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MAIN Arrow to Art & CultureArt & Culture Arrow to Pop CulturePop Culture Arrow to Pop MusicPop Music Arrow to Bruno MaraBruno Mars

Bruno MarsThe golden voiced Bruno Mars was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on October 8, 1985, to a family of musicians, but you won't find any trace of him until he appears on the music scene in Los Angeles, CA years later. Why?

He may be better known by his stage name Bruno Mars, but he was born as Peter Gene Hernandez.

His dad, Pete “Dr. Doo Wop” Hernandez, started calling him Bruno when he was a baby. The story goes that the little boy reminded his dad of pro wrestler Bruno Sammartino... or it might just have been easier than having two talented musicians named Pete Hernandez sharing the stage.

Bruno started performing doo-wop, Motown and R&B with his family's band when he was four.

His impersonation of Elvis Presley was so good that it earned him the title of the youngest Elvis impersonator in Hawaii. If you get a chance, check out the 1992 Hollywood film, “Honeymoon in Vegas,” to see Bruno performing his “Elvis.” Of course, Bruno did an amazing Michael Jackson impersonation, too!

Bruno's musical gifts don't come just from his Puerto Rican dad who is an “incredible percussionist.” His Filipina (Cebuano) mother, Bernadette “Bernie” San Pedro Bayot Hernandez, is a vocalist. Add them both together and you come up with Bruno's great voice, stunning good looks and strong sense of rhythm.

Bruno Mars & his dad Pete Hernandez Love Notes
Photo via BMF

After Bruno Mars graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in Honolulu, he moved to Los Angeles to make his name in music. When he hit LA in 2003 Bruno adopted the stage name Mars.

When asked about why he chose that name he said: "I felt like I didn't have no pizzazz, and a lot of girls say I'm out of this world, so I was like I guess I'm from Mars." ... and that's how a pop legend gets his name!

Bruno Mars discovered that the music scene in LA was hard to break into... even with a lifetime of performing behind you. He tried work as a DJ but it wasn't where his talents were. He finally hooked up with Motown Records thanks to an introduction from his sister.

He didn't stay at Motown for long, but while he was there he met label-mate and songwriter Philip Lawrence. They brought in engineer Ari Levine and formed The Smeezingtons. In an interview he explains the unsual name:

The Smeezingtons are your production team. Who are the other two and where did that name come from?

It’s me, Phillip Lawrence, and Ari Levine. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We used to always say in the studio, “Yo, this is going to be a smash!” And then it turned into, “This is a smeeze!” Then, “This is a Smeezington.” We were just like, “We should just base our whole situation upon this word. How great would it be if record labels were like, ‘We have to get The Smeezingtons involved?’”

Soon they started branching out and began writing and producing songs for other artists. Brandy's "Long Distance" and K'naan's Biscuit were just two of these collaborations. Still, the Motown gig and the Smeezingtons were not working for Bruno Mars.


Going Solo

He signed with Atlantic Records in 2009 and became recognized as a solo artist after his vocals on songs like "Nothin' on You" by B.o.B and "Billionaire" by Travie McCoyand started bringing some serious attention. The fact that he co-wrote the hooks for both songs added to his credit as a serious rising star. He also co-wrote Flo Rida's hit, "Right Round" featuring Ke$ha, and "Wavin' Flag" by K'naan.

Atlantic Records was a good move and a better fit for Mars mix of races, voices and styles. By October 2010 he had released his debut album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans. The album made it all the way to #3 on the Billboard 200 propelled by the worldwide number-one singles "Just the Way You Are" and "Grenade".

The music industry had finally noticed Bruno Mars -- big time! He was nominated for seven Grammys at the 53rd Grammy Awards. He walked away with the award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Mars told reporters."I'm so glad the album is being recognized in this way...This awards stuff, I’m still trying to get used to it..."



Bruno Mars has crafted his own style. It may be due to his family's heritage spanning many cultures or his early days in Hawaii, but you can hear it in his voice and the beat of his songs. Even his earliest days on stage showed the influence of artists such as Elvis Presley and Little Richard. He said in a Playboy interview, “I think Hendrix is the greatest guitar player in the world, and I would want to see him do his thing in person. He’s the reason I picked up a guitar in the first place.”

Mars also credits the Neptunes, Timbaland, Prince, Tupac Shakur and Michael Jackson as influences. When you listen to Mars singing you hear suggestions of reggae and Motown inspired sounds in his work.

“Growing up in the showbiz world, I looked up to ... Frank Sinatra and, of course, Elvis Presley... If you look at those groups, or at James Brown, Jackie Wilson, and the Temptations in the 1960s, you’ll see you had to be sharp onstage.”

After all that mix, throw in his years of working with his dad's 'doo wop' groups and you wind up with Bruno Mars, a brilliant, genre busting, hip-hop-soul-and-so-much-more artist.

Even as a mature musician, he has worked with artists from many different genres and understands that every collaboration with a respected peer continues to bring new depth and nuance to his own musical experience.

His gift is to fuse many musical genres into a hit song that exposes the wide variety of styles and influences that shaped him musically while remaining true to who he is as a performer.

Jon Caramanica of The New York Times reviewed Bruno Mars early in his rise to fame and referred to Mars as "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."

Don't be fooled by the sweet, soft falsetto voice. Listen to the lyrics and you'll hear plenty of street hip hop raunch. This man can hold his own and shine in any musical arena.

At the 54th Grammy Awards in 2012, Bruno Mars received 6 nominations including the top categories “Record Of The Year”, “Album of The Year” and “Song of the Year”.

Bruno Mars was also a leading nominee in the 2012 Billboard Music Awards with five nominations, including Top Streaming Artist, Top Male Artist and Top Hot 100 Artist.

Bruno Mars recognition and list of awards is not limited to the USA.

Bruno Mars has sold 5 million albums and 36 million singles worldwide. He became the best-digital selling artist worldwide in 2011 with three singles in the top ten, including first place with "Just The Way You Are," which sold 12.5 million copies. The accolades continue. Mars won Best International Male Solo Artist at the BRIT Awards in 2012.

In addition, Mars contributed to the wildly popular "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" with the song "It Will Rain."

You can follow Bruno Mars on Twitter at: #!/BRUNOMARS


More about Bruno Mars around the Web:

Bruno Mars The Official Site - News, videos, pics, music and more make this site a great hangout for Bruno Mars fans, but the best parts are the community and fan club sections where you can log in and leave messages for the Mars man and hang with other fans. Check out the latest songs and concert dates and see what everyone else is saying. Peek at a pic of 'lil Bruno with his mom, sisters and older brother!

Bruno Mars dot US - Lots of inside info on this fan site keeps you up to date on Bruno Mars latest personal and musical activities. Plenty of coverage that you don't find anywhere else and a nice selection of pictures.

Bruno Mars Wikipedia - General bio info and more from the user edited encyclopedia site. Good place to get details but remember that anyone can add or take away from what is written.

 

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