By Jenna Kelley
“I signed up to be a musician. I want to perform. I want to sing.”
The artist that brought back funky Motown and stole our hearts by loving us just the way we are. With his smooth dance moves and spectacular vocal range, he is way more than just 24 karats worth of magic. That’s right, I’m talking about the insanely talented singer, songwriter, and performer, Bruno Mars.
After having just recently performed at the 59th annual Grammy Awards, Mr. Mars is soaking up a well-deserved limelight. “Someone told me something that stuck with me: ‘You have to envision your life, and then go backwards,’” says Mars. “I’ve been living by that motto for a while, so I see where I need to be. Now I’m just backtracking and trying to get back up there.” We completely agree, and that’s why we’re going to go follow that journey, just to see how this Hawaiian born superstar went from being Peter Gene Hernandez to the international sensation Bruno Mars.
Mars’ career wasn’t always as smooth as his moves are on the dance floor. Breaking into the industry as a songwriter for hit stars, such as Adam Levine and Flo Rida, it took him three years to finally get signed by Atlantic Records and jump start his singing career as a featured artist on the hit collaboration “Nothin’ On You,” with rapper B.o.B. Breaking into his solo career, he formed a backup band, The Hooligans, and released his freshman studio album Doo-Wops & Hooligans. Interestingly enough, the Hernandez siblings are all so talented that Mars included his own brother in the band as his drummer. Mars says, “Doo wop songs come from a time back in the day when there were no tricks! You just needed a beautiful melody, you needed a beautiful voice, and you needed to connect! The doo-wops are for the girls and hooligans are for the guys.” This Hooligan released a hit doo-wop, “Just the Way You Are,” from this album, which earned him his very first Grammy award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. This same year he was featured as one of Time Magazines one hundred most influential people. (2011)
Full of good vibes and ‘feel good’ music, the NFL was even interested in taking a trip to Mars and snapping their fingers to the melody. They announced that he would be a headliner at the Super Bowl XLVIII Half Time show in February of 2014. He made the crowd go wild with songs from his sophomore studio album, Unorthodox Jukebox. Mars was so successful at his own Half Time show the NFL couldn’t get enough. They asked him to come back as a guest appearance the year after, where he performed alongside Beyoncé, with the headliner Coldplay. “That’s what music is,” says Mars, “to make people feel good. To uplift people.” That’s what we could expect to have seen at the Victoria Secret Fashion Show back in 2012 and again in 2016. Bruno might as well have changed his song title to “Victoria Secret On The Floor,” as the R&B pop superstar was able to recently promote his new album before beautiful angels strutting their catwalk. This heartthrob has been hip swinging his way to the top of the charts ever since he began.
Mars did encounter a few bumps in the road, as he was arrested for cocaine, when he traveled to Las Vegas. (2010) Remorsefully, Mars spoke out on the issue saying, “I was given a number one record and I’m out doing dumb sh–… I try every day to forget and keep pushing.” A year later, Amy Winehouse, one of Mars inspirations, had passed away from a drug overdose. Mars humbly was honored to perform a tribute at the MTV Video Music Awards to honor her artistry. With his soulful character, Mars had grown up being influenced by Prince, as well. When Prince had unfortunately passed in 2016, Mars had the privilege to perform a tribute for him, as well, at the most recent 59th annual Grammy Award Show.
In 2013, Mars was over the moon. Billboard Magazine had named him Artist of the Year after featuring his groovy vocals on Mark Ronson’s single, “Uptown Funk.” The next year Forbes Magazine recognized him, ranking him at thirteen on the list of The World’s Most Powerful Celebrities with estimated earnings of $60 million. With a fire under his belly, Mars hinted at writing the next chapter of his life. That chapter looked as glitzy as a 24-karat diamonds and as sexy as Versace on the floor of your boudoir. That’s right! The king of funk released his third studio album, 24K Magic in 2016. “We wrote ‘24K Magic’ when Uptown Funk was number one. So if you hear the same spirit in that song, that’s why.” His album was promoted on Saturday Night Live and debuted as the number two album on the Billboard 200 chart. Mars also got the opportunity to be one of the headlining artists on the Grammy’s this year to not only tribute to Prince, but also to promote his new his single, “That’s What I Like,” on his 24K Magic album. Yes, Bruno, that’s what we like.
He guest starred on a carpool karaoke segment on The Late Late Show with James Corden. On this comedy segment, the audience got to see insight to Mars’ fun-loving personality. They playfully joked with each other when Corden asked Mars what he asks for in his dressing rooms on tour. Mars, a simple guy, replied, “some booze, water and wet wipes.”
So far in his career, the King of Funk has won five Grammys awards, various Brit Awards, Teen Choice Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and more. Mars can only go up from here. We are starting to see what he had envisioned for himself. Bruno Mars is currently traveling on tour, making the ladies hearts beat and the fellas take notes, internationally. “You have to be who you are, and hopefully they dig it.” We definitely dig it.