Bruno Mars Live: Billboard Tastemakers Video
Our new video series presents a closer look at -- and an exclusive performance from -- the cool artists hitting the Billboard Tastemakers chart, which brings you the top-selling albums each week based on an influential panel of indie stores and small regional chains.
Bruno Mars Live: Billboard Tastemakers
These days, it's not out of the ordinary to hear back-to-back songs from the ubiquitous Bruno Mars on the radio. The uber-talented singer-songwriter/producer, along with vocalist Philip Lawrence and keyboardist Brian London, specially arranged a soulful set in the latest edition of Billboard.com's Tastemakers video series.
"My dad put me on to 1950s rock and roll real early; Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Frankie Lymon and all the doo-wop groups when I was a kid. I got into some R&B and hip-hop later on then joined a reggae band in high school," he laughed and said, "I was mixed up."
Video Below: Bruno Mars Performs "Grenade"
His early co-writing credits run the gamut, from 2010's Winter Olympics and World Cup anthems; Matisyahu's "One Day" and K'Naan's "Wavin' Flag" to Flo-Rida's 2009 hit "Right 'Round," but Mars rolled out the trifecta this summer with hooks on Travie McCoy's "Billionaire" and B.o.B's "Nothin' On You," followed by the ultimate kiss-off with Cee Lo's "F*ck You." As the Gym Class Heroes frontman's and Atlanta emcee's singles went double platinum, his Cee Lo collabo kick-started the former Goodie Mob rapper's solo career and became an overnight viral sensation.
But the most recent hit on Mars' list is his own single, "Just The Way You Are," which held strong for 4 weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart along with a No. 3 debut for "Doo-Wops & Hooligans" on the Billboard 200.
"I've been working really hard. A lot of people think this was an overnight thing," he explained. "I was in the recording studio just figuring out the production process and the writing process. It needed to happen; it was training for me to put out my own album."
In the video for "Just The Way You Are," which was inspired by the artwork of Erika Simmons and directed by Ethan Lader, Mars croons across a table as a beautiful brunette swoons, flirtatiously interacting through cassette ribbon animations.
"It's not too cheesy, is it?" Mars coyly asked, flashing his picture perfect smile to our cameras.
Video Below: Bruno Mars Performs "The Lazy Song"
According to Mars, it's too hard to choose which hat he likes wearing best but seeing his name standalone outside of parentheses, sans a "featuring" byline is the ultimate. "When you're on stage and the audience is singing your song that you wrote back to you, that feeling can't be taken away."
"I'm just a big fan of melody. Doo-wop -- it's just four chords and it's all melody-driven. It's just pure, beautiful songs."
Currently co-headlining in Europe with Travie McCoy, The "Doo-Wops & Hooligans" tour is set to kick off Nov. 20 with additional tour dates to follow.
Text by Lisa Binkert