Both of Bruno Mars' (born Peter Gene Hernandez) parents were performers, his father was a percussionist, his mother was a singer and dancer while his uncle was an Elvis Presley tribute singer. Growing up on a diet of rock 'n' roll, R&B and reggae, the youngster would perform on stage with her parents' band The Love Notes and was hugely influenced by Elvis Presley and the guitar playing of Jimi Hendrix. He played in a school band before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music and chose the name Mars to go with the nickname Bruno that his father had given him as a child. Although he signed an early deal with Motown Records it ended before he'd recorded anything and was signed to the Westside Independent publishing company by songwriter and producer Steve Lindsey. With Lindsey's encouragement Mars and his songwriting partner Philip Lawrence learnt to write songs and composed tracks for numerous artists including the Sugababes, Alexandra Burke, Flo Rida, Brandy, Sean Kingston as well as Cee Lo Green's UK chart topper (and US No 2) 'Fuck You!'. Mars also co-wrote and appeared on hit singles for B.o.B ('Nothin' On You') and Travie McCoy ('Billionaire') before his debut four track EP It's Better That You Don't Understand
was released on Elektra Records in May 2010.
Just two months later his single 'Just The Way You Are' hit the top of the charts in eleven countries including the USA and the UK and went on to sell in excess of a staggering twelve and a half million copies worldwide. The subsequent 'Grenade' was another multi-platinum chart topper in fifteen countries and paved the way for his debut album Doo-Wops & Hooligans in October 2010. The record topped the charts in several countries including the UK and while it peaked at No 3 in the USA it went on to sell more than six million copies around the World. The album yielded three more hits with 'The Lazy Song' (USA No 4/UK No 1) plus the less successful 'Marry You' and 'Count On Me'. Mars enjoyed another big hit with the non-album track 'It Will Rain' from the soundtrack to the movie The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, while 2011 also saw him winning a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for the track 'Just The Way You Are'. A little over two years after the release of his debut, his second album Unorthodox Jukebox was issued to universal acclaim and preceded by the US No 1 hit single 'Locked Out Of Heaven' the album emulated its predecessor and topped the charts in eight countries including the USA and the UK. Subsequent singles enjoyed varying levels of success, 'When I Was Your Man' topped the US charts, 'Treasure' peaked at No 5 while 'Gorilla' and 'Young Girls' reached No 22 and No 32 respectively.
Outside of his own releases he has written, produced and featured on hit songs for other artists including 'Young, Wild And Free' by Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa, 'Lighters' by Bad Meets Evil and 'Mirror' by Lil Wayne (all three tracks credited as featuring Bruno Mars). While his initial breakthrough success began in his homeland and the UK he has established himself as an hugely popular performer and recording artist throughout the World. In a little over four years (and just two albums) Mars has accumulated worldwide record sales in excess of an incredible eleven million albums and sixty-eight million singles. As a solo artist he has enjoyed four No 1's in the USA and three in the UK while his featured appearance on B.o.B's 'Nothin' On You' topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. A complete entertainer there seems little that he can't turn his hand to, his shows are exciting events that feature choreographed dance routines that are so effortless and natural that they seem unrehearsed. His nine piece live band The Hooligans, which includes his brother Eric Hernandez on drums and his writing partner Philip Lawrence on backing vocals are equally as impressive as dancers as they are as musicians. Enormously talented he has a highly individual voice and he seems completely at easy in whatever format he's singing. His versatility has been demonstrated across a catalogue that includes piano ballads, R&B dance numbers, reggae pop songs, blues, rock and disco. While it's easy to spot the inspiration in his songs from artists such as Elvis, Prince, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, The Police and The Beatles he so effectively and seamlessly incorporates their influence into his own unique Mars sound and so lightly does he extract their essence that it's completely impossible to pinpoint any particular source song. Undoubtedly one of the most gifted artists to emerge in the last decade Bruno Mars will almost certainly continue to dominate the charts for some time.
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