Bruno Mars biography
Singer-songwriter Bruno Mars was born on October 8, 1985, in Honolulu, Hawaii. By the early 2000s, he had begun to find success by writing songs for popular artists, including K'Naan's "Wavin' Flag," the theme song for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. After several years as one of the pop music's premier songwriters, Mars broke out as a singer in his own right with the 2010 hit "Nothin' on You." Other popular songs by Mars include "Just the Way You Are" (2010) and "Locked Out of Heaven" (2012).
Born Peter Gene Hernandez on October 8, 1985, in Honolulu, Hawaii, popular singer-songwriter Bruno Mars grew up in a very musical family. His father, Pete, was a Latin percussionist from Brooklyn, and his mother, Bernadette ("Bernie"), was a singer. Mars received his nickname, "Bruno," while he was still a baby. "The name Bruno came from baby times," older sister Jamie explained. "Bruno was always so confident, independent, really strong-willed and kind of a brute—hence the name Bruno—and it kind of just stuck."
In Waikiki Beach, Mars's family performed a Las Vegas-style revue that included Motown hits, doo-wop melodies and celebrity impersonations. Growing up around entertainers, Mars began picking up musical instruments from early childhood. "I've always had a drum set, a piano, a guitar ... and never got trained to play. It was just always there," he later recalled. "That's just how I learned, just being surrounded by it my whole life." At the age of 4, he joined the family musical act as an Elvis impersonator and quickly become one of the stars of the show. He continued to perform with his family throughout his childhood, and as he approached adolescence he added Michael Jackson to his impersonation repertoire.
Mars attended Roosevelt High School, where he and several friends formed a band, the School Boys, performing classic oldies hits alongside his family's act at the Ilikai Hotel in Honolulu. Mars credits his fearless stage presence to his unusual childhood. "Performing from such a young age just got me so comfortable on stage," he said. "Growing up performing—that was normal for me. Everyone in my family sings, plays instruments. It's what we do."
After graduating from high school in 2002 at age 17, Mars decided to leave Hawaii for Los Angeles, California. Over his first few years in L.A., he struggled to make a breakthrough in the music industry. And especially because he had performed so frequently while growing up in Honolulu, Mars grew frustrated with waiting for his career to move forward. It was during this period that Mars first turned to songwriting. "I only started writing songs when I moved up to L.A. because when I was in Hawaii, I never really needed to," he recalled. "But it stemmed from just learning that you have to do everything by yourself. It's not like what you see in movies, where you walk into a record company and you're given all these great songs to sing. You have to write the song the world is going to want to hear and play it over and over again.
I learned that the hard way here in L.A."
Career Breakthrough and 'Doo-Wops & Hooligans'
A friend introduced Mars to songwriter Phillip Lawrence, who agreed to help Mars compose material. They presented a song they had written and recorded to a record label, who liked it but wanted one of their own artists to perform it. Mars recalled, "We were so broke and struggling, we had to do what we had to do, so we ended up selling the song." Initially, Mars was disappointed, but it proved to be an awakening experience. "The light bulb went off," he explained. "I decided to push the artist thing aside and get into the business this way. We can write songs and produce songs, so we just really focused our energy into writing for other artists. That's how it all began."
By the early 2000s, Mars had begun to find success by writing songs for several popular artists, including Flo Rida's smash hit "Right 'Round," Brandy's "Long Distance," Travie McCoy's "Billionaire" and K'Naan's "Wavin' Flag," the theme song for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
After several years as one of the pop music industry's premier songwriters, Mars finally broke out as a singer in his own right with the 2010 hit "Nothin' on You." The song was written for the Atlantic Records rapper B.o.B., but the record label decided to enlist Mars himself to croon the heartfelt chorus. The track proved an enormous hit, skyrocketing to No. 1 on the Billboard singles chart, and instantly transforming Bruno Mars from a behind-the-scenes composer into a pop performer.
Several months later, Mars released his first solo single, "Just the Way You Are," from his debut studio album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, released in October 2010. The song quickly proved to be another hit for the artist, putting him back at the top of the Billboard singles chart. Additionally, Doo-Wops & Hooligans reached No. 3 on the Billboard album charts, and its follow-up singles, "Grenade" and "The Lazy Song," cracked the Top 10 on the singles chart. Mars scored another hit with "It Will Rain," a song that he contributed to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 soundtrack in late 2011.
Mars went on to pick up several 2012 Grammy Award nods for his debut effort, including for album of the year. While he went home empty-handed that year, Mars gave a career-building performance at the 2012 Grammy Awards. His energetic performance of his 1960s-influenced song "Runaway Baby" (2010) had even the most jaded must industry veterans moving in their seats. Mars showed himself to be a high-energy live performer, and he even did an homage to the late James Brown in his act.
Continued Success: 'Unorthodox Jukebox' Album
In December 2012, Mars released his second studio album, Unorthodox Jukebox, featuring yet another gamut of hit songs, and quickly meeting with both commercial and critical acclaim. The album's lead single, "Locked Out of Heaven," topped the Billboard Hot 100 for six consecutive weeks and landed in the Top 10 in 20 countries, and the project's second release, "When I Was Your Man," reached No.
1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Mars continued to thrive in his career. In September 2013, news broke that he was selected to be a part of the half-time entertainment at the next Super Bowl. This honor put him in the same league as such past performers Madonna and Justin Timberlake.
With his formula of combining catchy pop melodies, hip-hop beats and feel-good lyrics, Bruno Mars has emerged as a popular artist. And after a lifetime of striving to reach the top of the music industry, Mars is now trying to enjoy the moment. "Everything's good right now," the singer-songwriter recently stated. "It's really paying off because now my songs are on the radio. It took me a while to finally get it, but when I got it, I think I got it right. And I'm very proud of how my songs are representing me as an artist."