“When we’re in the studio what are our muses? Alcohol. Lot’s of it. And candy bars. And we like wild animals running around…” Bruno Mars jests with a straight face.
This, along with an awful imitation of a British accent, sets the tone for our hilarious interview.
By the time Bruno’s feature on B.o.B’s “Nothing On You” brought the singer/songwriter/producer into the public consciousness, he had co-written and produced Sugababes’ “Get Sexy”, Flo-Rida’s number 1 single “Right Round”, K’Naan’s breakout World Cup track “Wavin’ Flag” and Brandy’s “Long Distance” with his production comrades Phillip Lawrence and Ari Levine [better known as two thirds of The Smeezingtons].
The latest Bruno-assisted cuts capturing audience attention are Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire” and Cee Lo’s “Fuck You”.
A self-confessed Cee Lo fan, Bruno explains the impact of 2006’s ‘Crazy’; “I remember when ‘Crazy’ came out and I was a young lad. It really just changed my life, it’s on rock radio, it’s on Hip Hop radio, R&B stations, playing in the clubs, and the reason behind it is because it’s just an incredible song and you can’t deny that… I really just chased that song, I always wanted to write MY “’Crazy’.”
When the two became labelmates on Electra, they begun collaborating and a studio jam-session resulted in “Fuck You.”
Bruno lists Jay-Z, Vampire Weekend and Prince as just some of his dream collaborations in the future. “I’m a music fan and a student, especially with guys that have been doing it for so long; I’d like to just get in the booth and see what happens.”
However, when leaving his hometown in Hawaii for Los Angeles at just 18, Bruno didn’t anticipate penning hits for other artists from behind the scenes before people knew his name. “The goal was, you know, for me to be an artist, have an album, tour the world like you see in the movies, but that didn’t happen at all.”
Bruno found his path to the limelight shifting when, a while after being dropped from a label, his songs garnered interest from labels – who wanted to use his material for other artists. After selling his songs Bruno reasoned, “I’m making money doing this – let’s put the artist thing on the back-burner and hopefully one of these days [an] A&R will hear me singing the demo and just ask me what’s up, and that’s what happened with “Nothing On You” and “Billionaire”.”
Fast forward a little and Bruno’s lead single from his own debut album, “Just The Way You Are” offers him sans features, just the way he is. With notable differences not only in his own material, but in the style and delivery of the songs he’s lent his production, writing talents and vocals to, Bruno regards his musical diversity is a “warning” that he won’t be pigeon-holed musically.
However, if he does fall under one category; “I don’t mind people saying Bruno Mars is pop. Pop is awesome – Michael Jackson’s pop, Prince is pop, it just means you have songs that are connecting with a lot of people so call me pop for all I care.”
Refreshingly, Bruno isn’t caught up in taking things too seriously and just wants to make music. “I just write songs.”
And finally, Bruno Mars on what audiences should expect from Doo-Wops and Hooligans – “You’re gonna get me…you’re gonna get my heart.. my soul… my kidney.”
Interview by Tahirah Edwards Byfield.
Filmed x Edited by Versetti.
Photography by Neil Raja.