Bruno Mars (born Peter Gene Hernandez) is an American singer-songwriter and record producer. Mars was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii by a family of musicians. He began recording music at a young age, but he wasn’t recognized as a solo artist until his feature on “Nothing on You” by B.o.B and “Billionare” by Travie McCoy.
In his younger years, his family introduced him to a diverse range of music, including reggae, rock, hip-hop, and r&b. His father performed music from Little Richie and his uncle was an Elvis impersonator.
At four years old, Mars began performing with his family’s band five days a week. He became known as “Little Elvis” (which may explain his Elvis-like hairstyles). The time that he spent impersonating Elvis has shaped his current public performances.
Mars writes music for (and with) a variety of artists, including Flo Rida (rapper) and K’naan (rapper/singer-songwriter). Mars is unique because he doesn’t stick to one genre of music– he’s versatile. He creates music with a range of genres: pop, reggae, r&b, soul, and hip-hop.
His music also progresses through a variety of subjects. He has lighthearted songs, such as “Marry You” — with lyrics: ‘It’s a beautiful night/ we’re looking for something dumb to do/ hey baby/ I think I want to marry you’. This, paired with the up-tempo musical background, shows Mars’ carefree side.
He also has songs that touch on deeper subjects, such as failed relationships and self-deprecation. In “Grenade”, he talks about a bitter heartbreak: “Gave you all I had/ and you tossed it in the trash… Yes, I would die for you baby/ But you won’t do the same”.
“Liquor Store Blues” discusses depression and self damaging behavior: “I’ll take one shot for my pain/ one drag for my sorrow … Cause my job’s got me going nowhere/ so I ain’t got a thing to lose”.
Mars is diverse not only in his musical genres, but also in the content of his lyrics. His latest album, Unorthodox Jukebox, has the most variety of all his albums. “When I was Your Man” has a slow, ballad-like feel, and is juxtaposed on the album with uptempo songs such as “Locked Out Of Heaven”.
“I refuse to pick a lane,” says Mars in an interview. “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.” Unorthodox Jukebox is predicted to top the Billboard’s top 100 Chart (it is currently no. 2).
His versatility is what makes him appeal to different types of people. Not only is he a good artist, but he is very personable. He recently collaborated with Alicia Keys and she praised both his work and his personality.
“He’s a very unique personality, he had me laughing the whole time [we were working together],” says Keys to CapitalFm. “I think that he’s a really great artist and writer as well.”