How Bruno Mars Rose From Unknown Song Writer To One Of The Biggest Pop Stars On The Planet

By on January 30, 2014 in ArticlesCelebrity News

Last Sunday night, Bruno Mars won the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album. This Sunday he is headlining the halftime show at The Super Bowl. Clearly Bruno is having a really good year. So why do so many people hate Bruno Mars? For example. why did hip-hop star Tyler the Creator claim that he wanted to "stab Bruno Mars in the goddamn esophagus"? Is it because Bruno has managed to sell over 11 million albums in the course of three years? Is it because his 2011 single 'Just the Way You Are' helped make him the best-selling digital artist of that year? Or because he is at the very top of Forbes 30 Under 30 List for 2014? Whatever the reason, all the negative hype hasn't gotten in the way of Bruno Mars winning dozens of awards and putting $20 million in his bank account. He also has won the hearts of millions of teenage girls around the world. This is his story…

Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars Net Worth/ ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Bruno Mars was born Peter Gene Hernandez in Hawaii to parents of Jewish, Puerto Rican and Philipino descent. His dad nicknamed him Bruno because, apparently the young Peter Hernandez bore a striking resemblance to retired professional wrestler Bruno Sammartino. Bruno's parents were very musical and even created their own band called The Love Notes. By the time he was four years old the future Bruno Mars was already doing Elvis impressions in his parent's band. And it wasn't just Elvis. The Temptations, the Isley Brothers, the King of Pop himself Michael Jackson… Little Boy Bruno was belting out classics five days a week in the family band.

Young Bruno Mars as Elvis

Young Bruno Mars as Elvis

In a display of the saccharine tackiness that would become his calling card, Bruno claims that he adopted the moniker of 'Mars' because "A lot of girls say I'm out of this world, so I was like I guess I'm from Mars". Mars knew at a very young age that the musician's life was calling, so after graduating from Theodore Roosevelt High School in 2003, he moved to the City of Angels and soon landed a deal with Motown Records. But, as some record deals tend to do, his soured quickly. Actually the deal "went nowhere" and by 2005 he was dropped from the label altogether and soon found himself signing a publishing deal with Westside Independent.

From 2005 to 2010 Bruno Mars wrote and co-wrote for other musicians. He frequently collaborated with fellow songwriters Philip Lawrence and Ari Levine. Together, the trio formed a production group called The Smeezingtons. Over the years, The Smeezingtons have co-written and helped produce a number of smash hit singles including Cee-Lo's "Fuck You" ("Forget You," as the radio would prefer we call it), B.o.B's "Nothin on You" and Travie McCoy's "Billionaire".

Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars/ Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Mars' debut album, "Doo-Wops and Hooligans", was released in October 2010 on Atlantic Records. Full of Insta-Hooks and big choruses, the album, anchored by the singles "Just the Way You Are" and "Grenade", debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200. But it was his work with B.o.B, that earned Mars his first Grammy: Best Male Pop Vocal performance for the hook he lent to the sickly-sweet, Disney-safe "Nothin on You".

In December 2012, Mars released his follow-up record "Unorthodox Jukebox", also on Atlantic. Fueled by the success of the single "Locked Out of Heaven", the record debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200, moving 187,000 copies and making the self-proclaimed "out of this world" musician the fastest-selling solo artist of 2012.

On February 2, 2014. Bruno Mars is slated to be the headlining act of The Super Bowl along side the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He will certainly be the yin to the Red Hot Chili Pepper's yang. While the Peppers represent the demonic cool kids from high school, Mars is the guy you actually wouldn't be nervous about introducing to your parents. As you get up to get another beer, use la toilette or make sure the dog isn't eating the bean dip, take a second to watch the halftime show. Love him or hate him, Bruno Mars will be smiling. Because he's made his dream come true.

Articles Written by Max Savage Levenson
A recent East Coast transplant, Max is currently studying at the UC Berkeley School of Journalism, where he reports on the eccentric music community of the Bay Area and the state of the Oakland School District. Before arriving in California, he lived in Baltimore and Paris, where he documented music on the page and on the screen. Follow him on Google+.
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