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Bruno Mars interview: Proud 'to come from here'

By John Berger

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 04:37 p.m. HST, Apr 22, 2014


With three sold-out Blaisdell Arena shows in the books and their history-making ticket sales now the stuff of legend -- all three concerts sold-out in less than two hours -- Bruno Mars finally has time to take a deep breath, enjoy his time at home and speak with the Star-Advertiser before heading back out on the next leg of his 14-month Moonshine Jungle Tour next month.

"We saved Hawaii for last," Mars said Monday afternoon in an unanticipated telephone interview before the final performance of his three-show homestand. The Hawaii dates followed a seven-week swing through Australia, New Zealand and nine countries in Asia. It penciled out as 23 shows in 45 days, followed by a five-day break before Friday's concert.

"I've been so many places in Asia and Australia, places I can't even spell," he said, sounding like the same soft-spoken guy we talked with in 2010. "It's great to be back in Hawaii. I want everyone on Oahu to know how proud I am to come from here.

"I haven't done any press since the Super Bowl (in February), but this is Hawaii."

In response to a question that would have been asked if he'd had time to talk before the three Blaisdell Arena concerts, Mars acknowledged things have changed since he performed here in support of his multi-platinum debut, "Doo-Wops & Hooligans," in December 2010.

When asked if there is a place he can go without being recognized and drawing a crowd, he fell silent.

"I like to talk with people," Mars finally said after a moment of silent thought, adding that these days he has to be careful. When a crowd forms and people get excited, there's always a chance people will start pushing and shoving.

"I don't want anybody to get hurt," he said.

The break in the tour schedule means time with family for Mars and his older brother, Eric Hernandez, a member of The Hooligans from day one and his partner in the years of struggle that preceded Mars' "overnight success" in 2010. Bruno and Eric's father, Pete "Dr. Doo Wop" Hernandez, and their uncle, Lawrence Bayot, opened the Blaisdell engagement as members of the Love Notes, but the superstar remarked that he had "more than 220 family here."

That means there's a lot of catching up to do. Looking forward to those precious days between Hawaii and the next leg of the tour, Mars said he'd like to write a song for his next album, title yet to be decided.

What does he miss about Hawaii?

"Zippy's," he replied instantaneously. "If they ever come to Los Angeles, I want to be there."

As for that lyric switch he made to "Billionaire" on Friday about wanting to be the cover of MidWeek, "I was just freestyling. I wasn't thinking about it at the time, but I was on the cover of MidWeek. I think I was four."

That would have been around 1990, when he was known nationally as The World's Youngest Elvis. He said those video clips from 25 years ago "haunt" him sometimes, but he's learned to live with it.

"There I am, two feet tall, with the hair and the glittery gold suit, but that's where I was back then," he said. "I grew up listening to Elvis and Jackie Wilson and James Brown and Michael Jackson."

Any advice for aspiring entertainers, would-be hit-makers and pop stars?

"Be prepared to work hard at whatever it is you want to do."

Was playing the National Football League's Super Bowl halftime show for a television audience of more than 115 million people a break-through performance, in terms of reaching people who weren't aware of the range of his talents as a singer, dancer and musician?

"It ain't my job to think about that kind of stuff," said Mars. "I just gotta go out there and give it my all."

Any truth to those stories that you're planning to get married?

"No!"

If he could change something about the music business, Mars said he'd make people leave their recording devices at home before coming out to enjoy the show.

"In the old days, if you went into a show with a video camera to record it, you'd be lucky to leave with your camera," he said. "Now everybody brings their smart phones and records everything. I'd like people to come to the shows and enjoy them like they did in the old days. I don't want people to come and then say, 'I saw it all last night on YouTube.'

"Would I rather perform for a thousand people with cell phones or two people without? Of course I'll take the thousand, but I wish that they'd come and enjoy the show while its happening. The show is what it's about. It's what I love doing, the live thing, the performance, with the audience."

For more Bruno Mars coverage, go to honolulupulse.com.






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