I was first introduced to singer Bruno Mars in 2010 with his break-out hit, “Just The Way You Are.” A pop song through-and-through, I wasn’t particularly moved by the single, but I could tell the artist had real talent. His allusion to 50s Doo-Wop combined with mainstream pop instrumentation and an incredibly soulful voice created a dynamic that I had never heard.
His next album, Unorthodox Jukebox, seemed to be more of the same. While he had songs like, “Treasure,” which had very apparent soul influences, the album has a whole was a pop project.By that point, I figured he had settled into the industry mold for male pop artists. He was definitely a great performer, with clear references to James Brown and Michael Jackson in his dance moves, but the music just didn’t match his image, in my opinion.
Then in 2015, he and producer Mark Ronson collaborated on “Uptown Funk,” and I knew things would never be the same.
Born Peter Gene Hernandez, Mars was born in Honolulu to a musical family, and started playing music around his hometown at a young age. He signed to a deal with Motown, but left soon thereafter and ended up at Atlantic Records. During the off time, he became a much sought-after songwriter in the industry, producing hits for B.O.B. and Travie McCoy.