He’s a superstar who named himself after a planet, but in spite of this Bruno Mars is remarkably down-to-earth. He started off his career as an Elvis impersonator and is now well on his way to becoming one of the biggest chart-toppers of all time. Mars’ journey to fame has been marked with highs and lows. While his laid-back demeanor doesn’t hint at his troubles, Mars has had more than his fair share of hardships. Think you know everything there is to know about this icon? Think again.
Mars has been churning out hits since childhood. He wrote his very first song when he was just four years old and dedicated it to the most important person in his life: his mother. She told Inquirer Lifestyle that Mars was “singing even before he started talking.”
He also started playing the piano at a young age, according to his mother. “I bought him a piano when he was just two,” she said, “and he went on the piano and just started playing tunes, not just banging on it, but he’d play actual tunes!”
Mars has certainly come a long way since then, having penned dozens of hit songs.
Not only did the pint-sized Bruno write his first song when he was just 4 years old, he was also the youngest Elvis impersonator at the time, which he started doing at just 2 years old as part of his parents’ band! That’s cute and all, but how big of a deal could it be? Pretty big. He was such a great tiny Elvis that he performed at the 1990 Aloha Bowl and played “Little Elvis” in 1992’s Honeymoon in Vegas. And people loved him.
He was featured in the 1990 documentary Viva Elvis, and appeared on multiple television segments, like the Pauly Shore MTV segment above and, according to Rolling Stone, he appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show by the time he was just 6.
So why Elvis? He said in the Viva Elvis documentary, “I like his singing, and his dance, and his lip,” which he then of course topped off with his impression of the iconic Elvis lip. The kid was born to be a star!
Bruno Mars comes from a tight-knit family. He and his mother Bernadette San Pedro Bayot were especially close and her death in 2013 from a brain aneurysm devastated him. In 2017, Mars opened up to Latina about his loss.
“The woman who taught you to love, showed you what a woman is supposed to be,” he said, “when that goes away, a little more than half your heart goes away with it.” Mars added that losing his mother showed him “the real importance of life” and of his loved ones.”
“My life has changed,” he said. “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.'”
Mars might be wildly successful these days, but his life has been far from easy. Some of his childhood years were spent in poverty. At one time, his family was so poor that they crowded into a small home with no bathroom. Despite this, Mars said his childhood was “the best” in an interview with 60 Minutes (via ET Online).
“We had it all,” he said. “We had each other.” Mars added that there were days when his family didn’t have electricity but they stayed positive, saying “We’re gonna figure it out.”
“Maybe that’s why I have this mentality when it comes to the music,” Mars said. “I’m gonna figure it out.”