley offers a delectable combination of power, luxury, and science. Much like its owner, the Continental GT draws respect wherever it goes, for as stunning as it looks it maintains a level of grace.
Winans began to build a respectable reputation for himself straight out of high school when he produced an entire gospel album for a local group. Winans had his heart set on producing and was already dabbling in projects throughout high school. “I had produced some stuff for gospel albums when I was 14 or 15,” he said. Then, when a bigger opportunity presented itself, he took it. “It came out of nowhere; it was a blessing from God. Right out of high school, I put on a suit and was doing interviews everywhere—clothing stores, different car dealerships.”
While in Atlanta for a gospel convention, Winans met producer Dallas Austin, who recognized Winans as a musical prodigy and signed him as an in-house producer. A month later, during a conversation, Winans and Austin discovered they were cousins. “Actually, I sang a song for him. Initially I was going to sign as an artist,” Winans said. “However, I wanted to get more musical knowledge under my belt.”
Winans’ repute grew over time as he continued to produce and write songs for marquee artists such as R Kelly. After some persuasion, Winans finally gave some thought to the notion of becoming a solo recording artist. However, when his project with Motown Records (Story of my Heart) slowed to a crawl, he called upon a friend who had connections with P. Diddy. Within a week, Winans was officially a BadBoy, and after much planning and hard work, he released his first album, Hurt No More (BadBoy, 2004).