Peter Gene Hernandez is perhaps not a name that you would recognise instantly. Bruno Mars, on the other hand, is known worldwide as an iconic singer-songwriter and music producer. Where did this stage name originate from?
Peter’s father nicknamed his son Bruno at an early age, after a resemblance to the wrestler Bruno Sammartino. The ‘Mars’ section of his name came years later and would go on to signpost the breakout success of one of the most talented and prolific artists of the twenty first century.
Let’s take a more detailed look into the man behind the name, and what we can learn from his success story…
Nature vs. Nurture
Bruno Mars hails from the Waikiki area of Honolulu, Hawaii. His success was not simply a case of acting on the founding edict of his own title ‘Lazy Song’ and doing ‘nothing at all’, but very much the opposite. He comes from a musical family where his natural talent found a nurturing environment and gave him a strong basis to build on.
Nature vs. nurture is a very big debate in industry, science and all walks of life. With Bruno Mars, we can see a great example of these two factors working hand in hand. He has a natural talent, but also a group of supportive people to help that talent to be realised. This can be interpreted by aspiring artists in a number of ways.
First of all, it is important to point out that this should not be seen as a restriction.
If you aren’t naturally the most talented musician out there, you can develop and build your talent into the best version of yourself to achieve amazing levels of success.
For a prime example of this check out our article on Ed Sheeran, a self-proclaimed try-hard who became a virtuoso in a supportive environment because of his superb work-ethic.
Now that being said, if you are someone who, like Mars, has nature and nurture on your side, you have to see this as a sign, a motivation to see how good you can get and how far you can go.
It’s like pulling on a cable to see where it leads: this should be maddening to your sense of musical curiosity – it’s in your blood! Whether you’re naturally talented or not though, it’s important to remember that work ethic is a constant factor in play here, and it is something we can all work on and bolster in our own way.
Setbacks and Billionaires
As so many artists and humans in general come to realise, recovering from setbacks is a defining trait of the hard-workers and the over-achievers. And Bruno Mars is not exempt from this rule.
Later in life he moved to Los Angeles to further his music career and find that coveted and oh-so life defining ‘break’. He then went on to sign a deal with the same management group as pop-sensation Will.I.am in 2004 – but that flopped and eventually came to nothing.
Maybe it was at this point in his life that first conceptualised the line ‘I wanna be a billionaire so frickin’ bad’ that would later contribute to his breakaway rise to fame…
Teamwork: ‘this is a smeeze’
Bruno Mars Concert Houston by Brothers Le
The way that Mars overcame his biggest obstacles is very interesting. Essentially, he went where the money took him. He was so busy putting everything into his solo career that he picked up all of the production and song writing skills required to be a producer.
He became operative in the right circles in LA and managed to define his own sound and songwriting skills to such a degree that he started attracting attention. He fondly recalls how he and fellow producer/songwriter, Philip Lawrence, were approached for the purchase of one of their songs.
He went on to work on tracks with Flo-Rida, CeeLo Green and Timbaland. Mars was able to grow his network from within. He worked to the advantage of his skill set and wasn’t afraid to put his solo career on hold to develop contact networks and raise funds.
He formed a group with Lawrence and Ari Levine (another producer/songwriter) called The Smeezingtons, whose peculiar name developed from a joke that was repeated.
This is a prime example of how networking and teamwork can really pay off in the music industry (as well as hinting at just how fun this process can be!).
Having achieved five UK Number 1 singles and eleven UK Top 10 singles as well as two UK number 1 albums and three top 10 albums, Mars has clearly achieved an exceptional amount. But it is his combination of natural talent and sound decision making within the music industry that really sets him apart.
Aspiring musicians could really take a lot from Bruno’s journey – whether it be the ambitious, yet sometimes naively-made, move to LA to find a break or the following calculated decision to make headway as a producer before focusing on his own career.
If you are willing to put your all into something you will always be rewarded by even greater things being sent right back at you!