Bruno Mars is Latina Magazine’s 2017 headline interview; it aptly dubs him “Mr. Everything”. For fans of his earliest hits, Peter Gene Hernandez’s – aka Bruno Mars – rise to fame must have been a joy to watch. He’s gone from being just a regular hit on radio to one of the world’s biggest performers. He’s now the kind that sells out arenas on World Tours and has people waiting for the next single to drop. Bruno Mars is, doubtlessly, a performer of the generation.
And yet, Latina makes it quite clear that there’s a regular guy underneath the glitz. You’ll find him eating at local pizzerias. He’d get passionate talking about the history of his musical influences, he’d get serious when speaking about little-known tidbits about him and his family.
And just like anyone speaking about his lost loved ones, his heart grows heavy with the thought of things he could always have done better.
She’s With Me Wherever I Go
Bernadette San Pedro Bayot, a Filipina-Spanish woman and Bruno Mars’s mother, passed away in 2013. She was the victim of a sudden brain aneurysm. Mars remembers his mother fondly: “The woman who taught you to love, showed you what a woman is supposed to be… When that goes away, more than half your heart goes with it. You just gotta know she’s with me wherever I go.”
“My life has changed,” he says, in response to whether the loss of his mother has affected his music, “She’s more than my music. If I could trade music to have her back, I would. I always hear her say, ‘keep going and keep doing it’.”
What Are You?
Bruno Mars’s love and pride for his parents seeps into the way he has crafted his identity. His father is Puerto Rican, which gives him a mixed Latino-Asian heritage. And he isn’t shy about putting off labels that, in the music industry, might otherwise seem necessary.
“A lot of people think, ‘this is awesome, you’re in this gray zone, so you can pass for whatever the hell you want’,” Mars says, recalling how he went through that process of branding. Was his music urban? Latin? Black? After all, he’s had experiences of his songs getting rejected due to his race.
But the truth is much more complicated: “What we’re trying to do is educate people to know what that feels like so they’ll never make someone feel like that ever again.”
Given that he’s a four-time Grammy Award winner, with billions of hits on YouTube and a good deal of his singles going Platinum, it’s safe to say that he’s doing just fine. His music didn’t need to cater to a particular audience to launch him to the top. “My music is for anybody who wants to listen to it,” he says.