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October 8, 1985
Artistfacts for Bruno Mars
His real name is Peter Gene Hernandez. He was nicknamed "Bruno" by his father at the age of two, because he was a chubby kid and there was a famous chubby wrestler at the time named Bruno Sammartino. At the start of his career he added "Mars" to his stage name because "a lot of girls say I'm out of this world, so I was like I guess I'm from Mars."
His first brush with show business was at the age of 4. He gives more details in an interview with National Public Radio: "Dad started bringing me up onstage every night till finally they worked a little segment out for me. My mom made me an Elvis outfit, and I'd go up there and do my thing." His impersonation of Elvis also won him the role of Little Elvis in the movie Honeymoon In Vegas (1992). As a young boy, he continued to make performances impersonating Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson.
Growing up in Hawaii in a family of musicians marked his music with traces of traditional Hawaii music, reggae, pop, rock, R&B, soul, doo-wop and hip-hop.
Before launching a solo career, Bruno Mars was part of a writing and production team called The Smeezingtons, with Phillip Lawrence and Ari Levine. They wrote and produced songs for other artists, including Brandy's "Long Distance
," Flo Rida's "Right Round
," and Cee-Lo Green's "Forget You
." He also sang and co-wrote the hooks for "Nothin' On You
" by B.o.B and "Billionaire
" by Travie McCoy.
He named his debut album Doo-Wops & Hooligans because it has songs that both women and men are going to relate to: doo-wops are for the girls, and hooligans are for the guys. His favorite song on the album is "Grenade
Bruno is just 5 feet 5 inches tall. His relatively low stature was noticeable when he received a VMA from Taylor Swift
, who at just under 6 feet, appeared to tower over him.
Bruno Mars was arrested in 2010, at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, after a bathroom attendant caught him using cocaine in a men's room stall. He pleaded guilty, paid a $2,000 fine, and did 200 hours community service.
His second album, Unorthodox Jukebox
, solidified his superstar status when it was released in 2012, but he went four years before releasing another album (24K Magic
). His 2014 Mark Ronson collaboration, "Uptown Funk
," helped keep him in the pubic eye; he headlined the Super Bowl halftime show that year and made a guest appearance the following year.
He's a meticulous songwriter, constantly refining the tracks. He says the challenge is coming up with something original. "I'm competing with billions of other songs," he told Rolling Stone. "It's like winning the lottery - you just gotta get lucky."