There have been numerous musical artists that have come from Hawaii over the years, but there are only a few that are as successful in today’s era as Bruno Mars. With his collection of pop, R&B, soul, and funk hits, Bruno Mars was able to win numerous Grammy Awards, including seven for his R&B album “24K Magic,” released in 2016. Who is Bruno Mars? And how was he able to become one of the most successful musical artists in recent years? Let us find out as we learn the story of the famous Hawaiian Bruno Mars.
The Early Life of Bruno Mars
Peter Gene Hernandez, better known today by his stage name “Bruno Mars,” was born on October 8, 1985, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Bruno’s father, Peter Hernandez, has half Puerto Rican and half Jewish blood, while his mother, Bernadette San Pedro Bayot, was from the Philippines and emigrated to Hawaii. Bruno Mars’s parents met while performing in a show where his mother was a Hula dancer while his father played percussion. When Bruno was two years old, his father gave him the nickname “Bruno” because of how he resembled a famous professional wrestler named Bruno Sammartino.
Bruno Mars’s family is musically inclined, with his mother being a singer and dancer and his father being a musician. Bruno’s uncle is a known Elvis Presley impersonator, and it is the same uncle that encouraged Bruno Mars to try singing songs by Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson. At the young age of four, Bruno Mars was already singing songs for his family’s band, The Love Notes. It was during this time that Bruno became famous in Hawaii for his impersonation of Elvis Presley.
Inspired by Jimi Hendrix, Bruno Mars would later learn how to play the guitar, which would then be instrumental in him writing his own songs instead of continuing to sing covers and impersonate Elvis Presley. He would later record a demo and send it to his sister, who lived in Los Angeles during the early 2000.
His sister would then play the same demo to Mike Lynn, who was the head of the A&R (artists and repertoire) department for Aftermath Entertainment, a record label owned by Dr. Dre. Lynn was impressed by Bruno’s demo, so he called the singer and made him fly to Los Angeles for a meeting. It was in 2003, when he was just 17 years old that Bruno Mars would move to LA to try to pursue a musical career.
While in LA, he adopted the stage name “Bruno Mars.” The “Mars” in his stage name was derived from another childhood nickname that his father gave him, “Mars.” The creation of the stage name was deliberate in order for Mars to avoid being stereotyped as a Latin artist because of his surname. In fact, there have been some people that were trying to convince Mars to sing in the Spanish language.
Bruno Mars as a Music Producer
In 2004, Bruno Mars signed a contract with Motown Records, one of the most popular record labels in the United States. However, the deal went nowhere, and he was dropped by the label in 2004. But Bruno Mars never let that failure get to him, as he continued to find more opportunities in Los Angeles throughout the mid-2000s.
In addition to singing songs as a solo artist and as a member of a band called Sex Panther, Bruno Mars would also produce music and wrote songs for numerous artists, including Flo Rida, Sean Kingston, and Adam Levine. Two of his most-known compositions for other artists were “Nothin’ on You,” which was written for American rapper B.o.B in 2009, and “Billionaire,” which was sung by Travie McCoy in 2010. These two songs also helped launch his solo career, as he was featured as a singer on both of those songs.
Doo-Wops & Hooligans
The release of “Just the Way You Are” in July of 2010 launched Bruno Mars into stardom. The album where the said song appears, “Doo-Wops & Hooligans,” was also released in 2010 and was a chart-topper in numerous countries around the world. Aside from “Just the Way You Are,” Bruno Mars’s debut album also features popular songs like “Grenade,” “The Lazy Song,” and “Talking to the Moon.”
To promote the album, Bruno Mars participated as the opening act for Maroon 5 and OneRepublic in the early months of 2010. Then, he would have a co-headlined European tour with Travie McCoy that started in October 2010. After achieving success with numerous chart-topping singles throughout 2010, Bruno Mars embarked on his first headline concert tour from November 2010 to January 2012.
For the album, Bruno Mars was able to win his first Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 2011 Grammy Awards. Besides the said award, Mars was also nominated for Best Rap Song, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, and Producer of the Year (Non-Classical).
On December 11, 2012, Bruno Mars released his sophomore album titled “Unorthodox Jukebox.” True to its title, the album features numerous genres that pushed Bruno Mars to experiment with his musical style. Some of the popular songs in this album include “Locked Out of Heaven,” “Treasure,” and “When I Was Your Man.”
To support the release of the album, Bruno Mars launched the Moonshine Jungle Tour, which ran from June 2013 to October 2014. On February 2, 2014, Bruno Mars was the headline performer for the Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show, and he had the Red Hot Chili Peppers as special guests for his performance. Bruno Mars’s stint in the said halftime show was the first Super Bowl halftime that was headlined by a performer that is 30 years old or less in a decade.
Because of Bruno Mars’s popularity during that time, his performance set the record for the most-watched halftime show in Super Bowl history at that time, as he was able to get 115.3 million viewers to tune in to his performance.
At the 2014 Grammy Awards, Bruno Mars won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album and earned nominations for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance. It was also in 2014 when Bruno Mars and British musician Mark Ronson released the hit song “Uptown Funk,” which spent about fourteen weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Bruno Mars’s third studio album, “24K Magic,” was released on November 18, 2016, to critical acclaim. The album features funk and R&B songs, which are supposed to be Bruno’s specialty and are the genres that made him popular during the years of promoting his first and second albums.
The album was supposed to be released in March of 2016, but it was postponed as Bruno Mars was busy preparing for his appearance in the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show on February 7, 2016. The Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show was headlined by British rock band Coldplay, and their special guests were Beyonce and Bruno Mars. It broke the record for Bruno Mars’s halftime show total viewers, as it attracted about 115.5 million viewers. During the months of preparation for the halftime show, Bruno Mars had already recorded seven songs for his new album.
The first single for the album, which is the title track “24K Magic,” was released in October 2016. Other singles that were released to support the album include “That’s What I Like” and “Versace on the Floor.” Bruno Mars then embarked on his third headlining concert tour called the 24K Magic World Tour, which ran from March 2017 to December 2018.
Bruno Mars won six awards at the 2018 Grammy Awards for 24K Magic and its singles, including Record of the Year, Best R&B Performance, Album of the Year, and Best R&B Song. Interestingly, the album’s engineers also won the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album (Non-Classical) in the same year.
An Evening with Silk Sonic
In March 2020, Bruno Mars announced that he was working on his next album. During the months of quarantine in the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Bruno Mars wrote music every day that he plans to record for his new album. It was also in 2020 when Bruno Mars sold a portion of his song catalog to Warner Chappell Music while still keeping a small share of the catalog.
On February 26, 2021, Bruno Mars announced that he had formed a partnership with rapper Anderson .Paak to record an album under the super duo name Silk Sonic. The super duo’s debut album, “An Evening with Silk Sonic,” was released on November 12, 2021. The album was a commercial and critical success, and it was able to produce several hits, including “Leave the Door Open,” “After Last Night,” and “Skate.”
In support of the super duo’s debut album, Silk Sonic hosted their debut concert residency called “An Evening with Silk Sonic at Park MGM.” At the 2022 Grammy Awards, Silk Sonic was able to win Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best R&B Song, and Best R&B Performance.
Bruno Mars’s Fourth Studio Album
Bruno Mars began working on his fourth studio album in February 2023. Mars asked Brody Brown, a renowned songwriter and producer, to join him in the writing and producing process of his album, which is expected to be released in 2024.
Bruno Mars is arguably one of the most popular artists of the 21st century, and many music critics, producers, fans, and avid music listeners believe that Mars will continue to become popular in the future because of how Mars is able to set the trend in music while also being able to be adaptive to changes in trends.