Exclusive: Bruno Mars on the verge

Originally published June 1, 2010 – 5:55 PM MST on Examiner.com

When it comes to hits Peter Hernandez, better known as Bruno Mars, has made a name for himself via B.o.B’s number one smash hit, “Nothin’ On You” and Travie McCoy’s lead single “Billionaire”. The writing he has done with his team, The Smeezingtons has literally blown up and created a sturdy platform for Bruno to launch his own solo career.  His EP, entitled, It’s Better If You Don’t Understand is available now in advance of his debut album. Bruno says he’s just hoping to make, “Classic tunes that will stand the test of time.” I caught up with Pop music’s newest hit generator before the holiday weekend and found his banter as passionate and smooth as the music he makes expresses.

Raised on the Hawaiian islands Bruno grew up loving music and exposed to a wide range of eclectic tunes including 1950’s Doo-Wop, “I started doing shows and stuff like that at a young age, like when I was four years old. And doing that for so long made want to do my own thing.” Bruno began. After graduating from high school, he bought a one-way ticket to L.A. revealing, “I had to try. I felt like I could always come back and do this but I had to try.”

In L.A. Bruno met up with Phil Lawrence and Ari Levine, “I met Phil when I was working on my solo stuff. Me and him, as broke as we were, he kept coming to the studio and writing for me and writing with me.” Explaining, “No one believed in me more than him. And we would take demos and do the song and dance for these labels and it was just kind of wishy washy.”

With no bites on the line for his artistry he and Phil continued to write along with Ari soon dubbing their trio, ‘The Smeezingtons’. Bruno said during that time they began to understand the numbers game with songwriting, “Out of every hundred songs you write, there’s going to hopefully be the two to three that can do something. And we just figured that out.”

So the next time they walked into the record label headquarters it was with tracks like, ‘Nothin’ On You’ and ‘Billionaire’ Bruno said, “When he [Phil] brought me back again and we walked in there with my EP, I kind of walked in swinging, which is the way it’s supposed to be. You got to go in there and tell them what you are.” Continuing, “I was so young before, I didn’t really know how it worked. That was the big lesson, like, yeah, this is me. Take it or leave it.” Since that time he has written the hook on Flo Rida’s ‘Right Round’ as well as writing for the likes of K’Naan and Cee-Low Green.

Now at work on his own album I asked Bruno to explain his sound and he replied, “I don’t know, what do you call ‘Nothin’ on You’ or ‘Billionaire’? Like what are those songs to you? I guess they’re pop songs.” Of course, I agree with him but there is an element of his music that is inexplicable and paints outside the lines of black and white genres.  And that is why the EP and album for the time being have been entitled, It’s Better If You Don’t Understand. “I love every style of music, you know, that’s been the whole thing with me. And that’s why I think me and the Smeezington’s work so well, because we’re all music lovers and we want to do it all.”

You can pick up a copy of Bruno Mars’ EP in stores or at any online retailer now. Bruno summarized his journey in the music industry to date best when he concluded, “Every artist that we’ve worked with we’ve grown and we’ve learned from. We have fun and don’t take ourselves too seriously. At the end of the day we’re living the best lives ever!” Finishing, “We’re making music and we’re supposed to be having fun doing this.”

Photo used with permission from Atlantic Records 2010.

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