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Mario Mendell Winans (born August 29, 1974) is an American R&B producer, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist best known for his 2004 song "I Don't Wanna Know", which reached number 2 in the United States and number 1 in the United Kingdom. Winans also won a Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance for co-writing CeCe Winans's song "Pray".
Mario Winans was born in Orangeburg, South Carolina but grew up in Detroit. He is a member of gospel music's most notable family, the Winans, being the son of Marvin Winans and Vickie Winans. He is also the nephew of gospel singers BeBe Winans and CeCe Winans.
Winans started out learning music in school learning piano, keyboards, and drums. His mother Vicki Winans bought him a roomful of recording equipment, and he learnt the function of every piece of equipment. He started producing gospel groups straight out of high school and soon accumulated credits for Fred Hammond, The Anointed, and the Clark Sisters as well as various Winans family member albums.
In the mid-1990's, he signed a production deal with Dallas Austin's Rowdy Records. His breakthrough came with credits on the tracks "I Can't Sleep Baby" and "You Remind Me Of Something" on R. Kelly's R. Kelly album in 1995. Work with Pebbles and 98 Degrees soon followed.
Winans released his debut album Story of my Heart on Motown in 1997. While the song "Don't Know" reached the U.S. R&B top 50, the album failed to chart.
Soon after, Winans teamed up with P. Diddy and his Bad Boy roster. His first work with Bad Boy was playing drums on "Come With Me" in 1998 by Diddy and Jimmy Page, based on the classic Led Zeppelin song "Kashmir" from their 1975 album Physical Graffiti.
Over the past few years, Winans has racked a sizeable list of production credits for Bad Boy artists including Diddy, The Notorious B.I.G., Lil' Kim, Faith Evans, Loon, Black Rob, and 112. He has also worked with notable artists outside Bad Boy including Mary J. Blige, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Tamia, and Brian McKnight.
Winans co-wrote the 2-part song "I Need a Girl" with P. Diddy and appeared on the "Pt. 2" version with Loon, Ginuwine, and Diddy, which became a hit recording in 2002. He also produced the Bad Boy remix compilation We Invented The Remix in 2002.
Winans recorded his second album Hurt No More in 2001, 2002, and 2003 in between his busy schedule working with other artists. The album is based on stories of love and betrayal.
The first single "I Don't Wanna Know" was based on a sample of the Fugees' 1996 hit single "Ready Or Not", which itself was based on a slowed-down sample of the instrumental track "Boadicea" by Enya from her 1987 self-titled album. Enya and her representatives became annoyed since Winans did not seek her approval for the sample, as he was unaware that the Fugees sample he had used had itself been a sample. So, a compromise was reached to credit the single as "Mario Winans featuring P. Diddy and Enya". . The song features a rap by P. Diddy and radio programmers and club DJs started playing the track when it started appearing on mixtapes. The song was released as the single in early 2004 and became a worldwide hit going to #1 in Germany and on the rhythmic top 40 radio chart in the United States; to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, on the U.S. R&B/Hip-Hop singles chart, and on the world internet download charts; and to #3 on a composite world R&B chart (based on the R&B charts in the U.S., UK, Germany, France, and Australia) and on both the Australian and Norwegian singles charts. It also reached the top ten on a composite European singles chart.
Hurt No More was released on April 20, 2004 in the U.S. and, by early June 2004, had reached #1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, #2 on the Billboard 200, and #3 on the UK's album chart.
The album's second single, "Never Really Was", used a sample of the orchestrated beginning of Madonna's 1986 hit, "Papa Don't Preach", as its background music. However, the song failed to chart in America.
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