Starring Bruno Mars

He first appeared on the MidWeek cover in 1990 when he sang in Waikiki as Little Elvis, but now Bruno Mars is one of America’s hottest singers and performing his own songs, including the current smash hit Nothin’ On You

Melissa Moniz
Wednesday - April 14, 2010
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Bruno (center) with sister Jaime Bayot, mom Bernadette Bayot Hernandez, sister Tiara Hernandez and brother Eric Hernandez

in movies - it wasn’t instant success.”

Defeated and “way over my head,” Mars took up a regular day job. It didn’t last long, though, since his desire kept bringing him back to music.

“I only started writing songs when I moved up to L.A., because when I was in Hawaii I never really needed to. 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 over and over again. I learned that the hard way here in L.A.”

After about three years of wrestling with how to reach his goals, Mars met Phillip Lawrence. The two became great friends and started working together on writing material for Mars to record.

“The artist thing wasn’t working out, so we had an opportunity to show one of our songs to another record label, but they didn’t want it for me, they wanted it for another artist. At the time we were so broke and struggling, we had to do what we had to do, so we ended up selling the song.”

What seemed like disappointment at the time was actually opportunity knocking loud and hard.

“That was the best thing that could have happened to us,” he recalls, “because it steamrolled us into being producers and songwriters.

“So that’s when the light bulb went off. I decided to push the artist thing aside and get into the business this way. We can write songs and produce songs, so we just really focused our energy into writing for other artists. That’s how it all began.”

Call it genius or efficiency, but Mars then started singing the demos that he presented to record labels and artists - and they started paying attention.

“They were like, this kid can write and sing, so they wanted to know my story. That’s how it rolled into me getting the deal with Nothin’ On You and all these other things.”

The fans have spoken, and Mars is responding.

He’ll release his solo EP next month with three songs. He calls it an appetizer of what to expect.

“My songs are really simple songs, but I think like with Nothin’ On You, it’s because of how heartfelt and meaningful it is when I’m singing and B.o.B. is rap-ping. All my songs have that same Nothin’ On You kind of moment that really captures that thought. It comes from a real point of view.”

On April 23 he performs at Level 4 in Royal Hawaiian Center. It’s an all-ages show from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $25 pre-sale and available by calling 330-8115. And yes, he’ll be performing Nothin’ On You.

“It’ll be great not only being home, but I get to play songs my family and friends have never heard yet,” says Mars, who already is planning stops at Sandy Beach, Rainbow Drive-In and Zippy’s. “Everyone in Hawaii knew me for those shows I used to do impersonating artists, but I’ve turned into an artist who is writing his own songs and performing them, and I’m excited to share that.”

Just prior to this trip, Bruno will make a guest appearance with B.o.B. April 20 on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

“Everything’s good right now,” he says. “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.”

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