We all love Bruno Mars! He is a favourite of lovers. Bruno Mars is a Grammy-winning singer/songwriter known for such hit songs as “Nothin’ on You,” “Just the Way You Are,” “Uptown Funk” and “That’s What I Like.” But is that all there is to him? Let’s find out!
Born Peter Gene Hernandez on October 8, 1985, in Honolulu, Hawaii, 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.”
Growing up around entertainers, Mars began picking up musical instruments from early childhood. At the age of 4, he joined the family musical act as an Elvis impersonator and quickly became one of the stars of the show. He continued to perform with his family throughout his childhood. And as he approached high school, more love grew for the art.
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 or plays instruments. It’s what we do.” he said.
After graduating from high school, 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. 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.”
A friend introduced Mars to songwriter Phillip Lawrence, who agreed to help Mars compose a material. They presented a song they had written and recorded to a record label. Of course, they liked it but wanted one of their 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 on 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” and Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire.”
Mars also produced and co-wrote K’Naan’s “Wavin’ Flag,” Coca-Cola’s theme song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
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.
Grammy-Winning with ’24K Magic’
Mars continued his immensely successful run with the release of his third studio effort, 24K Magic, in November 2016. The album included the catchy title track, a retro-tinted dance number in the vein of “Uptown Funk,” as well as the sultry “That’s What I Like”. This album climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Mars cleaned up at the 2018 Grammy Awards, winning in all six categories for which he drew nominations, including Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year. Bruno Mars has an estimated net worth of $70 million.
Peter Gene Hernandez might be the poster child for “never change the goal, but just the plan”. It may have also taken some time, but he eventually arrived at his destination.
What is your favourite of Bruno’s songs? How intrigued are you by his journey?
Hopefully, reading the struggles behind becoming who he is today gives you a boost to continue striving to accomplish those dreams.