How Grammy Winner Bruno Mars Became a Superstar

Nominated for a total of seven Grammys, 25-year-old Bruno Mars was undeniably 2010’s biggest breakout star. The Hawaiian-born musician, who is of Puerto Rican and Filipino descent, is up for megaphones as a singer, songwriter and producer, proving his status as an in-demand triple-threat artist.

If you’re wondering how he rose to the top so quickly, we’ve charted his course from Elvis impersonator to Producer of the Year nominee.

1. Bruno Mars: Little Elvis

“Midget Elvis”

Mars made his big debut at the age of four, when he began performing in his family’s tourist-friendly band as an Elvis Presley impersonator. He was so good (and adorable) as the hip-swiveling idol, that he landed a role as “midget Elvis” in the 1992 film Honeymoon in Vegas.


2. Bruno Mars: "Nuthin' on You"

“Nothin’ On You” B.o.B.

This was the first time most of us saw that irresistible face. Mars wrote the song for B.o.B. with his production team The Smeezingtons and ended up being featured on the track when he sang the hook on the demo presented to Atlantic Records. The label liked it so much they offered him a contract. Good move! “Nothin’ On You” is nominated for Record of the Year, Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.


3. Bruno Mars: "Billionaire"

“Billionaire” Travie McCoy

The Smeezingtons scored once more with the reggae-tinged “Billionaire.” Written for Travie McCoy, this track also features Mars, who steals the show with his hook: “I wanna be a billionaire so fucking bad/ Buy all of the things I never had/ I wanna be on the cover of Forbes magazine/ Smiling next to Oprah and the Queen.”


4. Bruno Mars: "Forget You"

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“F**k You” (a.k.a. “Forget You”)  Cee-Lo Green

Nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, Cee-Lo’s Motown-flavored “F**k You” was co-written by Mars and his team. The former Goodie Mob member was so pleased, he dueted on the song “The Other Side” from Mars’ debut album Doo-Wops & Hooligans.


5. Bruno Mars: Just the Way You Are

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“Just the Way You Are”

The lead single from Mars’ October 2010 debut album Doo-Wops & Hooligans reached the number one spot on the Billboard charts and received a GRAMMY nod for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. It also further endeared us to the romantic crooner, who surely knows how to make the ladies swoon.


6. Bruno Mars: Grenade

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"Grenade”

Sure, the message is a bit over the top (“I’d catch a grenade for ya/ Throw my hand on a blade for ya/ I’d jump in front of a train for ya/ You know I’d do anything for ya”), but Mars’ “Grenade” made him the only male artist in history to top the charts with his first two singles.