Bruno Mars great live BBC Radio best hits 2015 full concert45:27

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Published on August 3, 2016

Bruno Mars

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Bruno Mars
Bruno Mars down on one knee at the front of a stage, singing into a microphone, with someone in the audience holding his forearm. He is wearing black pants, a plaid button-up shirt, and a gray fedora.
Mars performing in Las Vegas
Born Peter Gene Hernandez
October 8, 1985 (age 30)
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • choreographer
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • keyboards
  • drums
  • harmonica
Years active 2004–present
Associated acts

Peter Gene Hernandez (born October 8, 1985), known professionally as Bruno Mars (/ˈmɑːrz/), is an American-Filipino singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and choreographer. Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, by a family of musicians, Mars began making music at a young age and performed in various musical venues in his hometown throughout his childhood. He graduated from high school and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a musical career. After being dropped by Motown Records, Mars signed a recording contract with Atlantic in 2009. Mars began composing songs for other artists since the Motown stint.

Mars, in 2009, co-founded the production team The Smeezingtons, which helped him becoming recognized as a solo artist, responsible for the songs “Nothin’ on You” by B.o.B and “Billionaire” by Travie McCoy, for which he was featured on their hooks. His debut studio album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans (2010), was anchored by the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping singles “Just the Way You Are” and “Grenade“, as well as the number-four single “The Lazy Song“. His second album, Unorthodox Jukebox, released in 2012, peaked at number one in the United States. The album spawned the international singles “Locked Out of Heaven“, “When I Was Your Man” and “Treasure“. In 2015, Mars lent his vocals to Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk“. Throughout his singing career, he has sold over 100 million singles and albums worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. Mars has landed six number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 since his career launched in 2010 attaining his first five faster than any male artist since Elvis Presley.

Mars has received many awards and nominations, including four Grammy Awards, and was named one of Times 100 most influential people in the world in 2011. In December 2013, he ranked number one on the Forbes 30 under 30 list. Mars is known for his stage performances andretro showmanship. He is accompanied by his band, The Hooligans, playing a variety of instruments such as electric guitar, bass, piano, keyboards, drums and horns, also serving as dancers and background singers. On stage, Mars is able to sing, dance and play in a wide range of musical styles.

Life and career

1985–2003: Early life and musical beginnings

Bruno Mars was born Peter Gene Hernandez on October 8, 1985,[1] in Honolulu, Hawaii, and was raised in the Waikiki neighborhood of Honolulu. He is the son of Peter Hernandez and Bernadette “Bernie” San Pedro Bayot (b. August 14, 1957, Manila, d. June 1, 2013, Honolulu).[2][3] His father is of half Puerto Rican and halfAshkenazi Jewish descent, and is originally from Brooklyn, New York.[4][5] Mars’ mother emigrated from the Philippines to Hawaii as a child, and was of Filipino, and some Spanish, ancestry.[4][6] His parents met while performing in a show, where his mother was a hula dancer and his father played percussion.[5] At the age of two, he was nicknamed “Bruno” by his father, because of his resemblance to professional wrestler Bruno Sammartino.[7][8][9]

Mars is one of six children and came from a musical family who exposed him to a diverse mix of reggae, rock, hip hop, and R&B.[10][11] In addition to being a dancer, his mother was a singer and his father used his musical ability to perform Little Richard rock and roll music.[12] Mars’ uncle was an Elvis impersonator, and encouraged three-year-old Mars to perform on stage as well. Mars also performed songs by artists such as Michael Jackson, The Isley Brothers, and The Temptations.[8] At age four, Mars began performing five days a week with his family’s band, The Love Notes, in which he became known on the island for his impersonation of Presley.[13] In 1990, Mars was featured in MidWeek as “Little Elvis”, going on to have a cameo in the film Honeymoon in Vegas in 1992.[8][14]

His time spent impersonating Presley had a major impact on Mars’ musical evolution and performing techniques.[15] He later began playing guitar after drawing inspiration from Jimi Hendrix.[16] In 2010, he also acknowledged his Hawaiian roots and musical family as an influence, explaining, “Growing up in Hawaii made me the man I am. I used to do a lot of shows in Hawaii with my father’s band. Everybody in my family sings, everyone plays instruments…I’ve just been surrounded by it.”[17] When he attended President Theodore Roosevelt High School he performed in a group called The School Boys.[18] In 2003, shortly after graduating from President Theodore Roosevelt High School at the age of 17, Mars moved to Los Angeles, California, to pursue a musical career.[8][14] He adopted his stage name from the nickname his father gave him, adding “Mars” at the end because “I felt like I didn’t have [any] pizzazz, and a lot of girls say I’m out of this world, so I was like I guess I’m from Mars.”[19]

2004–10: Production work and It’s Better If You Don’t Understand

“I’d always been a working musician in Hawaii and never had problems paying rent. And then it’s like, ‘Now I’m in L.A. and my phone’s getting shut off.’ That’s when reality hit. I started DJ-ing. It was something silly. I told this person I could DJ because they said they could pay me $75 cash under the table. I didn’t know how to DJ. I lost that job pretty quick.”

—Mars, speaking about his experiences of moving to Los Angeles to pursue a musical career.[20]

Shortly after moving to Los Angeles, Mars signed to Motown Records in 2004, in a deal that “went nowhere” and a conversation with‘s management which turned out fruitless.[21][22] However, Mars’ experience with Motown proved to be beneficial to his career when he met songwriter and producer Philip Lawrence, who was also signed to the label.[21] After Mars was dropped by Universal Motown, less than a year of being signed, he stayed in Los Angeles and landed a music publishing deal in 2005 with Steve Lindsey and Cameron Strang at Westside Independent.[23][24]

“Bruno came to the conclusion that the best way to further his career was writing and producing hit songs.”

—Cameron Strang, speaking about developing Mars’ career.[24]

During Mars’ career beginnings, Lindsey, who showed Jeff Bhasker and Mars the ins and outs of writing pop music, acted as a mentor to Mars and helped him to hone his craft. Bhasker, who had met Mars through Mike Lynn (the A&R at Dr Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment who first heard Mars’ demo tape through his sister and flew him to LA), explained: “He’d mentor us, and kind of give us lectures as to what a hit pop song is, because you can have talent and music ability, but understanding what makes a hit pop song is a whole other discipline.”[23][24][25] Steve Lindsey was responsible for “[holding] Bruno Mars back for five years while they learned an extensive catalog of hit music.”[23] Meanwhile, Mars played cover songs in a band, around Los Angeles, with Bhasker and Eric Hernandez, Mars’ brother, who is now the drummer of “The Hooligans”.[26]

When Lawrence was first told he should meet Mars he was reluctant to do so, since he didn’t even have money for bus fare. Keith Harris, drummer for The Black Eyed Peas,[27] told him, “Whatever it costs you to get out here, I’ll reimburse you.” Lawrence responded, “Just give me five dollars back for the bus.” The pair began collaborating, writing songs for Mars, but they received many rejections from labels. On the verge of giving up, they received a call from Brandon Creed, then seeking songs for a reunited Menudo. He liked their song “Lost”, which was written for Mars. The duo didn’t want to give the song away, but when they were offered $20,000 for the song they agreed. The sale of this song allowed them to continue working,[27] and Mars and Lawrence decided that they would write and produce songs together for other artists.[24]

In 2006, Lawrence introduced Mars to his future A&R manager at Atlantic Records, Aaron Bay-Schuck.[28] After hearing him play a couple of songs on the guitar, Bay-Schuck wanted to sign him immediately, but it took about three years for Atlantic records to finally sign Mars to the label,[28] because Atlantic felt that it was too early and that Mars still needed development as an artist.[29]

Before becoming a successful solo artist, Mars was an acknowledged music producer, writing songs for Alexandra Burke, Travie McCoy, Adam Levine, Brandy, Sean Kingston, and Flo Rida.[10][20] He also co-wrote the Sugababes‘ hit song “Get Sexy” and provided backing vocals on their album Sweet 7.[30] His first musical appearance as a singer was in Far East Movement‘s second studio album Animal, featured on the track “3D”.[31] He was also featured on pastor and hip hop artist Jaeson Ma‘s debut single “Love” in August 2009.[32][33] He reached prominence as a solo artist after being featured on and co-writing B.o.B‘s “Nothin’ on You” and Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire“; both songs peaked within the top ten of many charts worldwide.[34][35][36][37] He spoken of them, “I think those songs weren’t meant to be full-sung songs. If I’d sung all of “Nothin’ on You”, it might’ve sounded like some ’90s R&B.” Following this success, Mars released his debut extended play (EP), titled It’s Better If You Don’t Understand, on May 11, 2010.[38] The EP peaked at the 99th position on the Billboard 200 and a music video was released for the song, “The Other Side”, featuring singers Cee Lo Green and B.o.B.[39][40] Mars collaborated with Green once more in August 2010 by co-writing his single “Fuck You“.

2010–12: Doo-Wops & Hooligans

Bruno Mars playing the keyboard in a concert in Houston

After serving as guest vocalist on B.o.B’s and Travies McCoy’s singles,[37] Mars released “Just the Way You Are” on July 19, 2010.[41] The song was the lead single from his debut studio album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, and reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in September as well as several other charts worldwide.[42][43] The song holds the record of the longest-reigning debut format, spending twenty weeks atop Adult Contemporary.[44] He also released two digital singles—”Liquor Store Blues” featuring Damian Marley and “Grenade” to promote the album,[45][46]before confirming “Grenade” as the album’s second single, in October 21, 2010.[47] “Grenade” reached number one on Billboard in December[48] and has also seen successful international chart performance.[49] Released digitally on October 4 and physically on October 5, 2010,[45][50] the album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, selling 55,000 copies.[51] It received generally positive reviews from music critics,[52] and has since sold six million copies globally.[53] In February 2012, “The Lazy Song” was released as the album’s third single.[54] It became the album’s third consecutive top five on the Hot 100, peaking on number four on October 23, 2010.[55]

Marry You” followed as the fourth single from Doo-Wops & Hooligans on August 22, 2011.[56] Although it wasn’t released as a single in the United States, it peaked at number 85 on the Hot 100 on January 15, 2011 due to strong digital sales,[57] since then it has sold 2.2 million digital copies.[58] In November, “Count On Me” was released as the album’s fifth single in Australia and New Zealand.[59] Additionally, it was announced on Mars’ website, he recorded and co-wrote a new song titled “It Will Rain” for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.[60] The song was released for purchase via iTunes on September 27, 2011.[61] It peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100.[57] During this period, he appeared on a number of collaborative singles, including “Lighters“, a duet with Bad Meets Evil released on July 5, 2011.[62]Mirror“, released on September 13, 2011,[63] with Lil Wayne and “Young, Wild & Free” with Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg, from the Mac & Devin Go to High School soundtrack, was available for purchase on October 11, 2011.[64] The songs peaked at number four, sixteen and seven at the Billboard Hot 100, respectively.[65][66]

On September 19, 2010, Mars was arrested in Las Vegas at the Hard Rock Casino for possession of cocaine.[22][67] When talking to a police officer, Mars reportedly declared that what he did was “foolish” and that “he has never used drugs before”.[68][69] Mars pleaded guilty to felony drug possession, and in return for his plea, he was told that the charges would be erased from his criminal record as long as he stayed out of trouble for a year, paid a $2,000 fine, did 200 hours of community service and completed a drug counseling course.[70] Nevertheless, during a cover story for GQ magazine in 2013, Mars said “I was young, man! I was in f—ing Vegas…I wasn’t thinking”, he further added “I was given a number one record and I’m out doing dumb sh–“. Mars confessed that he lied to the authorities about having done cocaine before, saying “I don’t know where that came from”, adding “I was really intoxicated. I was really drunk. So a lot of that is a big blur, and I try every day to forget and keep pushing.”[22]

He opened for Maroon 5 on the fall leg of the Hands All Over Tour starting October 6, 2010 and co-headlined with McCoy on a European tour starting October 18, 2010.[45] From November 16, 2010,[71] to January 28, 2012,[72] Mars embarked on the The Doo-Wops & Hooligans Tour in support of Doo-Wops & Hooligans, after turning down multiple offers to open for famous pop artists on arena tours, since the goal was to build a fan base by performing gigs at smaller, more intimate venues.[73]

On February 13, 2011, Mars won his first Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, having received six nominations; Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “Nothin’ on You”, Record of the Year for “Nothin’ on You” and “Fuck You“, Song of the Year for “Fuck You”, and Producer of the Year, Non-Classical at the 53rd Grammy Awards.[74][75] At the 54th Grammy Awards, Mars was nominated in six different categories; Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for Doo-Wops & Hooligans, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance for “Grenade”, and Producer of the Year, Non-Classical. However, Adele won all the categories he was nominated and ended up by losing to Paul Epworth for Producer of the Year.[76]

2012–14: Unorthodox Jukebox and Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show

On March 22, 2012, it was announced that Mars had signed a worldwide publishing deal with BMG Chrysalis US.[77] In September 2012, when interviewed by Billboard, Mars stated that the album would be more musically varied and refused to “pick a lane”, adding “I listen to a lot of music, and I want to have the freedom and luxury to walk into a studio and say, ‘Today I want to do a hip-hop, R&B, soul or rock record.'” He announced the album title Unorthodox Jukebox along with the ten songs which would make the final cut of the album and the title of the first single, “Locked out of Heaven“, which was released on October 1, 2012.[78] The lead single from Unorthodox Jukebox reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and Canada and charted in the top ten in several countries worldwide.[79]

Unorthodox Jukebox was released on December 11, 2012,[78] and debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 with sales of 192,000.[80] The album eventually peaked at number one on the Billboard 200, almost three months after its release.[81] The album also charted number one in Switzerland and in United Kingdom, becoming the fastest selling album by a solo artist in 2012 in the UK.[82]When I Was Your Man“, was released as the second single from Unorthodox Jukebox on January 15, 2013, and peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100,[57] making Elvis Presley the only male who has reached five number one singles on the Hot 100 more quickly than Mars,[83] and reached the top ten of fifteen countries. The third single “Treasure” peaked at number 5 in the United States[57] and had less commercial success worldwide than the previous two. On May 24, 2013, Major Lazer released “Bubble Butt” as the fourth single from their album Free the Universewhich featured Tyga, Mystic and Mars on the vocals, becoming Major Lazer’s most successful single to date in the US.[84][85] In late 2013, “Gorilla[86] and “Young Girls[87] followed as the album’s fourth and fifth singles, and reached the top 35 on the Hot 100.[57]

Mars began his second headlining tour, The Moonshine Jungle Tour, on June 22, 2013. It started in North America, and continued through Europe and Oceania, before concluding it in North America on October 18, 2014, as part of the eight shows at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to perform between December 2013 and October 2014.[88] On September 8, 2013, NFL announced that Mars would headline the performance at the Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show on February 2, 2014.[89] During the performance he was joined by Red Hot Chili Peppers as a musical guest on the platform.[90] It was the first Super Bowl halftime headlined by a performer under 30 and of Puerto Rican descent.[91] The show is the second most watched halftime show in the history of the Super Bowl, drawing a record rating of 115.3 million viewers, only surpassed by Katy Perry’s halftime show that had 3.2 million more viewers.[92][93]

At the 56th Grammy Awards, Mars won the award of Best Pop Vocal Album for Unorthodox Jukebox and his single “Locked out of Heaven” was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, while “When I Was Your Man” earned a nomination for Best Pop Solo Performance.[94] Aside from his music career, Mars reprised his role as Roberto in Rio 2, which was released in theaters on March 20, 2014.[95] Like its predecessor, Rio 2 was a financial success[96] and panned by critics.[97] In October 2014, Mark Ronson announced that he would release a new single on November 10, 2014, titled “Uptown Funk“, featuring Mars’ vocals.[98] The song was a commercial success reaching number one in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and Billboard Hot 100 along with several other countries. According to Billboard Mars was the twelfth richest musician of 2013, with earnings of $18,839,681.[99] In December 2013, he was named “Artist of the Year” by Billboard[100]and ranked number one on the 2014 Forbes list “30 under 30”, a tally of the brightest stars in 15 different fields under the age of 30.[101] In addition, he was thirteenth on the 2014 list for “The World’s Most Powerful Celebrities” with estimated earnings of $60 million.[102]

2015–present: Third studio album and Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show

After ending the Moonshine Jungle Tour, Mars began working on his third studio album. He wrote on his Facebook “Now it’s time to start writing chapter 3”.[103] The artist hadn’t come up with a date for the release, stating “Until it’s done”, adding “It’s gotta be just as good if not better”.[104] Previously, the singer-songwriter was interviewed by that’s Shanghai and gave some details of the new album, confirming Mark Ronson and Jeff Bhasker as producers. He further added, “I want to write better songs, I want to put on better shows, I want to make better music videos. I want my next album to be better than the first and the second”, explaining the writing process of his songs “I don’t sit down and think, ‘I’m going to write a song’, Inspiration hits me always unexpectedly: on a plane, when I’m out or just before I go to bed. An idea will suddenly come to my mind, and sometimes I manage to turn it into lyrics the next day. Sometimes it’ll take me one year to get something real out of it. You can’t force creativeness”.[105] Ronson, in an interview granted to Digital Spy, confessed he and Mars have not reunited in the studio since working on “Uptown Funk”.[106] It is known that engineer Charles Moniz, who had previously worked on Unorthodox Jukebox, has been working on the third studio album.[107] The same engineer confirmed that the album is close to being finished and that Mars has made an evolution in his sound, calling it “the next movement of Bruno”.[108]Rolling Stone ranked Mars’ third album as one of the 20 most anticipated of 2016.[109] Mars’ dad confirmed that his son’s album was to due in March, but because of his appearance at the Super Bowl halftime show, it was postponed several months.[110] He has also confirmed that seven songs have already been recorded.[110] Mars has been in the studio with Skrillex. The latter said “we’re doing is so f–king different, awesome and next level and sounds like nothing else that’s happened before”.[111]

Mars worked with British singer-songwriter Adele as a co-writer on “All I Ask“, the tenth track from her third studio album, 25.

On December 2, 2015, it was announced that Coldplay would be headlining the performance in the halftime show for Super Bowl 50 on February 7, 2016.[112][113] The invitation of Mars and Beyoncé as guest acts to the show makes them the fourth artist to have held the Super Bowl halftime show twice, along with Justin Timberlake and Nelly, and only surpassed by Gloria Estefan (three times).[114]Nielsen ratings confirmed that the show was watched by 111.9 million viewers, thus becoming the third most watched halftime show in the history after Katy Perry and Mars as headline performer.[115] The 2016 Grammy Awards saw Mars’ featured single with Mark Ronson, “Uptown Funk”, win the Grammy Award for Best Pop Solo Collaboration and Record of the Year, bringing his total wins to four. On May 10, 2016, Billboard reported that Mars and his manager, Brendon Creed, split after nine years working together.[116]



Michael Jackson performing
Prince playing guitar
Musicians such as Michael Jackson(left) and Prince (right) have influenced Mars.

As a child, Mars spent time impersonating Elvis Presley. This playact had a major impact on his musical evolution; he later reflected: “I watch the best. I’m a big fan of Elvis. I’m a big fan of 1950s Elvis when he would go on stage and scare people because he was a force and girls would go nuts! You can say the same thing for Prince or The Police. It’s just guys who know that people are here to see a show, so I watch those guys and I love studying them because I’m a fan.”[15] He also impersonated Michael Jackson and Little Richard who played a lead role as inspiration.[6][12] Afterwards, Mars was raised on his father’s doo-wop collection — “simple four-chord songs that got straight to the point” and on Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Frankie Lymon.[117][118] During his youth, the hip-hop productions by The Neptunes and Timbaland, that were played on the radio constantly, influenced him.[117]

Mars’ musical style initially gravitated towards R&B since he was influenced by artists such as Keith Sweat, Jodeci and R. Kelly. During the same time, he also listened to 1950s rock ‘n’ roll, doo-wop music and Motown.[119] In high school, he listened to classic rock groups such as The Police, Led Zeppelin, and The Beatles, whose repercussions are notable on Mars’ work.[119] While growing up, Mars listened to singers with high voices, like Stevie Wonder and Freddie Mercury, and some others already mentioned above.[120]Bob Marley, the heavy influence of local bands in Hawaii, was a major account for him and his reggae roots.[5] Hip-hop acts like Jay-Z, The Roots and Cody Chesnutt were among some of Mars’ favourites, and have contributed to his composition skills.[119] All of these genres of music have influenced Mars’ musical style; he observed that “It’s not easy to [create] songs with that mixture of rock and soul and hip-hop, and there’s only a handful of them”.[119] Mars also admires classical music.[121]

Mars has listed multiple artists as having inspired his work, among them Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix,[6][119][121]Sly Stone, Carlos Santana, George Clinton, Coldplay,[12][121]Prince and Usher.[122] Mars also stated that he is a fan of Alicia Keys, Jessie J, Jack White, The Saturdays, and Kings of Leon.[123]

Musical style and themes

An 18-second sample of the chorus of “Grenade”.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Mars’ music has been noted for displaying a wide variety of styles, musical genres and influences, including pop,[124]rock,[124]reggae,[124]R&B,[125]soul,[126] and hip hop.[117] The debut album Doo-Wops & Hooligans features influences of the former five genres, being ultimately a pop record.[126] His subsequent release, Unorthodox Jukebox, as on his debut album, infuses with different genres in each song, including not only dance, rock reggae and soul but also balladry.[127][128] Lyrically, the album shows some differences towards the former, addressing traditional notions of romance, male chauvinist sentiments, and a more sexual direction.[127][129] The later caused him a serious controversy due to the explicit content on the song “Gorilla“.[130] Many of his songs, particularly on Doo-Wops & Hooligans, reflect on “feel-good”, carefree, and optimistic sentiments.[131] However, darker subjects are addressed in his songs, detailing failed relationships and self-destructive behaviour.[126][132]

Mars claims that his work with other artists has influenced his musical style: “‘Nothin’ on You’ had a motown vibe, ‘Billionaire’ was a reggae acoustic guitar-driven song, though one of my favourites is the CeeLo Green song. I don’t think anyone else could’ve sung that song. And there’s ‘Just the Way You Are.’ If you know my story, you know I love all different genres of music” and maintains doo-wop as a major influence on his music.[133] In addition, Mars states that growing up in Hawaii influenced his music, giving the songs a reggae sound. He explains, “In Hawaii some of the biggest radio stations are reggae. That music brings people together. It’s not urban music or pop music. It’s just songs. That’s what makes it cross over so well. The song comes first.”[5] One of his music partners of The Smeezingtons, Philip Lawrence, stated “What people don’t know is there’s a darker underbelly to Bruno Mars”. Nevertheless, most of his music is romantic and Mars himself says, “I blame that on me singing to girls back in high school.”[134]

Mars possesses a three octave tenor vocal range.[128] His singing has received nothing but praise. Jon Caramanica of The New York Times commented that he is one of the most “versatile and accessible singers in pop, with a light, soul-influenced voice that’s an easy fit in a range of styles, a universal donor”,[117] while Tim Sendra from AllMusic described Mars’ vocals on Doo-Wops & Hooligans as “the kind of smooth instrument that slips into your ear like honey”.[135] Jody Rosen from Rolling Stone called Mars a “nimble, soulful vocalist” on Unorthodox Jukebox. Conversely, Jim Farber of Daily News praised Mars’ voice due to “the purity, cream and range of mid-period Michael Jackson” in a review of a concert promoting Unorthodox Jukebox.[136] Mars is also able to play drums,[137][138] guitar,[138][139] keyboard,[139] bass[138] and piano.[83][139] Mars usually plays the instrumentation or part of it, on his albums and the songs he composes for other artists.[138][140]


Mars performing in a concert

Bruno Mars and The Hooligans performing with strobe lights

Mars is known for his retro showmanship that is widely acclaimed by tour critics and reviewers.[141][142][143] Journalist Monique from Mirrors Magazine says that “the showmanship on Bruno’s stage was like none other that I’ve ever seen” comparing him to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.[144] Kevin C. Johnson for St. Louis Post-Dispatch called Mars a “consummate performer”.[141]Boston Globe music critique, Sarah Rodman, said that Mars shows an “indefatigable ecstatic approach to performing” and a “classic showmanship”.[142] In the same vein, Jim Farber for Daily News stated that Mars “brings old-school showmanship to dynamic performance”, regarding the Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show.[143]

Rolling Stone magazine placed Mars at number 35 on their list of “50 Best Live Acts Right Now” in 2013; he’s the youngest act besides Janelle Monàe and Lady Gaga to enter the list. They wrote: “Anyone from the age of 5 to 95 can walk out of a Bruno Mars concert feeling like the show was designed just for them. Mars walks the old-school walk and talks the sexy talk, but he also nails the hits, leads a super-energetic nine-piece soul band, and rips a mean drum solo”, praising the “spectacular version” of “Gorilla”.[145] Jason Lipshutz from Billboard described Mars’ performance as “lifeblood is entertaining and keeping smiles plastered on the faces of his onlookers, and he does a better job at it than almost anyone working in music right now.”[146]NFL executives Sarah Moll and Tracy Perlman stated that “If you go to his concerts, it’s 11-year-old girls to 65-year-old women—it’s everyone”, after seeing The Moonshine Jungle tour several times during the summer of 2013.[100]

On his concerts Mars is, most of the time, accompanied by The Hooligans, a band that includes several musicians: a guitarist, bassist, drummer, keyboardist, and horn section. They also serve as dancers and background singers.[141][147] Mars shows feature all-band choreographed dancing arrangements, which include “fancy, slick and fantastic” footwork that is inspired by James Brown and splits.[145][148][149] His shows are heavily influenced by the disco era with a soul revue-inspired set sufficed.[141][143] In addition, long, mellow and soft interludes that echo the smooth Contemporary R&B style which was popular during the 1990s are also part of the show.[141][147] His setlist blends several genres of music such as pop, doo-wop, funk, R&B, soul and reggae.[141][142] Mars’ shows usually feature pyrotechnics, strobe and laser lighting[141][142] and he typically plays the drums and guitar.[141][142]

The Hooligans – Band members

Current members[150]
  • Bruno Mars – lead vocals, guitar (2010–present)
  • Philip Lawrence – backup vocals (2010–present)
  • Phredley Brown – keyboard (2010 – October 2012), lead guitar (October 2012 – present), backup vocals (2010–present)
  • Jamareo Artis – bass guitar (2010–present)
  • Eric Hernandez – drums (2010–present)
  • Kameron Whalum – trombone (2010–present)
  • Dwayne Dugger – saxophone (2010–present)
  • James King – trumpet (2010–present)
  • John Fossit – keyboard, piano (October 9, 2012 – present)
Former members
  • Kenji Chan – lead guitar (2010 – October 10, 2012)

Other ventures


On May 12, 2013, Mars tweeted a picture of himself using an electronic cigarette. On May 30, 2013, a press release was published reporting Mars investment in the NJOY Electronic Cigarette Company, “in order to quit smoking for his mother”, since the singer “believes in the product and the company’s mission”.[151]

Mars decided to invest in Chromatik, which makes digital versions of sheet music for the web and iPad. Mars said “I love that Chromatik will bring better music education into schools”, he added “And I’m happy to be a part of it”.[152]

In 2014, Bruno Mars teamed up with three partners to launch the “Selvarey Rum” brand which includes Selvarey White, made of blended three and five-year aged Panamanian rums [153] and the aged “natural cacao rum” Selvarey Cacao.[154]


On February 26, It was announced that Mars had partnered with the Hawai’i Community Foundation and the GRAMMY Foundation to establish a GRAMMY Camp Scholarship Fund, in order to support the next generation of music makers with funds to provide financial assistance for qualified needs-based applicants fromHawaii.[155]

Mars’ donated 100,000 dollars to the kids of Bantay Bata, who were among the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, in order to bring back the esteem and morale of the orphans who lost their families and homes.[156] Bruno Mars will perform at the Make It Right gala, whose campaign goal is to “help build homes for people in need”.[157]Mars is also set to perform at the Robin Hood Foundations annual benefit in New York, whose goal is to “fight poverty in New York City by supporting more than 200 nonprofits with financial and technical assistance”.[158]


Bruno Mars has earned numerous awards and honors throughout his career, including four Grammy Awards,[159] three Brit Awards[160] and three MTV Europe Music Awards.[161] In 2011, Mars made the Time 100 list and in 2013 the artists was considered the sixth best songwriter of that year by Billboard.[162][163] The Smeezingtons, Mars’ songwriting and record producing team, have earned several accolades.[164] In 2014, Mars became the artist with most top five entries on the Billboard Hot 100 since his first week in the chart.[165] Along with Adele and John Legend, Mars is the only artist who has a song that only features piano and vocals to top the Hot 100.[166] Besides this, he is the first male artist to place two titles as a lead act in the Hot 100’s top 10 simultaneously.[167] Mars was the most played artist at pop radio in 2013 according to Mediabase[168] and became the first solo men artist whose first 13 Top 40 hits all reached the Top 10 of American Top 40.[169]In total, he has had six number-one singles on the Hot 100 chart.[170]

According to International Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI), “Just the Way You Are” and “Grenade” are two of the most sold singles digitally of all time, with sales of 12.5 million and 10.2 million, respectively, contributing for Mars to become the biggest selling artist of 2012.[171] His songs “Just The Way You Are”, “Grenade”, “Locked Out Of Heaven” and “When I Was Your Man” have each sold over 4 million digital copies, making him the first male artist to do so as a lead singer.[172] Five of his singles are counted among the best-selling singles of all time.[171][173][174] As of 2014, Mars has sold over 100 million singles and albums worldwide.[175] Nevertheless, as a singer, featured artist, producer and songwriter his sales surpass 130 million records worldwide.[176]

Due to the tickets reselling activities that occurred during the week after the Super Bowl, and in order to limit that kind of profiteering, Hawaii Senate President Donna Mercado Kim introduced Senate Resolution 12, also known as the “Bruno Mars Act”. The “Bruno Mars Act” limits all ticket purchases within 48 hours of the on-sale to the physical box office. It ensures that anyone who comes all the way to the box office to buy tickets for their favorite should would almost certainly be guaranteed to leave with a ticket in hand, dissuade ticket scalping.[177] The State Senate in Hawaii passed the law.[178]

Personal life


Mars began dating model Jessica Caban in 2011.[179][180]

Mother’s death

On June 2, 2013, a publicist for Atlantic Records confirmed to the Associated Press, on condition of anonymity since it was not allowed to speak on record, that Mars’ mother had suffered a brain aneurysm. She died on Saturday, June 1, 2013, at age 55 at Queens Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.[181][182] Later, on June 7, 2013, the singer broke the silence regarding the loss of his mother, via Twitter, showing his sorrow and gratitude to the fans for the support, he wrote “So thankful for all the love during the most difficult time in my life. I’ll be back on my feet again soon. Thats what mom wants, she told me”.[183][184]

Legal issues

On January 28, 2014, Demetrius Orlandus Proctor filed a lawsuit, claiming he holds the copyright for the Travie McCoy and Mars’ track “Billionaire“. Proctor claims he owned the copyright to the music and lyrics of the track since March 31, 2011, though the song was released a year before. As evidence, Proctor has submitted a United States Copyright Office registration certificate for “Frisky Vol. 1 to 30 (Tapes)”, made in 2000.[185] Proctor accused the defendants of “willful and intentional” copyright infringement, seeking destruction of all copies of the recording. Proctor claims he has exclusive rights to reproduce and distribute the song. His only request: “Defendant shall destroy all copies of Plaintiffs’ Recording that Defendants have downloaded onto any computer hard drive or server without Plaintiffs’ authorization and shall destroy all copies of that downloaded recording transferred onto any [other] physical medium or device”.[185]

In April 2015, it was revealed that a settlement had been reached with The Gap Band’s publishing company, Minder Music, to add The Gap Band and producer Lonnie Simmons as co-writers, with subsequently 17% of the royalties from Mark and Mars hit “Uptown Funk”. The claim on behalf of The Gap Band and Lonnie Simmons was made into YouTube’s content management system, which prevented publishers to receive their payment.[186][187] Later, on August 12, Serbian pop artist Viktorija has also argued that “Uptown Funk” infringed on her track “Ulice Mracne Nisu Za Devojke”. Withal, she stated that she had no hurry to sue them, since “these processes take a long time, and my life and career does not depend on lawsuits”. She further added, “for these lawsuits, there should be a lot of money, the lawyers are working on a percentage. If I still decide to sue them and I win, I have to figure out what to do with that money”.[188]



In the cover story for Entertainment Weekly, Mars stated that the song “Nothin’ on You” was rejected because of his race by a “music industry decision-maker – a guy he won’t name”. That experience made him feel like a “mutant”, and he says that was his lowest point. “Even with that song in my back pocket to seal the deal, things like that are coming out of people’s mouths. It made me feel like I wasn’t even in the room.”[189] On April, 2013 during a cover story for GQ magazine, Mars confessed that he changed his last name due to people from the music industry who took him as another Latino artist, and even convince him to sing in Spanish. Mars said “Your last name’s Hernandez, maybe you should do the Latin music, this Spanish music… Enrique [Iglesias] is so hot right now”. Nevertheless, Mars used his childhood nickname Bruno and changed his surname to Mars, in an effort to “avoid being stereotyped”.[22]

Tyler, The Creator

In the song “Yonkers“, Tyler, The Creator disparages numerous artists, including Bruno Mars. Tyler also disparages Mars in The Game‘s song “Martians vs. Goblins“, in which he and Lil Wayne are featured artists. Bruno Mars, in response to the verse “stab Bruno Mars in his goddamn esophagus,” affirmed, “[Tyler] has to wait in line if he wants to stab me…[Tyler’s] definitely not the first guy that’s said something like that to me and he’s not going to be the last.”[190] On April 24, 2015 Tyler admitted to be wrong regarding Mars’ talent and pointed out Mars performance of “Gorilla” on the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards as evidence.[191]

Kanye West

During a performance on November 21, 2013, Kanye West gave his opinion regarding the MTV Video Music Awards, that were held on August 25, 2013. West said, “Bruno Mars won all the motherfucking awards and shit.” he continued, “What I care about is if you’re an artist and you work hard as fuck and the streets say that you deserve that shit. Then can’t no motherfucking networks try to gas everybody up so they can sell some product with the prettiest motherfucker out.”[192] Nevertheless, on February 26, 2015, he publicly apologized to Bruno Mars on Twitter while asking him to sing a hook on a song that he co-produced. West asked Tyler, the Creator to direct the music video,[193] who previously had a dispute with Mars.[190]



Tours and residency shows

Concert tours

  • European tour with Travie McCoy (2010) (European select dates)
Opening act
  • Hands All Over Tour (2010) (North American select dates)

Residency shows

See also


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  130. Jump up^ Susanna Freymark (September 12, 2013). “Girls education campaigner calls for ban on sexualised Bruno Mars song ‘Gorilla'”. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved September 25,2013.
  131. Jump up^ Megan Vick (August 6, 2010). “Bruno Mars, “Just the Way You Are””. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on July 28, 2013. Retrieved October 16,2010.
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  133. Jump up^ Johnson, Kevin C. (November 24, 2010). “Bruno Mars learned music biz by collaborating with big acts”. STL Daily. STL Media Group. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
  134. Jump up^ Wood, Mikael (August 18, 2010). “Bruno Mars Is Not Soft”.The Village Voice. Village Voice Media. Retrieved March 16,2015.
  135. Jump up^ Sendra, Tim. “AllMusic ((( Doo-Wops & Hooligans > Overview )))”. AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
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  137. Jump up^ Rogers, Ray (November 10, 2014). “Mark Ronson Says New Single With Bruno Mars ‘Uptown Funk’ Is a Milestone for Both of Them”. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. RetrievedNovember 23, 2014.
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  142. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Rodman, Sarah (June 27, 2013). “Bruno Mars exudes energy”. The Boston Globe. John W. Henry. RetrievedJune 28, 2013.
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  145. ^ Jump up to:a b Stone, Rolling (July 31, 2013). “50 Best Live Bands; Best Live Musicians”. Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. RetrievedMarch 30, 2015.
  146. Jump up^ Lipshutz, Jason (June 25, 2013). “Bruno Mars Romps Through ‘Moonshine Jungle’ Tour in Philadelphia: Live Review”. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. RetrievedFebruary 22, 2014.
  147. ^ Jump up to:a b Copsey, Robert (October 9, 2013). “Bruno Mars live at London’s O2 Arena – Review”. Digital Spy. Hearst Corporation. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  148. Jump up^ Hoby, Hermione (February 3, 2014). “Bruno Mars’ Super Bowl halftime show spiced by much-needed Chili Peppers”. The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  149. Jump up^ Bender, Kelli (February 2, 2014). “What It Looks Like When the Internet Dances Along with Bruno Mars”. People. Time Inc. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  150. Jump up^ Colurso, Mary (June 12, 2014). “Bruno Mars and the Hooligans provide dizzying fun with ‘Moonshine Jungle’ concert in Birmingham”. The Birmingham News. Advance Publications. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  151. Jump up^ Carolina Moreno (June 3, 2013). “Bruno Mars Invests In NJOY Electronic Cigarette Company, Started Using Product For Mom”. Huffington Post. AOL. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
  152. Jump up^ Alyson Shontell (November 15, 2012). “Hey Look, Bruno Mars Is Investing In Startups”. Business Insider. Business Insider Inc. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  153. Jump up^ “Selvarey Rum”. LCC. RetrievedApril 15, 2014.
  154. Jump up^ Xania Woodman (April 4, 2014). “Three New Celebrity Spirits Move Into the Spotlight”. vegasseven. vegasseven LCC. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
  155. Jump up^ Naras (February 26, 2014). “Grammy Foundation Launches Bruno Mars Scholarship Fund”. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  156. Jump up^ MYX Philippines. “Bruno Mars’ “Treasure” For Kids Affected By Typhoon Yolanda”. MYX. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  157. Jump up^ Debbie Emery (April 25, 2014). “Brad Pitt Launches New ‘Make It Right’ Campaign With Groupon”. The Hollywood Reporter. Lynne Segall. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
  158. Jump up^ Amanda Gordon (April 7, 2014). “Bruno Mars, John Oliver to Headline Robin Hood Benefit”. Bloomerang. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
  159. Jump up^ “Bruno Mars Grammy Awards Won”. NARAS. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  160. Jump up^ Brit Awards for Bruno Mars:
  161. Jump up^ MTV Europe Music Awards for Bruno Mars:
  162. Jump up^ B.o.B (April 21, 2011). “The 2011 Time 100”. Time. Time Inc. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
  163. Jump up^ “Hot 100 Songwriters”. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
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  165. Jump up^ Trust, Gary (December 10, 2014). “Taylor Swift Tops Hot 100, Meghan Trainor Scores Second Top 10”. Billboard. RetrievedDecember 10, 2014.
  166. Jump up^ Trust, Gary (May 7, 2014). “John Legend’s ‘All Of Me’ Tops Hot 100, Ariana Grande Debuts At No. 3”. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  167. Jump up^ Trust, Gary (February 13, 2013). “Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ ‘Thrift Shop’ No. 1 on Hot 100 for Fourth Week”. Billboard. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  168. Jump up^ “Mediabase – Year End 13” (PDF). Mediabase. 2013. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
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  170. Jump up^ “Bruno Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars Top Hot 100 With ‘Uptown Funk!'”. Billboard. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
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  172. Jump up^ Paul Grein (November 6, 2013). “Chart Watch: Eminem & The Fab Four”. Yahoo Music. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  173. Jump up^ “Music subscription revenues help drive growth in most major markets”. IFPI. IFPI. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
  174. Jump up^ Locked out of Heaven certifications:
  175. Jump up^ Palmer, Brian (August 6, 2014). “Mission from Mars”.Eugene Weekly. Archived from the original on September 14, 2015. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  176. Jump up^ “Super Bowl 48 Halftime Show”. NFL. Retrieved March 2,2014.
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  178. Jump up^ Jesse Lawrence (April 4, 2014). “Sparse Primary Market Helps Drive Up Price of Bruno Mars Tickets on Secondary Market”. Forbes. Forbes, Inc. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
  179. Jump up^ Rodriguez, Priscilla (January 29, 2014). “8 tings to know about Bruno Mars’ girlfriend”. Latina. Lauren Michaels. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  180. Jump up^ “On the Cover: The Secret History of Bruno Mars”. Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. April 24, 2013. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
  181. Jump up^ Coleman, Miriam (June 2, 2013). “Bruno Mars’ Mother Dies of Brain Aneurysm”. Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. RetrievedMarch 27, 2015.
  182. Jump up^ Mumbi Moody, Nekesa (June 2, 2013). “Bruno Mars’ Mother Dead At 55, According To Source”. The Huffington Post. AOL. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. RetrievedMarch 27, 2015.
  183. Jump up^ Staff, THR (June 7, 2013). “Bruno Mars Breaks Silence on His Mother’s Death”. The Hollywood Reporter. Lynne Segall. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  184. Jump up^ Ferreiro, Laura (June 7, 2013). “Bruno Mars Speaks Out on His Mother’s Death”. Yahoo! Music. Yahoo!. RetrievedMarch 27, 2015.
  185. ^ Jump up to:a b Martins, Chris (January 29, 2014). “Wanna Be a ‘Billionaire’: Bruno Mars and Travie McCoy Sued Over Copyright”. Spin. Spin Media. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  186. Jump up^ Breihan, Tom (April 30, 2015). “The Gap Band Awarded Writing Credit On “Uptown Funk!””. Stereogum. SpinMedia. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  187. Jump up^ Christman, Ed (May 1, 2015). “‘Uptown Funk!’ Gains More Writers After Gap Band’s Legal Claim”. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  188. Jump up^ “Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars accused of plagiarising Uptown Funk, again”. The Independent. August 12, 2015. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  189. Jump up^ “Bruno Mars Says His First No. 1 Hit Was Rejected Because of His Race”. Y101. Retrieved July 4, 2013.
  190. ^ Jump up to:a b Goodman, William (May 10, 2011). “Bruno Mars Responds to Tyler, the Creator’s Dis”. Spin. Spin Media. RetrievedDecember 26, 2011.
  191. Jump up^ The Creator, Tyler, (April 24, 2015). “Tyler, The Creator’s tweet about Bruno Mars’ VMAs 2013 Performance of ‘Gorilla’!”. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  192. Jump up^ “Kanye West: ‘Bruno Mars Won All The Motherfucking Awards'”. Huffington Post. Prometheus Global Media. November 21, 2013. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  193. Jump up^ Stutz, Colin (February 26, 2015). “Kanye West Apologizes to Beck — And Bruno Mars Too”. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 3, 2015.

External links

Preceded by
Kanye West
Saturday Night Live musical guest
October 9, 2010
Succeeded by
Kings of Leon
Preceded by
Christina Applegate
Saturday Night Live host
October 20, 2012
Succeeded by
Louis C.K.
Preceded by
Passion Pit
Saturday Night Live musical guest
October 20, 2012
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Kendrick Lamar
Saturday Night Live musical guest
(with Mark Ronson)

November 22, 2014
Succeeded by
Nicki Minaj

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