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Bruno Mars is the stage name of Peter Gene Hernandez, a producer, singer and songwriter born on the 8th of October, 1985 who hails from Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.A. Since debuting in 2009 he has become one of the most musically diverse and commercially successful pop stars in the world.
If there’s one thing that makes the current pop charts an exciting place to be it’s the return of pop’s great auteurs. The renegades who can make a delicious pop single out of the most far flung hooks and long dead genre’s, we need to hang on to the likes of Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, and our current topic Bruno Mars, for as long as we can. It’s very telling that the thing that unites all of those artists that I just mentioned is the fact that they all got their breaks as ground-breaking producers. Their time spent engineering every aspect of other people’s songs meant that they’re free to experiment, and Mars does so more than any of them.
Mars was born into a musical family, and by the time he was five years old he was performing four nights a week with his family’s band The Love Notes. He made a name for himself with a dead on Elvis Presley impersonation, but it was a later obsession with Jimi Hendrix that lead him to pick up the guitar and start writing songs. At the age of 17 he graduated from high school and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a full time career in music, everything looked to be going his way as he signed a contract with Motown Records in 2004, the year after he made the move, but it was not to be the case.
Music industry fumbling meant that Mars went nowhere with his solo career but made one crucial contact in the form of Phillip Lawrence, with whom he would later team up with to form his production group The Smeezingtons along with Ari Levine. The trio hustled around LA writing and producing hits for The Sugababes, Travie McCoy and Sean Kingston among many others, but it wasn’t until 2009 when Mars started making guest appearances on those songs, and in 2010 they caught lightning in a bottle with B.O.B’s “Nothin’ On You”, not just written and produced by Mars’ trio, but with its killer hook sung by Mars himself.
With a serious amount of buzz generated by “Nothin’ On You”, Mars released his debut E.P “It’s Better If You Don’t Understand” in May of the same year. A couple of months later his single “Just The Way You Are” reached the summit of the Billboard Hot 100 and the hits have kept on coming since then. “Grenade”? “Treasure”? “Locked Out Of Heaven”? “The Lazy Song”? There just doesn’t seem to be any way of stopping this once in a generation talent, and he’s still yet to reach his prime, either on record or in his blistering live shows. Highly recommended.