Bruno Mars was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. Brought up in a family of musicians, Mars spent the majority of his childhood making music and performing at various musical venues in his hometown.
When he was 17, Mars left Hawaii for Los Angeles, California. Struggling to break into the music industry during his first few years in California, Mars turned to songwriting.
“I only started writing songs when I moved up to L.A. because when I was in Hawaii, I never really needed to,” he recalled. “But it stemmed from just learning that you have to do everything by yourself. It’s not like what you see in movies, where you walk into a record company and you’re given all these great songs to sing. You have to write the song the world is going to want to hear and play it over and over again. I learned that the hard way here in L.A.”
When a mutual friend recommended that songwriter Philip Lawrence meet Mars, he was reluctant to do so, because he didn’t even have money for bus fare. However, their collaboration started thanks to Keith Harris, drummer for The Black Eyed Peas, who told him, “Whatever it costs you to get out here, I’ll reimburse you.”
After a series of rejections from labels, the pair received a call from Brandon Creed, who was looking for songs for a reunited Menudo. He liked their song ‘’Lost’’, but he wanted one of his artists to perform it. Mars recalls, “We were so broke and struggling, we had to do what we had to do, so we ended up selling the song. I decided to push the artist thing aside and get into the business this way. We can write songs […], so we just reallyfocused our energy into writing for other artists. That’s how it all began.”
From that humble beginning, Mars became one of the pop music industry’s leading songwriters, writing songs for Alexandra Burke, Travie McCoy, Adam Levine, Brandy, Sean Kingston, and Flo Rida.
His break as a solo artist came when he co-wrote and was featured on B.o.B’s “Nothin’ on You”. The song reached number one in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and it was nominated for three Grammys. This success transformed Bruno Mars from a behind-the-scenes composer into a pop performer.
However, Mars’ career really began to soar with the arrival of his number one hit, “Billionaire”, and his solo debut single, “Just The Way You Are”. And his meteoric rise continued with hits like ‘’Grenade’’, ‘’The Lazy Song’’, and “When I Was Your Man’’, among others. After his time with Atlantic Records, Mars signed a worldwide publishing deal with BMG Chrysalis US to release his album ‘’Unorthodox Jukebox’’, which debuted at number two on Billboard. He says, ’'I listen to a lot of music, and I want to have the freedom and luxury to walk into a studio and say, ‘Today I want to do a hip-hop, R&B, soul or rock record.'”
Currently riding the wave of Mark Ronson’s popular smash, “Uptown Funk”, Mars says, “I want to write better songs, I want to put on better shows, I want to make better music videos,”
After years spent fighting to break into the music industry, Mars’ career is now thriving. ‘’It’s really paying off because now my songs are on the radio. It took me a while to finally get it, but when I got it, I think I got it right. And I’m very proud of how my songs are representing me as an artist.”