By Megan Wadding, October 2015 Issue.
Dario, the single-named pop singer and songwriter hailing from Tucson, released his latest album this spring and is currently on a tour that will lead him overseas.
The Tucson native and graduate of Flowing Wells High School, who now lives in Los Angeles, Calif., said he got his start at a tiny coffee shop on Speedway Boulevard in Tucson back in 2003.
“It was going to be my very first performance ever. The coffee shop had an open-mic night and it was packed,” Dario said. “They had a capacity of maybe 200 people.”
Despite having stagefright, Dario said that when the song “Amazing Grace” was suggested to him, he jumped at the chance to perform it.
“I remember that everyone in the audience was talking, so right before I sang, I decided that I wanted to be different. When I got up to the mic, I said, ‘Alright, everybody. Shut up. I’m about to sing!’ which made everyone laugh and it broke the ice,” he said, adding that when he was finished he received a standing ovation.
Dario headed to Los Angeles in a rental car shortly after his coffee shop performance, and went on to audition for many television singing shows, including “Pop Stars” and “American Idol.”
While he did not get chosen to advance to the final rounds of the competitions, he did make it into the top 100 on American Idol that same year.
“It was really a crazy time. I actually slept on the freeway in front of a hotel in Hollywood for three days so I wouldn’t lose my place in line for ‘Pop Stars’ because there were thousands of people waiting,” he recalled. “I made it through the first two rounds and it was a really good experience. It just taught me so much.”
According to Dario, the experience of auditioning and seeing how the industry works showed him the importance of perseverance, but also that sometimes you just need to go ahead and make a big leap of faith.
“I had really just started honing by craft, but then I decided to just put out an album,” he said. “Then, really all of a sudden, I was opening for Fat Joe and Ashanti and Destiny’s Child. It was crazy.”
After officially making the move to Los Angeles in 2006, Dario began working on his first full-length album, Dedicated, which was released in 2007.
Dario said his music can’t be confined to just one genre and prides himself on his eclectic sound.
“My music really is so many things,” he said, “a little bit of R&B, a little bit of pop, a little bit of dance, a little bit of Latin. Throw them all into a blender and you get a Dario record.”
Even as a child, back in Tucson, Dario said he always knew that he wanted to be a singer.
“We were raised that we were supposed to go to school, get a job, get married, have kids and just repeat that same cycle,” he explained. “No one really says to you that you can be on television, you can be on the radio, you can be on magazine covers. So it wasn’t until I did the “Pop Stars” audition that I thought, ‘I can do this.’”
Dario said that his parents were not too happy about his decision, but that eventually they realized that college was not for everyone and were proud of his success.
Over the years, Dario’s following has grown exponentially and he is attracting crowds of more than 20,000. Dario said that, from the start, his audience has been predominantly LGBTQ.
“We didn’t market ourselves for that, but the LGBTQ community has been nothing but amazing to me,” he said. “I don’t know how it happened. My agent said a bunch of Pride [festivals] kept calling to book me, so Pride shows were about 80 percent of my last tour. It was amazing. I loved it.”
Dario, who was featured on Echo’s cover in September 2011, said that the LGBTQ community could possibly be drawn to the things he sings about, such as self-love and overcoming hardships.
“In my music I’m always talking about being yourself and loving yourself exactly the way that you are. And I think the LGBTQ community especially knows a lot about that, because it’s been hard,” he said. “But, as a community, they’re making huge strides, like how we just legalized gay marriage. Now it’s just marriage! It’s really amazing.”
Dario’s newest album, Revolution (Deluxe), was received with rave reviews earlier this year.
While his tour is currently heading to Asia, Dario said he would love to come home to Tucson, both to visit and to perform. The last time he had the time to come back was in 2012.
“A lot of fans from Arizona, and especially my friends and family keep asking when I’ll be coming back. I’m hoping soon. I’ve been so busy, but I would love to come home,“ he said. “I’m really just a kid from Tucson who wanted to sing and be on stage and move people with my music. I never actually believed it was possible, but here I am.”
For more information on Dario, visit darioonline.com.
A Revolutionary Release
Family and creative collaborations inspire Dario’s new album
With a decade in the music business and six albums to his name, Tucson native and pop singer Dario released his latest full-length album, Revolution (Deluxe), May 5.
Revolution is the deluxe release of Dario’s six track Evolution EP, which he released last year.
The new album’s first single, “Backlash,” broke the Top 40 snatching the #28 slot on the National Independent Digital Radio Chart in its first week and his second single, “Save You,” made the Billboard Top 40 dance chart July 2.
“I’m really proud of this album,” Dario said. “I wanted to create a love revolution where everyone just gets along with each other. Stop talking bad about one another and stop being jealous. I wanted to bring people together. Hopefully that’s what we’re doing.”
Like his previous album, Revolution also features songs in “Spanglish.”
“Spanish was my first language. I’m Mexican and it is part of my culture,” Dario said, adding that the album was specifically written for his father. “My dad speaks Spanish mostly. I’ve also always wanted to make a record for him. And on this record, I’m really getting into it.”
According to Dario, his process for songwriting probably differs from most musicians, who tend to create more organically.
“I set a timeline. That’s just me. I gave myself seven months to do this album”, he explained.
Additionally, Dario said that this is only the second project that’s involved collaborating with other songwriters. All previous songs were written solely by him.
“When I was writing my last record, I had just one writer come in to help me,” Dario said. “I really liked the experience. I realized that there are so many points of views out there. When you bring in other creative minds, it makes your project so much better. So for this album, I brought in three other writers and it was amazing.”
Revolution debuted at No. 1 on Amazon’s digital sales and held its place for three consecutive days.
“The response has been amazing,” Dario said. “I met so many fans on tour. The meet and greets were amazing. It’s all been so fun.”