When Bruno Mars takes the stage Aug. 14 at the Frank Erwin Center, he will take the audience on a journey from the 1950s to the 2000s, bringing together all of his musical-great inspirations from the smooth and romantic Doo-Wop style music, to dazzling disco balls, hard-hitting rock songs and gentle ballads. How does he accomplish the difficult feat of combining all of this? He makes it happen, and he does it very well. Mars is a versatile artist that can fuse a variety of elements from different genres and generations and create a masterpiece. His musical inspiration comes from his upbringing and musicians introduced to him at an early age by his family. It’s also no secret that Mars’ artistry stems from greats of the past, which audiences love and appreciate today.
At the age of four, Mars was already performing on stage in front of crowds in his native Hawaii. As a part of the family band he grew up listening to artists of the 1950s and 1960s like Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Motown, James Brown, Frank Sinatra, The Temptations, Jackie Wilson, Jimi Hendrix and Jerry Lewis. In an interview with London Newsdesk Mars said “Growing up in the showbiz world, I looked up to those guys…My dad was into the 1950s doo-wop era. If you look at those groups… in the 1960s, you’ll see you had to be sharp onstage.” Mars even had his own act, and impersonated Elvis Presley, which allowed him to perfect his electrifying stage presence he still has today. At such a young age, Mars gained stage experience and learned invaluable skills which he continues to exude in his music career.
Along with early artists Mars was introduced to as a toddler, Mars’ musical inspiration often includes elements of his hometown with ukulele type beach tunes. These elements are often heard in singles like “The Lazy Song” from his debut album and “Show me,” the reggae vibe from “Unorthodox Jukebox.” However, Mars doesn’t restrict his musical boundaries to only Hawaiian sounds. The gifted artist isn’t afraid to vary the style of his music from relaxed and laid back, to guitar filled songs sung at the top of his lungs. During his high school years, Mars was a big fan of 1980s groups The Police and Sting. This explains inspiration of the edgy rock feel in some of his songs, like “Locked Out of Heaven,” where high school garage band meets polished pop star.
There is one last but not least artist that has greatly influenced Mars’ style. Looking at his past and current work, it’s inevitable that Mars places such a great effort into performing and bringing variety to the current music scene, similar to a certain timeless idol—the late Michael Jackson. Like Jackson, Mars sets himself apart from modern pop/hip-hop style artists by mixing elements that make him likeable for each generation within a family. In Mars’ latest hit “Treasure” the red suit, band and mini-afro act clearly channels his inner disco-era Michael Jackson.
While his music can’t exactly be classified into one genre, throughout his career, Mars has demonstrated time and again that his music is from something “out of heaven.” A natural talent, Mars has the ability to create sensational hits using a variety of music styles that resonate with a wide range of audiences of all ages. In his latest album, “Unorthodox Jukebox” you never know what to expect from Mars—one minute he sings a ballad or R&B song, the next a rock hit, followed by a pop song and then a reggae jam. Mars is not choosey when it comes to classifying himself into a specific genre, and instead pulls what he knows from every era and genre of music. That’s what gives his music such a unique sound that cannot be categorized into one single genre. Don’t miss the out of this world performance by the talented Bruno Mars with special guest Ellie Goulding at the Frank Erwin Center Aug. 14!
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