Having written smash hits for the likes of B.O.B, Travie
McCoy and Flo Rida, Bruno Mars is now seizing the mic and performing his own
tracks, starting with debut single Just the Way You Are. We catch up with the
Hawaiian star to discuss the transition from song writer to performer and to
find out more about his debut album.
You’ve written songs
that have gone on to become huge hits. Do you know when you’ve written
Yes. When we did Nothing on You with B.O.B, we were in the
studio thinking ‘this feels so good!’ You never know if it’s going to connect
with the world and we don’t do it for radio or with a formula, but we do know
when it feels good. I like to look at our production team and song-writers as a
band that jams until everyone in the room is feeling it.
Now that you’ve been
working on your own solo material, have you found yourself writing tracks for
another artist and then deciding to keep it for yourself because it’s too good
to give away?
No, it’s never that. It is always surprising to me though
how fast I can come up with something for someone. It comes so much faster than
if I’m working on my own stuff. I tend to over-think. Me and Cee-Lo came up
with F*ck You in one day. It took me months to come up with Just the Way You
working on your debut album. How would you describe the overall sound of the
I can’t describe it. I mean, if you could just think about
the greatest thing you’ve ever heard… No, you know what, they’re just songs
man. They’re all over the place.
Why did you call the
album Doo-Wops and Hooligans?
Pretty funky, huh? There’s a lot of reasons for calling it
Doo-Wops and Hooligans. It explains the two sides of me. Doo-wop is a special
form of music I grew up on. Its straight to the point, very simple. I have
songs like that. There are no tricks or mind-boggling lyrics. I have that
simple, romantic side of me but I’m also just a young, regular dude and that’s
like the hooligan side! I think the album caters to women and women, doo-wops
and hooligans! Boom! Quote me on that!
Would you say your
Hawaiian heritage has influenced you?
Sure, there is a song on the album called Count on Me that
is what Hawaii
is. If you go to a BBQ or a party, someone has a guitar and it turns into a jam
session. You get these beautiful folk melodies and these big Hawaiian guys that
are like 300lbs singing so pretty. It’s a song that makes you want to be on the
Are there any
collaborations on the album?
I’ve just done a collaboration with Damien Marley on a song
called Liquor Store Blues, which I’m really excited about. Being from Hawaii, the Marley’s are
royalty. Damien is incredible and he’s got the talent to back it up. He’s not
riding his father’s fame. He’s the truth. I thought it would be a dream come
true if I could get one of my idols to be on this song.
You’re supporting Travie
McCoy on his European tour later this year and then headlining your own US tour. Is
live performance something you’ve thought about when making the album?
The main thing is that I have to have to fun. You can only
have so much fun performing ballads, so we’ve got songs on the album that are
more hi-energy and get the crowd involved and dancing.
What performers have
I watch the best. I’m a big fan of Elvis. I’m a big fan of
1950s Elvis when he would go on stage and scare people because he was a force
and girls would go nuts! You can say the same thing for Prince or The Police.
It’s just guys who know that people are here to see a show, so I watch those
guys and I love studying them because I’m a fan.
Are you a fan of
I love Mark Ronson. I love the stuff that he produces. Of
course the Beetles and the Rolling Stones. You guys love music out here and
you’re not afraid to take chances. That’s what I really respect.
Finally, for anyone
who hasn’t heard it yet, how would you describe the new single Just the Way You
I’m a big fan of simple songs. When we wrote Just the Way
You Are, I wasn’t thinking of anything deep or poetic. I was telling a story.
Get ready to fall in love!
The single Just the
Way You Are is out on 4 October. The album Doo-Wops and Hooligans is due out
early next year.