Peter Gene Hernandez, or as we all know him by his stage name Bruno Mars, was born in Honolulu to a Filipino singer and a Puerto Rican-born percussionist raised in Brooklyn. The 25-year-old singer and songwriter covers the latest issue of ‘Billboard’ magazine and chats about fame, the road to success, and future plans.
Mars began producing songs for other artists and started to became popular after lending his vocals and co-writing the hooks for B.o.B’s “Nothin’ on You” and Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire”, collaborations which represented the beginning of his solo career. Therefore, in 2010 he released a four-track digital-only EP, titled “It’s Better If You Don’t Understand”. However, the key moment of his professional path was in August 2010 when Mars performed his first New York show at the Bowery Ballroom. “It could have gone really bad. But that’s how we got ‘Saturday Night Live.’ That’s how we got all the great things that we got. That night was one of the most special moments for me. It was the first time I was singing my songs and the crowd was singing them back,” he told ‘Billboard’.
However, the road to success wasn’t so easy as the artist recalls being turned down by every label before Elektra Records gave him a chance. “There was a lot of rejection. A lot of other labels saying, ‘You don’t know who the hell you are. You’re doing all this reggae, R&B, rock stuff. How the hell do we market that? Are you pop? Are you urban,’ Mars says.
Bruno released his debut album in October 2010, a 10-track album, which mixes pop, soul, soft rock, reggae and swing, and which has been certified 14 times platinum worldwide. “It’s a rare thing that happens, especially in this day, where it’s real hard to sell albums. I’m traveling to places that I’ve never even heard of and there are all these people singing the songs back — and English is not even their first language. It’s like, what the hell happened,” Mars says.
Mars admits that, “As a new artist it’s important to show the core fans what I sound like live… for them to hear every single line and see the intricacy that we all put into a show.” Besides, he remains down-to-earth and focused. “When people fall is when they’re like, ‘OK. Now I’m here, what’s next? A clothing line?’ That’s not what I’m trying to do. It’s like, ‘Don’t be a slut. Remember your dream. Do your music and keep it special'”, he told the magazine.
Speaking about his February charge for cocaine possession the singer says that this moment chases him despite all his accomplishments. Still, he wants to be known for his music. “It’s something that I wish would go away. It’s a cloud that constantly follows me no matter how many achievements. I’d like to move on. To show that I’m here for my music. Not to be in a tabloid,” Mars confesses.
On his future plans, the singer says that, “I’m itching and jonesing to get back into the studio and fantasizing about doing a side project. I’m such a fan of how Jack White and Danger Mouse get down and put these bands together. I’d love to be the drummer in a band that I’m producing, and sit back there and have someone else sing.” Then, he reveals that, “I’m just a mixed-up dude. I want to work with the Kanyes, the Jay-Zs… a Rihanna, a Gaga, Kings of Leon, Mumford & Sons. I want to do all those things. As proud as I am of “Doo-Wops,” I feel like, ‘Oh, man. People haven’t seen nothing. They don’t even know what I’m about to do,’ and that’s what I can’t wait to show the world.”
Photos courtesy of Billboard