Conversations With Dr. Mario Guthrie

Samantha: [00:00:09, ] Hi. This is Samantha and welcome to The Layman’s Doctor Podcast where we’re Bringing Medicine Home. Now, we’re still practicing social distancing. So we are recording online and I have a special guest with me, Dr. Mario Guthrie. And we’ll be talking about him and his journey and all the fancy things that he’s doing. And, of course, like in all my podcasts, the guests introduces theirself.

Mario: [00:00:41] All right. My name is Dr. Mario Evon Guthrie and I am a medical doctor and a recording artiste, but also a bunch of other things too, like a podcaster, event host, TV host. I pretty much summarize it by saying I’m a creative who’s an academic and my academia is Medicine. And my creativity spans anything from singing to photography, writing. I love all things creative. And as a human, I’d just say that I’m a lover of life and trying to help people move from one place to the next in their journey. Or help them realize it.

Samantha: [00:01:16] Yes. So if you don’t know Mario, I don’t know what is happening because you’re everywhere. And I think that I– I think I knew you first as a singer before I knew you were a doctor, I’m not sure.

Mario: [00:01:35] That wouldn’t be unusual.

Samantha: [00:01:37] Yeah. And then I met you a few times and– I don’t know. I don’t remember at what point I knew you were a doctor. Maybe when I followed you on social media, but–

Mario: [00:01:47] I think I started to push a little more on social on the medical side because I have two profiles. And I think maybe that was it. Yeah.

Samantha: [00:01:53] And that was tricky because I was like, “Okay, he has–” I think one is like Mario Evon, and then one is–

Mario: [00:01:59] One is Mario Evon, yeah.

Samantha: [00:02:01] The other one is Dr. Mario Guthrie. I’m like, “Wait, are these two the same person?

Mario: [00:02:06] I wonder if people have difficulty recognizing that at first or it’s obvious to them. I don’t know.

Samantha: [00:02:11] I don’t know and I– I don’t know. I remember when my personal profile and The Layman’s Doctor were the same, right? And it really helped, for me personally, when I separated my Instagram. My Twitter isn’t separated because I don’t practice medicine privately or anything like that. So at this current moment, I still have both of them together. I think that’s if I, maybe, open up a practice or I start going private practice or whatnot–

Mario: [00:02:40] Maybe you will have other social media in– right, in another name.

Samantha: [00:02:44] But separating the Twitter– the Instagram account was very, very helpful for me.

Mario: [00:02:49] I found it too as a brand too because your brands really communicate so many different messages. And if you have like a casual message, that can go on one page. And if you have a medical message, that can go on another page.

Samantha: [00:03:01] Exactly. So when I think–

Mario: [00:03:02] For me. I don’t mind it.

Samantha: [00:03:04] So I was thinking when I wanted to post pictures of like my nails or my breakfasts or going to Cafe Blue–

Mario: [00:03:13] Or you inna dem hot shoes the other day, yeah.

Samantha: [00:03:15] Yeah. I don’t want it [laughter]– I don’t want it on The Layman’s Doctor page. I didn’t even realize how important that was.

Mario: [00:03:29] As we know though, a lot of people blend their marketing and their brand in one profile. And I mean, they are one person. So to the world, maybe the world sees it as one person. But for me professionally, I like to separate them.

Samantha: [00:03:41] Yeah, I do as well. I do as well. That’s a really interesting conversation [because I?]–

Mario: [00:03:48] Yeah, that’s a whole nother podcast.

Samantha: [00:03:50] Right? I know that you have made presentations at conferences about social media and healthcare workers.

Mario: [00:04:00] I was on a panel, yes, and this is what we spoke about. It was very interesting.

Samantha: [00:04:04] Yeah. Yeah. We should talk about that in another podcast. For real.

Mario: [00:04:07] In another podcast, right? Yeah.

Samantha: [00:04:09] So yes, I knew you as a creative first, right? And I knew you mostly as a singer, right? And when we were talking, I realized that you actually went into Berklee. Is–

Mario: [00:04:25] Yeah, I did. This is Berklee in Boston, Massachusetts. So it’s B-E-R-K-L-E-E. So contemporary music school; quite popular. And it was quite an amazing experience.

Samantha: [00:04:36] Was that before or after Med school?

Mario: [00:04:38] Was after Med school.

Samantha: [00:04:39] Wow. Okay. So let’s start from the beginning. Did you enter Medical School right after high school, or did you do something before?

Mario: [00:04:52] Well, I actually did one year of Natural Sciences and I did sixth form as well. So I did sixth form at Campion, went to one year of Nat Sci, was deferred for a year, and then did Medicine.

Samantha: [00:05:06] Okay.

Mario: [00:05:07] And then when I completed Medicine, I had internship. At the time I did Medicine, we did not have SHO. So after my internship, I went to UWI A&E for six months. And then worked at Bustamante for about a year, on contract, as a medical office, as an MO. And then I went to Berklee.

Samantha: [00:05:28] So you were at Bustamante in Pediatric Medicine or like Paedi Surgery? You just kind of glossed over that.

Mario: [00:05:34] No, I was actually in A&E. You see, things have changed so much because I think because of SHO, at lot of the doctors now end up on specialties. Not that it didn’t happen then, but I was coming from UWI A&E. So I applied for Busta A&E. So I was in Accident and Emergency for my contract. So I had always been in Busta’s A&E.

Samantha: [00:05:56] Oh, okay.

Mario:  [00:05:57] So, literally, I worked for, I would say let’s just call it two years. [Let’s say?] I work for about a year and a half to two years after internship, and then I went to Berklee.

Samantha: [00:06:08] Okay. So when you were in university, you were a part of University Singers, right? So when– or were you always a creative child, for example, always singing.

Mario: [00:06:22] Yeah. That’s a great question. I actually was. So that’s the part that’s interesting. And recently, I was on another IG live talking about going back to your childhood to figure out what your passions are. I had been singing from I was seven years old, Mona Prep choir. Then, when I went to Campion, I was on Campion College choir. Then, when I went to UWI, I was in UWI singers. And even behind all of that, I had a group of guys from Campion who we used to sing together as a boy group. And we used to cover Boyz II Men songs and NSYNC and anyting weh have harmony and include more than one male singer, we were on it.

Samantha: [00:06:58] So the 90s.

Mario: [00:07:00] The 90s and beyond. So the ironic part is that when I always talk about my journey, there’s this undercurrent and kind of underbelly of music and creativity that always existed. I was in JMTC for a minute. And I even started singing backgrounds for bigger artistes as I started to do more group gigs that were being paid. So the group would get paid to sing at events. And then I would start to do solo gigs where I was being paid to sing at weddings. So it’s like this evolution of choirboy to group singer to background singer to lead singer. And then Medical School kind of happened in that mix. And that was tricky for me because when I got into Medicine and I– actually was doing a lot of music, and I didn’t really want to do it anymore, in a way. But I had worked so hard in Nat Sci to get into Medicine that I couldn’t turn back. I didn’t feel like I could turn back at a time.

Samantha: [00:07:55] I remember one thing that my mother said to me when I was in Med School when I told her I didn’t want to do Medicine anymore; I wanted to do something else. She said to me, “You know you can always do it either with it or after it.” And I guess at the time, I thought she was just like being– “Why are saying this to me? I told you I don’t want to do this anymore.” But also, it’s also true where a lot of persons have just kind of finished the degree, still work in medicine, but also go on to do other things.

And then I want to touch on the point. I really, really like what you just said a while ago when you said going back to your childhood to find your passions. And I think that’s really helpful for a lot of us because I don’t know if you get stuck in this mundane: you go to school, you get a degree, you go to work. And it’s almost as if you look up and it’s couple years later and you’re just thinking to yourself, “What did I do with my life?”

Mario: [00:08:53] It’s The Matrix. Which pill did I take? I don’t know. It’s crazy.

Samantha: [00:08:56] Yes. So I know a lot of persons, including myself, are thinking, “Okay, what is it that I like to do? What is it that I want to do?” And I do realize that I’m really going back to things that I enjoyed when I was younger. I used to be really into blogging when I was in high school, and now I’m back at it, making little videos and cooking, stuff like that. And I kind of just stop doing that in adulthood. And now, you’re just a little maybe stress out or you want some relief, and you just go back to things that used to make you happy when you were younger.

Mario: [00:09:35] Well, Sam, I mean, look at yourself now. What you’re doing right now is truly a manifestation of all of that. From the day you created The Layman’s Doctor, you were really pushing out yourself as a writer, as a thought leader, as someone who can communicate to the people. It really was you as a communication specialist, but maybe you hadn’t seen it that way because in your mind, you’re a doctor. But this is you writing, this is you being a media host, this is you doing all of these other things.

But sometimes we don’t really recognize them as such because we feel that we need to be trained or– I don’t know. We have all these other blocks that come up that tell us that we’re not doing what we think we are. But that’s just exactly what you’re doing. Because how I remember you too, I didn’t even know you were Mio’s sister because I know your sister. I saw the resemblance one day and I remember seeing you maybe in Sovereign in a parking lot.

Samantha: [00:10:19] Yes, it was Sovereign.  

Mario:  [00:10:19] I remember I was saying, “Yow, Miossoty ah yuh sista?” And you were like, “Yeah.” Because you guys look alike. But that aside, I had seen The Layman’s Doctor on Twitter too. So I had all these different associations with you that weren’t necessarily tied to you being a doctor or– it was interesting. I picked up on you in different places as well, like you did for me.

Samantha: [00:10:42] That’s really great. For real, for real. I’m here blushing. So I’m stuttering because I was like, “Okay.”

Mario: [00:10:50] No, but it’s good though because I want your listeners who are doctors–because a lot of people will tell you that they don’t know what their passion is or they’ve only liked Medicine and they can’t do anything else. And I don’t believe that’s true. I mean, some people love Medicine though, Sam. So the truth is that’s all they want to do and that’s all they’ve wanted to do. And I think they’re very well-aligned if you feel that way.

I struggled with Medicine all the time and wanting to do it. It was never something I wanted to do all my life. I just did the Sciences, have a father who is a doctor. They didn’t force me, but by transitivity, Caribbean culture, thinking about doing a stable job, I could not figure out what else I really thought I wanted to do as I moved along on the journey. So when I did it at the time, I felt it was right. And that’s really the only answer I can give people. Nobody held a knife or a gun to my head. But at the time when I was doing it, “Okay, finished Nat Sci, let’s do Medicine.” And that was that. It was that simple.

Samantha: [00:11:44] I really do think a lot of persons are– when they hear that, they’re just nodding and saying, “Yes, I identify with this. This is how I feel,” because, yes, there are persons– I know persons who were like, “Yes, I know I want to do Surgery from the day I was born to now, and that’s what I’m going to do. But a lot of us are just like, “Boy, I don’t know why I did it. It just kind of happened. I got accepted and I finished.”

Mario: [00:12:09] Right. We’re just walking down the path that society told us to walk down: high school, UWI, stable job, doctor, engineer, Indian chief, whatever. And we walked. And then, we ended up in these jobs and sometimes we’re not fulfilled. And we do them well. The issue is not with how capable you are. You have smart, intelligent, capable people. But if you really dig deep into their souls, they’re not happy. Some of them.

Samantha: [00:12:35] Exactly.

Mario: [00:12:36] And that’s the battle.

Samantha: [00:12:37] I’m just really on that point of going back to your childhood passion. I think that’s my– I think that is going to be my takeaway from the entire pod.   

Mario: [00:12:45] Yeah man. Yeah. No, it is an awesome point and we see it repeat in a lot of entrepreneurial books where they try to get you to find your why. And they do that because as a child, you’re totally not affected by society. You’re disinhibited or uninhibited. So how you express is really very authentic. And then you start to believe what people tell you you should be doing. And then you start to get messed up and conflict. And then all sorts of things happen.

Samantha: [00:13:11] That’s true. This is the perfect segue into then, after a year and a half or two years of working post-internship, what made you say, “Okay, I’m going to take the step and I’m going to go and study contemporary music in Boston”?

Mario: [00:13:34] Well, what had been happening, as I’d mentioned before, the music was always going on and the entertainment was always going on. So that was great. But my next step at this point would have been to specialize. I could have either remained an MO and just kept working, but I figured what next? Specialize. I remember a nurse saying to me, “Dr. Guthrie, what yuh waan du or what yuh going specialize in?” And my answer was, “I want to do music.” And she laughed at me. But I mean, the passion in me for music was like when mi seh it high enuh, it tun up because I’m here. I sing background for Alaine one two time. Mi sing fah different artiste here and there. Like I really doing a lot of music on the side. And this is all I can think about. I wake up and think about it.

So somebody, I think Mr. Dexter from University Singers who is now deceased, he had suggested Berklee. He was like, “You know, it’s a really good music school.” And I asked other people in music and they were like, “Yeah man, Berklee College of Music, man. It’s good. So I looked into it and when I looked at the school, it was perfect. I call it rock band for music. So you know you have your Juilliards which are classical music, but then you have Berklee which is like gospel, R&B, rock. Jazz is a big part of their foundation. And then I was like, “This is perfect. This is it. Let me see if I can get into this school.”

And part of it was to learn more so I could set up myself to do better. And part of it was validation as well because I knew if I got into Berklee, one of the best contemporary schools in the world, it would validate that I was good, and I don’t feel like I necessarily was getting enough of that validation in the Jamaican music industry. So it had a double purpose for me and ends up being one of the best experiences of my life that I never ever regret doing.

Samantha: [00:15:16] I’m just here nodding along. I think when you said the question, “What are you going to specialize in?” I was just like, yes, every day. I swear almost every day, “Oh, what you going to do, Samantha?” I think we get bombarded by that question. And it’s so– it’s very stressful or it creates high anxiety.

Mario: [00:15:38] It’s overwhelming, yeah.  

Samantha: [00:15:41] Especially if you don’t know what you want to do or you’re not sure. 

Mario: [00:15:45] Exactly. And it’s like when you just get married and in two two, dem ah ask yuh when yuh ah get pregnant. Gimme a break. Isn’t getting a medical degree enough? Isn’t finding a partner and getting married enough? Why do I now have to have a baby? And you have one and then they want to know when yuh getting the next one. So we have to be so careful about how we set expectations for ourselves versus the expectations that others set for us.

So I decided I was okay being a GP who’s a musician. And I chose this path and I’m here and I sit in it. And I’m comfortable with it because, at the end of the day, I don’t see myself going back to specialize. And that’s just for me. I don’t see myself being happy doing 24-hour duties now. I don’t see myself– I don’t really see a specialty that pulls me into want to spend another four to six years in school again. No, I don’t. So I am going to lay in this bed and make it work.

Samantha: [00:16:40] Exactly. And I don’t think people realize that it’s okay to not want to specialize. And it’s also okay to do something else as well.

Mario: [00:16:49] Exactly.

Samantha: [00:16:50] But I think a lot of times, we think that, “Oh, I’m interested in this.” Say, for example, as you say– you described me as communications, media, whatever, and I’m just– I never even thought– again, I never thought of those kinds of words to describe what I’m doing and–

 Mario: [00:17:07] That’s what yuh doing.

Samantha: [00:17:11] So I think a lot of times, we’re trying to figure out, “Okay, but what else can I do?” And you’re right. You’re thinking, “I don’t have the certification or I don’t have the degree. That’s not that I studied. Am I just going to be a doctor?” And sometimes, we don’t know how to navigate turning those skills that we have into a source of income.

Mario: [00:17:33] I agree. And I mean, sometimes you just have the gift, you know. Sometimes, it’s not even about training; sometimes, you just have it. And I think the key is to acknowledge that you have it. And that’s the hardest part because if you don’t recognize that you have it, then you’ll always feel like you’re an amateur. But some people have it. There are people who take pictures with a phone and when you look at the composition of the picture, you’re like, “But damn, your eye is great.” There’s just some people who can look at a color palette and put things together and you’re great at decorating a room. But you don’t have a degree, but you just have it. [And you?] can’t explain that. That’s just gift.

Samantha: [00:18:07] That’s really true. But one thing though that I like, I noticed that you only had internship and you didn’t have the SHO year.

Mario: [00:18:15] No, I didn’t.

Samantha: [00:18:15] And I also spoke to someone else who didn’t have the SHO year and I now realize I’m grateful for the SHO year because– in the sense that not everyone when they finish MBBS knows what they want to do. And yes, we do internship in our four core specialties, right? But then SHO gives you an opportunity to say, “Oh, I like ENT, but let me do two or three months in ENT and see if I really, really do like it before taking that plunge and applying for a program and then– or signing that MO contract for three years,” because I think our contracts are three now and realize–

Mario:  [00:19:00] Right. Right.  And you get locked in.

Samantha: [00:19:03] Yeah. And realizing that you hate it. So I don’t remember if it’s the SHO year that was getting fight out or the Primary Care aspect of it, but I like the fact that I can go through various specialties–

Mario: [00:19:17] After your internship.

Samantha: [00:19:19] Yeah. And see what I like.

Mario: [00:19:19] I think it’s a great idea. I mean, it’s like– I wouldn’t call it a gap year, but it’s almost like another internship year, but to do other things. So I like the idea of it.

Samantha: [00:19:31] Exactly.

Mario: [00:19:32] Yeah, no, it’s a great idea. And I think it works well in the long run because you probably save time because some people might think, “I don’t need to do this.” But I think the time you get to taste the different things and decide what you really like, you can be more focused, you know?

Samantha: [00:19:45] Exactly. And if you do find something you like, you can speak with your HOD or your SMO and see if they’re willing to extend your time.

Mario:  [00:19:54] To keep you, right. Right. Right.

Samantha: [00:19:56] And it really helps with– well, I think it helps with, if not strengthening your application, but strengthening your experience while doing the program because you already have this behind you. You already know how to do certain things, especially if you’re training in a hospital farther from Kingston where you’re more hands-on than anything.

Mario: [00:20:17] You said that so diplomatically. I really respect that. Well, long and short, anybody know seh when yuh ah du Medicine inna Jamaica– and it’s not illegal family, but you will end up doing some things as a junior staff member that you would never do in the United States. Let’s just leave it right there.

Samantha: [00:20:36] Or even at UWI because I find that–

Mario: [00:20:38] Or even at UWI, right.

Samantha: [00:20:40] –when you have more persons being trained, it’s harder to get experience. So a lot of times people will say, especially for Surgery or any kind of Surgical specialty, if you want to get hands-on experience, maybe do MO for a year– SHO and  MO for a year or two in that specialty, hone on your surgical skills, apply for the program, and then just focus on the academics. And you won’t kind of have to be going back to Med School. You know when you’re at UWI and you’re trying to– I don’t know how many people were in your class, but you’re trying to get all your procedures done and it’s a little bit hard.

Mario: [00:21:14] No, unnu have it rough. Unnu have it rough. I mean, I was in a– I was in the 100 class era. You guys are now in the 300 class era, 300 people per class era. I can’t understand what it’s like to have 300 people in a class trying to do the same thing.

Samantha: [00:21:29] Yeah. They’ve tried to, by increasing the amount of places we can go to, to lessen it. But then it also means that when I finished Med School and my friend finishes Med School, sometimes we’ve had different experiences.

Mario: [00:21:45] Totally different experiences, right? I mean, when I left KPH, dem did have mi ah cut off diabetic toe and put in chest tube and– there’s so many things that I had to do alone. Or not alone, but they showed you once or twice, and then they would tell you to do it. And I’m just like, “Okay.” Or you assist in a surgery– no, I never got to do surgeries, but I know people who worked in, as you say, rural hospitals, who were doing big surgeries.

Samantha: [00:22:13] Yeah. You kind of have to– you end up having to step up a lot.

Mario: [00:22:17] You have to step up when you’re the one.

Samantha: [00:22:21] And I mean, you’re always making sure you’re safe, and I’m hoping that most persons, if they’re not confident in doing it, they still speak up.

Mario: [00:22:30] Of course. Don’t do anything that you’re not comfortable doing, right?

Samantha: [00:22:32] Exactly. But even with my experience– I have friends who have done internship in really rural parishes and their experience from mine is completely different because I was like, I thought I was doing a lot of stuff. When it’s one intern, one or two MOs, and then you have your consultant, it’s really– you really have to pick up. But then you end up learning to manage patients. You end up learning to do procedures, and it can help you further on.

Mario: [00:23:07] You know what? I glad that you said that because I was going to add that as much as I have battled with being a multipotentialite, as they call it, Medicine has taught me so many things. From patience to time management to, just, good customer service, human interaction, empathy. The things you get from Medicine, I feel, are so big. I rate doctors. I rate my colleagues. I think we have a very unique job, and it is a special job. I can’t lie. It is a very special, special job.

Samantha: [00:23:45] And I think the argument to say that we’re so specialized and we can’t transfer skills to other industries is not true because, listen, you just spoke about customer service, you spoke about empathy, communication. Those are things that if you want to be a good doctor or a great doctor, the soft skills part of it, you really have to work on it. And then you also have the opportunity to use your hands, and that can help you with just solving different problems, being analytical, things like that. So I don’t agree when people say, “Oh, Medicine is super specialized. You can’t do anything else because you have an MBBS.”

Mario: [00:24:26] No man, highly transferable. And I would say, just that some doctors just were not trained or just naturally don’t have very good soft skills. And I think that’s when the complaints come up. But otherwise, I would say we have a lot of skills in Medicine embedded in the practice and the career.  

Samantha: [00:24:44] Exactly. So when did you– going back to you, I know you have an album, so we have to plug that.

Mario: [00:24:51] Yes, we do. So the album is Reggae-Soul Volume 1: ME on Love. And I released it in 2015. And I would say the short lead-up to that is once you hit music school, you really start to develop a musical identity. When you see my pictures of entering Berklee, my hair was cut low, low, low. I used to tell people I look like a little schoolboy, like a bank teller. And that was in January of ‘07. And then by the time I got to– by 2008, I was growing my fro and I say I going use my first and my middle name. I was Mario Evon and the music was going to be R&B and reggae fusion, which is what it is. And all of these ideas and stuff started to really come to light.

And by 2015, I had an album which had songs that I’d written long time ago and new songs. And it was all about love and the journey of like love from meeting someone to even wanting to propose to them to– a bag ah tings. And it was just one of the greatest highlights of my musical life to date. And I’m proud of it. And I recorded some of it in the US, recorded some of it in Jamaica using local musicians and school musicians from Berklee. And trust me, that was a great learning experience. I probably transferred some Medicine there, organizing people and time and schedules and recording in the studio and– it’s a lot, but it was worth it.

Samantha: [00:26:18] Where can we get it? Where can we stream?

Mario: [00:26:23] My album is available on all streaming platforms such as iTunes, TIDAL, Google, anywhere. You’ll find it. Spotify. It’s everywhere and you can purchase it on iTunes or Amazon MP3, wherever you want it to go. But anywhere that has online distribution, you can find it. And it’s also on YouTube, on my YouTube page,, and on SoundCloud too. So, yeah, there are options. There’re free options, paid options, streaming options. Give it a listen.

Samantha: [00:26:53] So I’ve realized that– I don’t know because I think I– how long have I been following you for? You know when you follow people and you just kind of pay attention to their page? Because I have my various role models in the Jamaican social media space or just the media space, and I really like that– what’s the word? You have to say it again.

Mario: [00:27:19] Multipotentialite

Samantha: [00:27:21] Multipotentialite, yes.

Mario: [00:27:23] Yes [laughter]. [inaudible].

Samantha: [00:27:26] I follow your social media a lot, Terri-Karelle’s a lot.

Mario: [00:27:32] Yeah. Terri is nice, yeah.  

Samantha: [00:27:34] Kalilah Reynolds.

Mario:  [00:27:36] Yeah, she’s [crosstalk].

Samantha: [00:27:36] I really like it. And then I focused– now, lately, I’ve been focusing a lot on following female influencers who kind of aren’t doing things that they’re necessarily trained to do, aka like have a degree. You can’t see me doing air quotes, so. That’s what I mean. And it really helps you because now you kind of see– you’re seeing other persons do it. So you’re realizing, oh, but I don’t– I can do these things too. And then the most important thing is all of these people, including you, are super approachable.

Mario: [00:28:15] Wow. Right. They seem like good people, right?

Samantha: [00:28:18] Yeah. I think everybody who I’ve named, I’ve spoken to them.

Mario: [00:28:21] You’ve spoken to them at some point, right, because they’re normal people.  

Samantha: [00:28:23] Yeah. You can go up to them, and I remember a lot of my older mentors will say, “Just reach out to people who are doing things that you want to do and speak to them. Ask them questions,” and whatnot. And it’s always so intimidating because you’re thinking, “No, they won’t answer my–”

Mario: [00:28:41] They’re too busy. They don’t—

Samantha: [00:28:43]     Yes.

Mario: [00:28:43] And sometimes, people are overwhelmed and it is difficult to respond. But you’d be surprised how happy they are to help you.

Samantha: [00:28:51] Exactly. So I say, “Shoot your shot. Send your DM, tell them– I don’t know, but I’ve found that a lot of [inaudible] persons are actually really approachable, and–

Mario: [00:29:05] It’s a small country and we are nice people. But let me tell you something; I will add an addendum to shoot your shot because I have also been on the receiving end and I see Terri comment on this sometimes too, of people who introduce themself in very unprofessional ways and maybe for– maybe not good intent either. So if you’re going to reach out to somebody who you think may be able to help them, just do it with a certain amount of respect. Be very focused, respectful. Be focused. Ask them something direct. Don’t just say, “Hey,” and leave it there dry because nobody has time to respond to a, “Hey.”

Samantha: [00:29:41] Wow.

Mario: [00:29:41] Yeah. And people do that because they’re not really trying to talk to you for any specific reason. They just want to know you. And that’s not enough. Say what you want. Ask for what you want.

Samantha: [00:29:52] I didn’t even think that something like that needed to be said. That’s so–

Mario: [00:29:58] It didn’t need to be– it doesn’t need to be said. But as you can imagine, when you look at people like a Terri or a Tami or a Kalilah, as they become more visible in the public eye, people magnetize to them. And you’re going to have your variety of people trying to reach out. And trust me, they come– some ah dem just come incorrect.

Samantha: [00:30:16]     Wow.

Mario: [00:30:17] So yeah, I am throwing it at the people who come incorrect [inaudible] you– and you really need to dress up yuh ting.

Samantha: [00:30:23] Exactly. Exactly. I agree.

Mario: [00:30:26] Because trust me, as busy as they look, they are, which means they don’t really have time. So if it’s going to stand out in the crowd, it needs to stand out. That’s all I’ll say.

Samantha: [00:30:35] I love the “they”, like you’re not a part of this group, podcast– that’s the thing, we don’t even talk about your podcast. We don’t even talk about your YouTube channels.

Mario: [00:30:49] Where I thought you were evolving with this was, I thought you’re going to say that you love to see how these people had evolved in the– evolved. And I would say that I loved watching them evolve too because Tami became my friend through my podcast and I had dreamed of doing a podcast with her. And literally, someone told her about my podcast. She listened to it. She liked it. And she DM’ed me. That’s how–

Samantha: [ 00:31:12] Wow.

Mario: [00:31:12] That’s how Tami ended up on my podcast. And I was totally floored. And then once we met, it was weird. We just had this really great connection. And then after that, it was that. It was like we were friends from long time, but we weren’t. Yeah. So that was weird. And then from the podcasting, she moved to radio, and then she moved to Meet the Mitchells, which has like over 80,000 subscribers. All of this has happened maybe not even two years good. That’s amazing.

Samantha: [00:31:36] Yeah. No, but Tami– she has a way– I’ve gone to an event where she’s spoken at. Her energy is just light, positivity.

Mario: [00:31:44] Her energy is– yeah.  It’s [crosstalk].

Samantha: [00:31:48] I love her from her– 

Mario: [00:31:48] Yeah, she’s special. She’s special.

Samantha: [00:31:49] –singing days. I used to sing her songs when I was in high school and jamming to them. And then it’s really nice. And what I like now is that a lot of our influencers are sharing their own journeys and more outspoken about it. And I am all for that.

Mario: [00:32:10] Yeah, because it feels very uplifting. I don’t know. The space feels a little different with the type of influencers that I’m seeing now. I not going lie– or how they’re choosing to share.

Samantha:  [00:32:20] Exactly.

Mario: [00:32:20] So it’s kind of nice. I agree. I like it. It’s a good energy.

Samantha: [00:32:24] I think for me, it mek it seem like dem neva bawn big. 

Mario: [00:32:28] No. Right. No, Yuh finally seeing all of the truths and the real life underneath it, yeah.

Samantha: [00:32:36] And it personalizes it and it makes you realize– because even listening to your story, to bring it back, it’s like, okay, I can have a passion for something, do Medicine, and still be successful in that passion, and know that I don’t have to be perfect from the get-go. It’s always changing and evolving. Because even when you talk about your hair, like you’re known for having blond, curly, really nicely groomed hair.

Mario: [00:33:01] All sort ah hairstyle. Dem change all the time. I’m looking for what’s next actually.

Samantha: [00:33:06]     Really? Because I feel like I only know the blond hair. I need to be going through your– scrolling through your social media.

Mario: [00:33:11] No. The blond hair was just for two weeks, but I did a photo shoot, so I’ve just been milking them for my promos. But I’ve had cane rows, a high-top fade, blond hair, the full afro, the side shave. It’s been through some phases.

Samantha: [00:33:25] Wow. I met you with blond hair.

Mario: [00:33:28] You met me with blond hair? Wow.

Samantha:  [00:33:29]    I just remember it being like– I just remember thinking, “Wow, his hair is always so nice and curly.”  

Mario: [00:33:36] It must have been Christmas then.

Samantha: [00:33:38] What [inaudible] is happening? Yeah. Just even small things like that, talking about the fact that you didn’t– you evolved into your identity and your brand is evolving and continues to evolve.

Mario: [ 00:33:55] It continues to evolve, yeah. [crosstalk]–

Samantha: [00:33:57] I feel like I said “involve”, but I meant “evolve”.

Mario: [00:34:00] Both ah dem, Sam. Both ah dem. It involve and it evolve.

Samantha:  [00:34:04]    But for real, it’s really inspiring and I’m glad that I get to– a lot of this is out of my own curiosity too. But I’m glad that I get to share. And lately, I’ve been getting DMs like, “Oh my God, I love this.” My podcast with Dr. Strachan has been like the most listened to–

Mario: [00:34:27] It’s been hot?

Samantha: [00:34:29] Yeah, the most listened to one. And people have been DMing me–

Mario: [00:34:31] [crosstalk]–

Samantha: [00:34:34]     –and saying just like, “I love this. Thank you so much for this.” It’s almost as if people are waiting for information on what can I do? How can I access these things?

Mario: [00:34:45] Well, welcome to the podcasting world, my friend. And you know what? I think what you’re got to realize is that the more you share– at first, you were doing it out of an idea you had in your heart to share, but then when you see how it impacts people, it’s going to– as it is, it blows your mind. Podcasting for me has been such a special space. I’m not going lie. I had no idea it would have evolved into what it became. And the best part is this: this interaction that we’re having now, is like you’re networking. With each guest, you are networking with your guest, and your listeners are also getting to meet this person and meet you again in a new light.

Samantha: [00:35:19] Exactly.

Mario: [00:35:20] Trust me. It nice.

Samantha: [00:35:22] That’s true. That’s true. That’s true. And I don’t know, I just always– I think someone asked me, “What are you going to podcast about? What is your podcast about?” And I just said, “You know, honestly, it’s about whatever I want it to be.”

Mario: [ 00:35:36] Right, right, right. Yeah.

Samantha: [00:35:38]     So it’s what interests me, things that I want to hear. And so it’s always been hard. Like, “What are you going to talk about?” And I just–

Mario: [00:35:47] But you found a niche though. You’re creating a space for people who are in the field, who need some encouragement, who need to hear somebody else’s story so that they don’t feel like they’re in the dark.

Samantha: [00:35:58] Exactly.

Mario: [00:35:58] Because trust me, sometimes you feel like you going to just– there’s somebody who’s going to hear this who may find a new passion, may even quit Medicine and do something else that they’re more successful in. Or go on to specialize. I don’t know.

Samantha: [00:36:11] That’s true because when you’re talking to me, the same epiphanies that I’m having, someone else might be having them and even more.

Mario: 00:36:23 Exactly.

Samantha: [00:36:23] And just listening– because I love that feel when you’re sitting down and you feel like you’re having the conversation with them. And you’re just like, “Wait.” Because sometimes I listen to– I love podcasts that when I listen– and it reminds me of your podcast with Karen Carpenter. That’s my favorite podcast. I was listening to it and I was just saying, “Yes,” and I was talking you know. I was talking like you guys are there. And I just loved it. That’s my favorite–

Mario: [00:36:53] I think that one just had a great flow because of Karen’s energy. And I think we just worked well together. So I have a friend of mine who messaged me and said, “Yow, mi did tink yuh did smart before yuh nuh, but afta dat podcast, yuh know seh yuh smart?” And I said [inaudible], “You’re a mess.”

Samantha: [00:37:06] Yeah, I really loved that episode. And I just love that vibe that when I can be sitting down and listening and I’m saying, “Yes man. Yes.” And it’s like, I don’t know, I feel like I’m in the room with you. I really love that vibe. I really love that vibe.

Mario: [00:37:22] Sam, I wanted to interject. I wanted to comment on evolution and patience, those are two interesting qualities. I just want to remind people listening to remember to be patient and go and flow. There’s something called flow. Don’t rush everything. Sometimes, some things just have to happen in their own time. And I’ll just use a few examples for me, which would be being asked to be a guest on CVM at Sunrise and doing it two or three times back to back, and then becoming a host on the show for a year and a half.

Listening to podcasts and loving them, then thinking, “Hey, I want to be the voice or– for Talk Truth. I want to talk about things that are taboo and people are afraid to talk about in a comfortable space. And then starting it, and then developing a following. None of these things were planned, but they’re things that happened. And I don’t regret them. And they’ve just really added a lot of value. So I just want to encourage people to be open and to be patient with themselves and to sometimes just allow it to happen. Whatever that means to them, but–

Samantha: [00:38:25] I am here they’re nodding and slow clapping because as you said that, I remembered a tweet that I made just before I went to bed saying that– I don’t think it was just before bed, but I– just literally saying, “The universe just brings things to you at the perfect timing.”

Mario: [00:38:45] Absolutely.

Samantha:  [00:38:46] And I don’t know. I–

Mario: [00:38:49] I mean, you have to put in the work. You’re putting in the work now by engaging these– your guests, like myself and [making this?] happen. So there is an element of work, but a lot of the rest sometimes just flows. 

Samantha: [00:39:03] Yeah. Now that we’re recording it, I needed this podcast at this specific time, this specific episode, because I’m getting so much out of this. You don’t even know. You don’t even know. Perfect timing with the things that have been happening, all the stuff. And I’m just hearing words that I need to hear and getting that motivation. And I just hope that somebody else is listening and like, “Yes. Oh my God, this is exactly what I needed at the time that I needed.”

Mario: [00:39:35] Yeah, I hope so too.

Samantha: [00:39:36] So your most recent project, if I’m paying attention enough, is that you’ve kind of taken your presentation style, your media personality to focus a little bit more on Medicine where your YouTube page now, since COVID, has come– I can’t remember when you launched it. You started talking–

Mario: [00:40:00] It was in the COVID times, yeah.

Samantha: [00:40:03] You started talking more about Medicine and– I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know if I– don’t want to say I didn’t expect it, but a part of me was like, “Whoa. Oh yeah. He’s a doctor.”

Mario: [00:40:16] Yeah, a part ah me was like, “Wow,” too. As I started doing it, I’m like, “Wait, I am a doctor.” But I do this every day, but nobody knows because I haven’t been– not promoting it for so long. Because I used to want to just be a musician for so, so long. It was just the focus of my life. I really dumbed down the medical side of myself. And I think that’s a big part of my evolution now too, that I am embracing it, or I have embraced it more as me, and all of it as just one entity instead of trying to be so aggressive about separating them.

Samantha: [00:40:46] Okay. So I really liked that because it’s now when I’m going to go and watch those videos, I know I’m going to be engaged, and I’m going– it’s like I’m knowing another part of Mario Evon.

Mario: [00:41:00] Right.

Samantha: [00:41:01] It’s like, “Okay, I love his music. I love his personality. I love how he talks. He’s so down to earth. He’s very–” I find that when you speak, it’s kind of like captivating, like I want to listen to it.

Mario:  [00:41:13] Oh, wow. Now I’m blushing.

Samantha: [00:41:16]     No. But I don’t know. You just talk like a singer, if that makes sense.  

Mario: [00:41:22] Wow. Yow, you’ve made my entire day.

Samantha: [00:41:22]     I don’t know. It’s very melodic.

Mario: [00:41:24] Yeah.

Samantha: [00:41:26] You’re welcome. But yeah, so you get to– and I really love when doctors talk out on social media and educate the masses. I really love that. And then, you just have so much more validity behind it because, I don’t know, I thought that when they asked you to speak about usage of social media for medical professionals, I was like, “Yes, that is the perfect person. You guys have chosen the perfect person to talk to.”

Mario: [00:41:57] I don’t remember who thought about it, but I was honored that they thought of me.

Samantha: [00:42:01] I really think it was– I think it was perfect. And I was upset; I couldn’t attend. I was probably working one of those 24-hour days.  

Mario: [00:42:09] Yeah. Yeah. It was a good conversation. It went many directions.

Samantha: [00:42:14] Yeah. And I feel like [inaudible] just this conversation, your journey has brought out so much experience with branding; of course, communication; [balancing?] life; and going back to your childhood passions. As I said from before, like from 15-minute mark, that that was my biggest takeaway from this whole thing. And we weren’t even halfway through. But it’s really nice to be able to see all of this and get to talk to you about it. And then, I’m just looking at your acronym, ME, and every time I see it, I was like, “Wow, that’s really– I like it because then, it like me.

Mario: [00:42:56] Yeah, I think it was–

Samantha: [00:42:57] And [crosstalk] you. And then it’s also Mario Evon. I don’t know.  

Mario: [00:43:02] It happened. Yeah, it happened.

Samantha: [ 00:43:04]    It’s super cool.

Mario: [00:43:06] Wasn’t intentional at all.

Samantha: [00:43:08] So Mario, we have spoken about a lot, and yes, off-air, we’re saying, “Yow, we could talk forever,” which is so true, mostly because there’s so many things that I just want to know, especially like about branding and just evolving and the journey, and just sharing a bit about my journey with you. And I have to say I’m a fan. I’m a total fangirl.

Mario: [00:43:35] Oh, wow.

Samantha: [00:43:35] I think I follow all of your social media. [inaudible] I follow the singer ones and I follow the doctor ones.

Mario: [00:43:44] The doctor ones. Well, the good thing is I think I’m following you on a chunk ah yours too, so that’s good. I support it. I’m a fan as well.

Samantha: [00:43:53] I’m blushing. And I–

Mario: [00:43:56] You know your friends are going to tease you about this episode, right? I’m just saying.  

Samantha: [00:43:59] That’s fine. That’s fine. That’s okay. That’s so okay. I’m known for like–

Mario: [00:44:08] For gushing.  

Samantha: [00:44:09] Yes, because a long time ago, when I was in high school, I realized that it doesn’t take away anything to just tell people that they have a really nice dress on or their hair is great, or you just– they inspire you.

Mario: [00:44:27] Yeah. A compliment ain’t hurt nobody.

Samantha: [00:44:29] Exactly. Exactly. I just remember it being that somebody gave me a compliment and it changed my entire day. I think I was having a really bad day and somebody just said one thing to me and it just lifted my mood. And I said to myself, why– it doesn’t hurt to tell somebody a– it doesn’t hurt to give somebody a compliment. And it’s not like you’re fawning or you’re worshiping them. But you’re just showing–  

Mario: [00:44:55] Just letting them know you appreciate what they do, yeah.

Samantha: [00:44:57] Right. [crosstalk] appreciation. And I think everybody should do that because you never know, and you never know the opportunities that it can give you. But also, not doing it because you’re trying to get an opportunity. I think that when you do things, it has to have a– has to come from a place of being genuine.

Mario: [00:45:15] I agree. And I think you also need to remember too that the people who you’re showing admiration to are not always having a great day, do not always believe in themselves as much as they project. Sometimes, you not really sure what you’re running up into, so that compliment could really change their day in a serious way.

Samantha: [00:45:29] Yes. And it has done so for me many, many times.

Mario: [00:45:35] Many times, yeah man.

Samantha: [00:45:35] I just [inaudible] when I get DMs because sometimes I’m thinking I’m talking into a void and–

Mario: [00:45:41] Into the vortex; into the black hole. The people think that everybody’s complimenting you all day long and it’s not like that. So when you get that one message that someone is brave enough to send, you’re like, “Wow, wow.”

Samantha: [00:45:54] Exactly. So I’ve learned a lot from this very short conversation. There’s so much to take away from this. I really enjoyed this convo. I really, really did.

Mario: [00:46:07] I did too. Yes.

Samantha: [00:46:08] I know I say this to everyone, but again, I always feel like a lot of my guests just will become recurring guests because it’s just never enough time to talk about all the things that we need to talk about.

Mario: [00:46:24] I got stories for days.

Samantha: [00:46:27] Listen, listen, I will be in your messages. So, of course, you can– where can we find you?

Mario: [00:46:38] All right, on the music side, I’m Mario Evon, and that’s M-A-R-I-O E-V-O-N. You could just simply Google it because I’m probably the only one. But I’m pretty much Mario Evon everywhere. And on the medical side, Dr. Mario Guthrie. And I’m pretty much on all social media platforms. Stream the album. It’s online.

Samantha: [00:46:56] Of course. And I will link everything.

Mario: [00:47:00] Oh, and listen to the podcast, Talk Truth with Mario Evon. This is my problem. I have to simplify my promo because it’s always so much.

Samantha: [00:47:08] I’m going to put your Linktree.  Linktree’s an amazing app.

Mario: [00:47:13] Yeah, my Linktree. Linktree’s amazing. Use my Linktree. You’ll find it [all?].

Samantha: [00:47:18] I’m just going to put that and they will just find everything.

Mario: [00:47:20] They will find whatever they waan find there, yes.

Samantha: [00:47:22] If you are a content creator and you have a lot of places to be found–

Mario: [00:47:27] Where things are, use Linktree.

Samantha: [00:47:29] Just use the Linktree.

Mario:  [00:47:30] Right.

Samantha: [00:47:31] Okay. Thank you so much, Mario, for being a part of my podcast.

Mario: [00:47:36] You’re welcome, Sam. Thanks for having me.

Samantha: [00:47:39] I really enjoyed the conversation. I really, really did.

Mario: [00:47:41] Yeah man, it was lots of fun and I hope your listeners enjoyed too.

Samantha: [00:47:45] With that being said, you can find me on Twitter, @thelaymansdr, which is @thelaymansdr. Same for Instagram. If you want to reach out to me, you can send me an email at And for wherever you listen to this podcast, please remember to subscribe, rate, and leave a review. Until next time, bye.

Mario: [00:48:13] Bye.


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