Bruno Mars

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 in 2010
Born Peter Gene Hernandez
(1985-10-08) October 8, 1985
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 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 Records in 2009.

In 2009, he co-founded the production team The Smeezingtons, responsible for the singles "Nothin' on You" by B.o.B and "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy. He featured on the hooks for both singles, becoming recognized as a solo artist. His debut studio album Doo-Wops & Hooligans (2010) included 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 (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 2014, Mars lent his vocals to Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk". In 2016, he released his third studio album 24K Magic with the lead single of the same title released on October 7, 2016. To date, 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 Time's 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 and retro showmanship. He is accompanied by his band, The Hooligans, who play a variety of instruments such as electric guitar, bass, piano, keyboards, drums and horns, and also serve as backup singers and dancers. Mars performs 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 San Pedro Bayot (1957–2013).[2]

His father is of half Puerto Rican and half Ashkenazi Jewish descent, and is originally from Brooklyn, New York.[3][4] His mother emigrated from the Philippines to Hawaii as a child, and was of Filipino, and some Spanish, ancestry.[3][5] His parents met while performing in a show in which his mother was a hula dancer and his father played percussion.[4] At the age of two, he was nicknamed "Bruno" by his father, because of his resemblance to professional wrestler Bruno Sammartino.[6][7][8]

Mars is one of six children and came from a musical family which exposed him to a diverse mix of genres including: reggae, rock, hip hop, and R&B.[9][10] His mother was both a singer and a dancer, and his father performed Little Richard rock and roll music.[11] Mars' uncle was an Elvis impersonator, and also encouraged three-year-old Mars to perform on stage. Mars performed songs by artists such as Michael Jackson, The Isley Brothers, and The Temptations.[7] At age four, Mars began performing five days a week with his family's band, The Love Notes, and became known on the island for his impersonation of Presley.[12] In 1990, Mars was featured in MidWeek as "Little Elvis", and later appeared in a cameo role in the film Honeymoon in Vegas (1992).[7][13]

The time Mars spent impersonating Presley had a major impact on his musical evolution and performing techniques.[14] He later began playing guitar after being inspired by Jimi Hendrix.[15] 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."[16] When he attended President Theodore Roosevelt High School he performed in a group called The School Boys.[17] In 2003, shortly after graduating from high school at the age of 17, Mars moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue a musical career.[7][13] 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."[18]

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.[19]

Shortly after moving to Los Angeles, Mars signed with Motown Records in 2004, in a deal that "went nowhere", and had a conversation with's management which turned out to be fruitless.[20][21] 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.[20]

After Mars was dropped by the label 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.[22][23]

"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.[23]

Lindsey showed Jeff Bhasker and Mars the ins and outs of writing pop music, and acted as a mentor helping him to hone his craft. Bhasker, 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), who 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."[22][23][24] Mars played cover songs around Los Angeles in a band with Bhasker and Eric Hernandez, (Mars' brother), who is now The Hooligans' drummer.[25]

When Lawrence was first told he should meet Mars he was reluctant to do so since he did not even have money for bus fare. Keith Harris, drummer for the The Black Eyed Peas, 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."[26] 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, who was looking for songs for a reunited Menudo. He liked their song "Lost", which was written for Mars. The duo did not want to give the song away, but when they were offered $20,000 for it they agreed. The sale of this song allowed them to continue working,[26] and Mars and Lawrence decided that they would write and produce songs together for other artists.[23]

In 2006, Lawrence introduced Mars to his future A&R manager at Atlantic Records, Aaron Bay-Schuck.[27] After hearing him play a couple of songs on the guitar, Bay-Schuck wanted to sign him immediately, but it took roughly three years for Atlantic records to finally sign Mars to the label,[27] because they felt it was too early and that he still needed to develop as an artist.[28]

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.[9][19] He also co-wrote the Sugababes' hit song "Get Sexy" and provided backing vocals on their album Sweet 7.[29] His first recorded appearance as a singer was on Far East Movement's second studio album Animal, on the track "3D".[30] He was also featured on pastor and hip hop artist Jaeson Ma's debut single "Love" in August 2009.[31][32] 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 on many charts worldwide.[33][34][35][36]

He said 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.[37] The EP peaked at number 99 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.[38][39] Mars collaborated with Green once more in August 2010 composing his single "Fuck You" with The Smeezingtons.[40]

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,[36] 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, as well as several other charts worldwide, in September.[42][43] The song holds the record as the longest-reigning debut format hit, 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 on October 21, 2010.[47] "Grenade" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in December[48] and was also successful on other international charts.[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 worldwide.[53] In February 2011, "The Lazy Song" was released as the album's third single[54] becoming the album's third consecutive top five on the Hot 100, peaking at number four on October 23, 2011.[55]

"Marry You" followed as the fourth single from Doo-Wops & Hooligans on August 22, 2011.[56] Although it was not released as a single in the United States, it peaked at number 85 on the Hot 100 on January 15, 2011, thanks 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, that 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 on 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, which was available for purchase on October 11, 2011.[64] The songs peaked at number four, sixteen and seven on 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.[21][67] While 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 was told that the charges would be erased from his criminal record as long as he stayed out of trouble for a year. He paid a $2,000 fine, did 200 hours of community service, and completed a drug counseling course.[70] Nevertheless, in 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 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."[21]

He opened for Maroon 5 on the fall leg of their 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 was on the The Doo-Wops & Hooligans Tour, in support of the album, after turning down multiple offers to open for famous pop artists on arena tours, since his 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 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 in which he was nominated and he 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 his 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 on 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 in 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 units.[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 the 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 achieved five number one singles on the Hot 100 more quickly than Mars.[83] It reached the top ten in fifteen countries. The third single "Treasure" peaked at number five in the United States[57] but 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 Universe which featured Tyga, Mystic, and Mars on vocals, becoming the band's most successful single to date in the US until the release of "Lean On".[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 in North America on October 18, 2014, with eight shows at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas performed between December 2013 and October 2014.[88] On September 8, 2013, the 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 on stage by Red Hot Chili Peppers as musical guests.[90] It was the first Super Bowl halftime headlined by a performer under 30, and of Puerto Rican descent.[91] The show was the second most watched halftime show in the history of the Super Bowl, drawing a record rating of 115.3 million viewers, surpassed only by Katy Perry's halftime show which had 3.2 million more viewers.[92][93]

At the 56th Grammy Awards, Mars won the award for 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 played the role of Roberto in the movie Rio 2 which was released in theaters on March 20, 2014.[95] He also contributed the song "Welcome Back" to the soundtrack.[96] Like its predecessor, Rio 2 was a financial success[97] and panned by critics.[98] In October 2014, Mark Ronson announced that he would release a new single on November 10, 2014, titled "Uptown Funk", featuring Mars' vocals.[99] The song was a commercial success reaching number one in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and several other countries. According to Billboard Mars was the twelfth highest paid musician of 2013, with earnings of $18,839,681.[100] In December 2013, he was named Artist of the Year by Billboard[101] 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.[102] In addition, he was thirteenth on the 2014 list of The World's Most Powerful Celebrities with estimated earnings of $60 million.[103]

2015–present: Super Bowl 50 Halftime performance and 24K Magic

After ending the Moonshine Jungle Tour, Mars began working on his third studio album, 24K Magic. He wrote on his Facebook page: "Now it's time to start writing chapter 3".[104] The artist had not come up with a date for the release, stating: "Until it's done ... It's gotta be just as good if not better".[105] On March 25, 2015, the singer-songwriter was interviewed by that's Shanghai magazine and provided some details of the new album, confirming Mark Ronson and Jeff Bhasker as producers. He 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".[106] In the same year, Mars was involved in the composition of "All I Ask", a track from Adele's third studio album, 25.[107]

On December 2, 2015, it was announced that Coldplay would be headline performers on the halftime show for Super Bowl 50 on February 7, 2016.[108][109] Mars and Beyoncé were invited as guest acts on the show making them the third and fourth artists to have appeared on the Super Bowl halftime show twice, along with Justin Timberlake and Nelly, and surpassed only by Gloria Estefan with three appearances.[110] Nielsen ratings confirmed that the show was watched by 111.9 million viewers, thus becoming the third most watched halftime show in its history after Katy Perry and Mars were headline performer.[111] 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. Mars starred in the second season of Jane the Virgin as a musical guest.[112] On May 10, 2016, Billboard reported that Mars and his manager, Brendon Creed, had split after nine years working together.[113]

In early 2016, Rolling Stone ranked Mars' third album as one of the 20 most anticipated of 2016.[114] The singer has been in the studio with engineer Charles Moniz, who called it "the next movement of Bruno" and confirmed the album was close to being finished in February 2016.[115] Mars also worked with Skrillex, who stated: "what we're doing is so f--king different, awesome and next level and sounds like nothing else that's happened before."[116] Jamareo Artis of The Hooligans, disclosed that he has been working on the album for about a year, "trying different ideas and experimenting." He added "it’s going to have a new sound...the material is very groove-oriented", set to be released this year[117] Singer-songwriter Andrew Wyatt has also been working on the album.[118] Mars' father confirmed the album was set to be released in March and seven songs have already been recorded, but his son's appearance at the Super Bowl halftime show led to the release being postponed for several months.[119] Mars has also played some of his new songs to American hip hop artist Missy Elliot.[120]

"24K Magic" was released as the lead single from 24K Magic on October 7, 2016.[121] It was promoted with his performance on Saturday Night Live.[122] Mars will have a Las Vegas residency show in MGM’s Park Theater at Monte Carlo on December 30-31, 2016, with more shows scheduled for March 2017.[123]



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."[14]

He also impersonated Michael Jackson and Little Richard who were both major inspirations.[5][11] 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,and Frankie Lymon.[124][125] The hip-hop productions by The Neptunes and Timbaland, that were played on the radio constantly, also influenced him.[124]

Mars' musical style gravitated initially towards R&B since he was influenced by artists such as Keith Sweat, Jodeci, and R. Kelly.[126] As a child he also took notice of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, New Edition, Bobby Brown, Boyz II Men, Teddy Riley and Babyface.[127] At the same time, he also listened to 1950s rock 'n' roll, doo-wop music, and Motown.[126] In high school, he listened to classic rock groups such as Led Zeppelin, and The Beatles, whose influences can be heard in Mars' work,[126] as well as singers with high voices, like Stevie Wonder and Freddie Mercury.[128] Bob Marley, and local bands in Hawaii, were a major influence and account for his reggae roots.[4] Hip-hop acts like Jay-Z, The Roots, and Cody Chesnutt were among some of Mars' favourites, and have influenced his composition skills.[126] Each of these musical genres has 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."[126] Mars also admires classical music.[129]

Other artists Mars has said inspired his work included: Jimi Hendrix,[5][126][129] Sly Stone, Carlos Santana, George Clinton, Coldplay, and Usher.[11][129][130] Mars has also stated that he is a fan of: Alicia Keys, Jessie J, Jack White, The Saturdays, and Kings of Leon.[131]

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,[132] rock,[132] reggae,[132] R&B,[133] soul,[134] and hip hop.[124] His debut album Doo-Wops & Hooligans, a pop record, is influence by these genres.[134] His subsequent release, Unorthodox Jukebox, as with his debut album, is infused with different influences including dance, rock reggae and soul, as well as balladry.[135][136] Lyrically, the album is different than the former, addressing traditional notions of romance, male chauvinism, and sexuality.[135][137] The explicit content in the song "Gorilla" caused a controversy in the UK.[138] Many of his songs, particularly on Doo-Wops & Hooligans, reflect "feel-good", carefree, and optimistic sentiments.[139] However, darker subjects are addressed in his songs, detailing failed relationships and self-destructive behaviour.[134][140] Mars has explained his writing process: "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."[106]

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." [141] Mars states that growing up in Hawaii influenced his style, 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."[4]

Philip Lawrence, one of his music partners from The Smeezingtons, 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".[142]

Mars possesses a three octave tenor vocal range.[136] 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",[124] 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."[143] Jody Rosen from Rolling Stone called Mars a "nimble, soulful vocalist" on Unorthodox Jukebox. Jim Farber of the New York 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.[144] Mars is also able to play drums,[145][146] guitar,[146][147] keyboard,[147] bass,[146] and piano.[83][147] Mars usually plays the instrumentation or part of it, on his albums and on the songs he composes for other artists.[146][148]


Mars performing in a concert
Bruno Mars and The Hooligans performing with strobe lights

Mars is known for his retro showmanship which is widely acclaimed by tour critics and reviewers.[149][150][151] A journalist from Mirrors Magazine says that "the showmanship on Bruno’s stage was like none other that I’ve ever seen" comparing him to Michael Jackson.[152] Kevin C. Johnson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch called Mars a "consummate performer."[149] The Boston Globe music critique, Sarah Rodman, said that Mars shows an "indefatigable ecstatic approach to performing" and "classic showmanship."[150] In the same vein, Jim Farber of the Daily News stated of the halftime show at Super Bowl XLVIII that Mars "brings old-school showmanship to dynamic performance."[151]

Rolling Stone magazine placed Mars at number 35 on its list of 50 Best Live Acts Right Now in 2013; he is the youngest act besides Janelle Monàe and Lady Gaga on 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".[153] Jason Lipshutz of Billboard described Mars' performance as "entertaining ... 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".[154] 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.[101]

At most of his concerts Mars is accompanied by The Hooligans, a band that includes: a guitarist, bassist, drummer, keyboardist, and a horn section. They also serve as dancers and background singers.[149][155] Mars' shows feature all-band choreographed dancing arrangements, which include "fancy, slick and fantastic" footwork that is inspired by James Brown and the splits.[153][156][157] His shows are heavily influenced by the disco era with a soul revue-inspired set.[149][151] 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.[149][155] His set list blends several genres of music such as: pop, doo-wop, funk, R&B, soul and reggae.[149][150] Mars' shows usually feature pyrotechnics, strobe and laser lighting,[149][150] and he typically plays the drums and guitar.[149][150]

The Hooligans – Band members

Current members[158]
  • Bruno Mars – lead vocals, guitar (2010–present)
  • Philip Lawrence – backing vocals (2010–present)
  • Phredley Brown – keyboard (2010–2012), lead guitar (2012–present), backing 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 (2012–present)
Former members
  • Kenji Chan – lead guitar (2010–2012)

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."[159]

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" ... "[a]nd I'm happy to be a part of it."[160]

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 [161] and the aged "natural cacao rum" Selvarey Cacao.[162]


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 from Hawaii.[163]

Mars' donated $100,000 (US) to the orphans of Bantay Bata, who were among the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, in order raise the morale of those who lost their families and homes.[164] Bruno Mars performed at the Make It Right gala, whose campaign goal is to "help build homes for people in need."[165] Mars also performed at the Robin Hood Foundation's 2014 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."[166] A day before a concert in the Philippines the singer donated $100,000 (US) to the "Typhoon Yolanda" survivors.[167]


Bruno Mars has earned numerous awards and honors throughout his career, including four Grammy Awards,[168] three Brit Awards[169] and three MTV Europe Music Awards.[170] In 2011, Mars made Time magazine's 100 list and in 2013 he was considered the sixth best songwriter of that year by Billboard.[171][172] The Smeezingtons, Mars' songwriting and record producing team, have earned several accolades.[173] In 2014, Mars became the artist with the most top five entries on the Billboard Hot 100 since his first week on the chart.[174] Along with Adele and John Legend, Mars is the only artist who has a song that features only piano and vocals to top the Hot 100.[175] He is the first male artist to place two titles as a lead act in the Hot 100's top 10 simultaneously.[176] Mars was the most played artist on pop radio in 2013 according to Mediabase[177] and became the first solo male artist whose first 13 Top 40 hits all reached the Top 10 on the American Top 40.[178] In total, he has had six number-one singles on the Hot 100 chart.[179]

According to the International Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI), "Just the Way You Are" and "Grenade" are two of the most successful digital singles of all time, with sales of 12.5 million and 10.2 million, respectively. This contributed to Mars becoming the biggest selling artist of 2012.[180] 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.[181] Five of his singles are counted among the best-selling singles of all time.[180][182][183] As of 2014, Mars has sold over 100 million singles and albums worldwide.[184] Nevertheless, as a singer, featured artist, producer and songwriter his sales surpass 169 million singles worldwide.[185]

Because of the ticket reselling 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. It limits all ticket purchases within 48 hours of the on-sale date to the physical box office. This ensures that anyone who comes to the box office to buy tickets for a show should almost certainly be guaranteed a ticket and discourages ticket scalping.[186] The State Senate in Hawaii passed the law.[187]

Personal life

When not busying himself in the studio, Mars doesn't leave home much, though when he does, he tries to keep a low profile, and never takes his cell-phone with him because he is "going to lose [his] shit". He actively avoids partaking in celebrity feuds and any other drama that occurs within the Hollywood community, stating: "Drama? I thought when we made it, that means we're drama-free. I don't play that game. I don't want to say something stupid and mess this all up." He has a pet Rottweiler named "Geronimo".[188]

As mentioned above, Mars is one of six children. He has a brother named Eric, who has continuously served as the drummer for his backup band, The Hooligans. He also has four sisters named Tiara, Tahiti, and Presley, and a cousin named Jaime, who moved in with his immediate family at a young age due to parental issues. The latter four make up the all-girl music group The Lylas.[189]


Mars began dating model Jessica Caban in 2011.[190][191] The two remain a couple as of 2016, residing together in a mansion in the Hollywood Hills.[127]

Mother's death

On June 2, 2013, a publicist for Atlantic Records confirmed to the Associated Press 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.[192][193] The singer only received the news when he landed in Los Angeles, he went on another plane this time flying to Hawaii. However, his mother passed away a day later.[127] Later, on June 7, 2013, the singer broke his silence concerning the loss of his mother on Twitter writing: "So thankful for all the love during the most difficult time in my life. I'll be back on my feet again soon. That's what mom wants, she told me."[194][195]

On January 28, 2014, Demetrius Orlandus Proctor filed a lawsuit, claiming he holds the copyright for the Travie McCoy and Mars' track "Billionaire". Proctor claimed 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)", issued in 2000.[196] 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."[196]

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, who will receive 17% of the royalties from Mark and Mars' hit "Uptown Funk". The claim on behalf of The Gap Band and Lonnie Simmons was entered into YouTube’s content management system preventing payments to the publisher.[197][198] Later, on August 12, Serbian pop artist Viktorija has also argued that "Uptown Funk" infringed on her track "Ulice Mracne Nisu Za Devojke". 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 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."[199] "Treasure" was re-registered in ASCAP with new writing credits, which included Thibaut Jean-Marrie Michel Berland and Irfane Khan Christopher, due to the similarities with Breakbot's "Baby I'm Yours".[200][201]



In a cover story for Entertainment Weekly, Mars stated that the song "Nothin' on You" was rejected by a "music industry decision-maker – a guy he won't name" because of his race. 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".[202] In April 2013, in a cover story for GQ magazine, Mars confessed that he changed his surname because people in the music industry took him as another Latino artist, and even tried to convince him to sing in Spanish saying: "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".[21]

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. Mars, in response to the verse "stab Bruno Mars in his goddamn esophagus," said "[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".[203] On April 24, 2015, Tyler admitted to being wrong regarding Mars' talent and pointed to Mars performance of "Gorilla" at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards as evidence.[204]

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".[205] 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.[203][206] Mars confirmed that West called him and apologized.[127]



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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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bruno Mars.
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