Bruno Mars: Asian American Singer-Songwriter

 


Who could not possibly know of the man who made us all sing and dance to Uptown Funk and Treasure? Bruno Mars has definitely made a name in the music industry with his range of musical styles and instruments. Just how exactly did he get to the point of stardom? Let’s take a look back at his humble beginnings in Hawaii.

Born in October 1985, Peter Gene Hernandez is the son of Pete Hernandez who is a Latin percussionist that has a Puerto Rican descent and Bernadette Hernandez who is a Filipina vocalist as well as a hula dancer. As early as being a toddler, Pete was given the nickname “Bruno” by his father because of being similar to the boxer Bruno Sammartino. His parents’ band, the Love Notes, featured him as an Elvis Presley impersonator at the age of four.


Bruno Mars with his family 

Photo Courtesy of World Celebs

Furthermore, he also did impersonations of Michael Jackson as a teenager and learned by himself in playing the piano, bass, guitar and percussion. Los Angeles is the place he went to after he graduated from high school to follow his dreams of becoming a musician. It was at that time he established himself as “Bruno” as his stage name.

During his time in Los Angeles, Bruno’s sister led him to meet Philip Lawrence with whom he would eventually work with in the production team called The Smeezingtons which produced music with a vintage touch. Eventually, he added “Mars” to his stage name to make it stronger. This originated from the opinions of some girls on him that he is out of this world.


The Smeezingtons

Photo Courtesy of Flickr

By 2010, he had his debut in launching an EP entitled It’s Better If You Do Not Understand. It entered the Billboard 200 at 99th place. In the same year, Bruno released his album Doo-Wops & Hooligans that features his hit singles Just the Way You Are and The Lazy Song. The said album contributed a large role in propelling him to be a star which led to his first Grammy Award (Best Male Pop Vocal Performance). Bruno had also managed to collaborate with notable singers such as Eminem, Royce Da 5 '9 and Wiz Khalifa to name a few.

Photo Courtesy of Spotify

Bruno’s singing voice had shone even more when he had appeared on British producer Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk in 2014. The song was a nod to 1980s funk and R&B. It became a major hit around the globe and even won a Grammy being the record of the year. Its music video also has gained billions of views on YouTube. Bruno Mars has also been featured in the Super Bowl halftime show with Chris Martin and Beyonce.


Bruno Mars with Chris Martin and Beyonce at the Super Bowl

Photo Courtesy of Digital Spy

In 2016, Bruno released third studio 24K Magic which was inspired by 1990s R&B music and features hits such as Versace on the FloorThat’s What I Like and Finesse. This led to his 200-date tour that lasted until 2018 which brought him to 4 continents. Cardi B even collaborated with Bruno Mars for his song Finesse with a music video.

Just last year, Bruno Mars along with Anderson.Paak released the album An Evening with Silk Sonic as the R&B superduo named Silk Sonic. It featured the hit single Leave the Door Open. Silk Sonic made its debut on television at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards performing the said song.


Silk Sonic

Photo Courtesy of The Michigan Daily 

The journey of Bruno Mars on becoming one of the most notable musical artists from being a simple impersonator on his parents’ band can serve as an inspiration to many people especially the AAPI community as well as to those who aspire to follow in his footsteps.

References:
Britannica
History-biography

Written by Jan Marbella

Jan Marbella is a Digital Marketing Intern of PS Media Enterprise and a 4th year Bachelor of Arts in Communication student of De La Salle University Dasmariñas.

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