Bruno Mars: Biography and Origins

Born October 8th, 1985 in Honolulu, Hawaii, Bruno Mars was surrounded by music when he was a child. In fact, he became known as the youngest Elvis Presley impersonator in the state. After moving to California, he formed The Smeezingtons and the team produced and wrote hit songs for other acts. He then began pursuing a solo career and quickly found success with his first single "Just the Way You Are." Since then, it's been hit after hit for Mars, who continues to produce and work with different musicians as well. In this video, we take a look at the musical origins of Bruno Mars.

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He thinks you’re amazing just the way you are. Welcome to and today we’re taking a look at the musical origins of Bruno Mars.

Elvis Presley Impersonations in Hawaii

Peter Gene Hernandez was born October 8th, 1985 in Honolulu, Hawaii. When he was a toddler, his father nicknamed him Bruno after pro wrestler Bruno Sammartino. He was brought up in a musical household, and began appearing on stage with his family when he was four. They performed music from genres such as R&B, doo-wop and Motown, and Hernandez became known for his Elvis Presley imitations. In fact, he even showed off his skills during a brief scene in the 1992 Hollywood film, “Honeymoon in Vegas.”

The Smeezingtons in California

After high school graduation, he moved to Los Angeles, California in 2003 to pursue his entertainment dreams. It was around this time he chose the moniker Bruno Mars as his stage name. He was quickly signed to Motown Records and introduced to label-mate and songwriter Philip Lawrence. Along with engineer Ari Levine, Mars and Lawrence formed The Smeezingtons and began writing and producing songs for other artists.

Writing, Producing and Singing With Other Artists

One of the first songs to feature Mars and Lawrence was Brandy’s “Long Distance” in 2008. The next year, the duo had their first number one after co-writing the Flo Rida song “Right Round.” They worked with many acts during this period and were especially successful in 2010: that year, The Smeezingtons produced the number one song “Nothin’ on You” by B.o.B and the number four single “Billionaire” by Travie McCoy. Both songs were also co-written by Mars and featured him on vocals.

Debut EP

Later that year, Mars came out with the It’s Better If You Don’t Understand EP. This pop effort was produced by The Smeezingtons and featured elements of reggae and R&B. The digital-only release also yielded the single “The Other Side,” with B.o.B. and Cee Lo Green as guest vocalists. Mars collaborated with Green again a few months later when he co-wrote and produced the Grammy-winning smash “Fuck You!”

First Album and First Solo Number One Single

Mars also released his full-length debut Doo-Wops & Hooligans in 2010. The pop CD reached the third position on the Billboard 200 and was supported by a headlining tour across the States. The Smeezingtons served as executive producers on the disc, which included various genres such as rock, R&B and reggae. Its first single was “Just the Way You Are,” which became a number one hit and earned a Grammy Award. That year, he had another number one with the single “Grenade.” However, his success was briefly tainted when he was arrested in Las Vegas for cocaine possession.

More Singles and More Collaborations

Fortunately for him, that didn’t slow down his career. In 2011, two more singles from Doo-Wops & Hooligans dropped: the top four tune “The Lazy Song” and the internationally released “Marry You.” Mars also found success collaborating with other artists that year. Most notably, he lent his vocals to the Bad Meets Evil track “Lighters,” the Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg song “Young, Wild & Free,” and the Lil Wayne single “Mirror.”

“Twilight” and the 2012 Grammies

In addition, Mars contributed to “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” with the song “It Will Rain.” In 2012, he was up for several awards at the 54th Grammy Awards, including two for Doo-Wops & Hooligans.

Continuous Success

As a singer, songwriter and producer, Mars has worked with numerous musical styles and plenty of different artists. He may sing about being lazy, but he impacted music with just his first album. If he keeps up the hard work Bruno Mars will surely continue wowing fans just the way he is.

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