Episode 12: Out The Mud & Self-Made with Actor, Recording Artist , & Entrepreneur, Mario Canon


Peter “Chappy” Meyerhoff sits down with Mario Canon, a rap artist and an actor. Born in Springfield, Illinois, he currently resides in Lincoln where he runs his own independent entertainment company, Star Power The Elites. In November 2020, he was named Best Actor in The 48 Hour Film Project in Chicago.

Star Power The Elites, along with Mario’s own music, has the newer generations squarely in mind. He believes that it is important for the youth to have role models, and so he makes it a point to avoid profanity in his music. Truly dedicated to paying it forward, he is involved with a number of local initiatives outside of his art, including fundraisers and toy drives.

Mario grew up living a “double life” and, as a teenager, he had no aspirations besides accumulating money and earning respect on the street. It was only when his son was born later on when Mario realized that he needed to live for people other than himself.

While working at AT&T one day, he was offered an opportunity to work for free at a local gym. Motivated by opportunity, he made the jump and eventually bought that same gym. He began networking and enjoying a new lease on life defined by service to others.

All that time, Mario was still sleeping on an air mattress in an empty home, squeezing in whatever time he had left over to continue building his career as a rapper and actor.

Mario goes on to share how he finally found that momentum that allowed him to share the stage with industry legends (Twista and Bow Wow among them), while building a number of successful businesses all the while. He preaches gratitude, honesty, and being unashamed about wanting more out of life while never forgetting to thank God for the gifts one is currently enjoying.

Connect with Mario Canon:

Connect with Peter Meyerhoff:

Topics Discussed:

  • [01:44] Mario’s backstory and early struggles
  • [12:16] Building his music and acting career
  • [14:48] How Mario got the opportunity to work with Twista and other big names
  • [22:18] Why Mario doesn’t regret the many challenges he had to face in his past
  • [24:19] Rubbing shoulders with even more celebrity rappers as an independent artist
  • [28:14] Waking up grateful, everyday
  • [32:34] What music means to Mario
  • [35:09] Mario’s goals for 2022
  • [36:28] Mario’s advice to those struggling right now

Key Quotes:

  • What turned things around for me was working hard, alone, and not being able to get that fast money. Seeing people laugh at me, I needed that, because I wasn’t “the man” no more like I was in the street. That humbled me.
  • God gave me breath. Everyday I wake up and my arms and legs are working, and my brain’s working. I'm thankful. I thank God that I have my limbs. A lot of people take stuff for granted.
  • I can stop doing this music stuff right now and say that I made it. I was on the biggest stages. I was with the legends. I’ve seen kids smile. I’ve made a difference. I was able to provide for my family. I don’t have to have ten Lamborghinis. I want them. But if I don’t get them, I don’t care.
  • Music is the instrument that bridges the gap between generations.
  • If I take care of my business, my business will take care of me.