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 2017-04-22 - - Bruno Mars speaks ahead of Birmingham gig

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PUBLISHED: April 22, 2017 8:00 am
Bruno Mars speaks ahead of Birmingham gig

It can’t have been easy. When Bruno Mars booked himself into the studio to record his third album, he had the greatest of expectations to live up to. After all, he was fresh from the monster success of his Mark Ronson collaboration, Uptown Funk.

2017-04-22 - - Bruno Mars speaks ahead of Birmingham gig Bruno Bruno Mars at V Festival back in 2011
His first two albums – Doo-Wops & Hooligans and Unorthodox – had sold a gazillion copies and earned so many platinum discs that Bruno had been offered the freedom of South Africa.
And yet, remarkably, his hugely-anticipated third album picked up where Unorthodox Jukebox had left off. The diminutive funk master returned to the groove-laden music of his childhood to record a record that skyrocketed to number one in more than 25 countries. Boom.
The critics swooned. Associated Press called it: ‘an epic ‘90s R&B-inspired album that plays like a cohesive jam session’. Entertainment Weekly said: ‘Nearly every track on Bruno Mars’ 24KMagic sounds like Top 40 gold’. And BET added: ‘24K is one of the best albums of the year’.
Multiple Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter/producer/director/musician Bruno was reasonably pleased.
“It’s stupid things I obsess over, like, ‘Are people going to get off the dancefloor because I said something stupid about a dragon?’
“For me, this album, I can’t do better. Right now, sitting here talking, I can’t do better. Do I hope that we’re sitting here in a year and saying that my next album is the best ever? Yeah! But for now, this is it – this is the best I got.”

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The album features a surprise guest appearance by Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry on the sultry track, Calling All My Lovelies. The already critically-acclaimed collection also features co-writing assists from multiple Grammy Award-winning icon Babyface on the closing ballad Too Good To Say Goodbye, and producer/heavyweight T-Pain on the jam Straight Up & Down.
Bruno is on the road with a tour that kicked off in Belgium last month and will continue through Europe and North America, culminating with a four-night stand at The Forum in Los Angeles. The 24K Magic World Tour marks Bruno’s first full-length tour since his hugely successful Moonshine Jungle World Tour, an international blockbuster that sold two million tickets worldwide across 155 sold-out dates.
Bruno – who heralded 24K Magic with a recent cover story in Rolling Stone – had a lot to live up to. “We wrote 24K Magic [the title track and lead single] when Uptown Funk was number one. So if you hear the same spirit in that song, that’s why. I’d say that it was always in the back of my mind when we were doing it. It was to get me to this record. It’s a bridge.”
The album has a dominant theme: sex.
“Damn right!” he smiles. “For me, 95 per cent of music is about love. That’s why cavemen were hitting stones to get everybody around the fire and get them feeling sexy. It’s exactly the same principle, the same thing: just get people on the dancefloor, get the girls smiling.
“That was my childhood; that’s why I fell in love with music. Those 90s songs are what I was singing to get the girls in school, the songs that the girls like, what we were dancing to as children. New Edition. Boys II Men. Blackstreet. Mint Condition. Babyface. Jimmy Jam. Terry Lewis. Teddy Riley. I think that the reason why that music resonates so much for me is that it made it OK to dance – it was cool to dance. It was cool to be joyous, to have fun and wear some flashy s**t. It was cool to fall in love and smile and flirt on the dancefloor.”
Bruno is a multiple Grammy Award winner and 20 time Grammy nominee. He has sold more than 170 million singles worldwide and 26 million albums.
He returned to the Super Bowl Halftime stage in February 2016 to perform alongside Beyoncé and Coldplay. His 2014 performance made NFL history as the second most watched Super Bowl Halftime Show ever, earning a record-breaking total viewership of more than 115.3 million, all while being the youngest artist ever to serve as the sole Super Bowl Halftime headliner. According to Billboard, Bruno scored his first five Hot 100 number one singles faster than any male artist since Elvis Presley. As a singer, songwriter and producer he’s now massed an incredible catalog of 35 Hot 100 hits to date.
He’s proud of those stats and equally pleased that he plays such an active role in his records. He played guitar on Locked Out Of Heaven, piano on When I Was Your Man and drums on Uptown Funk.
“I was reading something about us miming (on The X Factor),” he says. “Which is… well, you can say anything you want about me or my music, or make any kind of joke you want, but that to me is like, well, I’m going to get extremely insulted. Because you have no idea how hard we rehearse. Just seeing that, it blew me away. Like, ‘What are they seeing? What do you mean!?’ Never! I’ve never lip-synced. I could have a 150-degree fever and I’ll still be up there, singing live. That’s our profession.”
He gives blood, sweat and tears when he hits the studio and has a perfectionist streak.
“I don’t even know how to work a f**king computer!
“There are producers who can just create fire. But for me there’s a process that I have to go through with each song. I have to touch an instrument or it won’t come out. If I’m not touching the guitar or touching the drum machine or playing the piano, the song just won’t come out. I have to be in it, all the way.”
Bruno headlines Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena on Monday and Tuesday.

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