If Bruno Mars were here in Hawai‘i right now, he’d immediately head to Zippy’s for a Korean chicken plate, a chili and rice and an orange bang. Already the 24-year-old Roosevelt High School graduate has written and produced for Adam Levine, Flo Rida, Sean Kingston and Matisyahu, to name a few. Of late, he’s lent his smooth vocals to the hooks for top ten hits with Travie McCoy and B.o.B. Now, he is finally ready to introduce the world to Bruno Mars, the solo artist. Given his ability to cross musical genres, what can fans expect of his full-length album, which he’s looking to release early next year? “I’m in the studio every day working on it, so it’s going to be the best it can be. If you like ‘Nothing On You’ and ‘Billionaire’ that’s what you’re going to get.”
What are you hiding under that fedora of yours?
Gold. My hair follicles just grow gold … Nah, I’m not hiding anything! I may be a little lazy to do the hair so I just throw the hat on and rock.
Your solo EP is called “It’s Better If You Don’t Understand.” Explain that.
When I got to Los Angeles, everyone was like, What is he? Where is he from? What kind of music does he do? And they weren’t saying that in an interested way. You listen to “Billionaire” and “Nothing on You” – they’re completely opposite. A lot of people told me, you can’t mix hip-hop, reggae, rock, R&B because people won’t know who you are. You have to define yourself with this one sound. And that would bug the shit outta me, because I just want to write what I feel. That slogan “it’s better if you don’t understand,” means to me, just listen and you make of it what you want.
Has fame been what you expected?
I just got word today that we got two songs in the top ten on The Billboard Hot 100. It’s hard to expect those kind of things, so no, you never know what to expect.
What would you buy if you were a billionaire?
You know I never really thought of that … I would buy everybody in my family a mansion.
I heard your mom works at 8 Fat Fat 8. If you could sing any song with her what would it be?
Hell yeah she works there! Every time I go down there, she forces me to sing with her. She doesn’t learn any current songs, so I’m always forced to sing Disney songs. It always ends up being me and her, drinking and singing “A Whole New World” from Aladdin. Straight-up karaoke style, with Heinekens and poke.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
I feel like you could be blown away. Don’t know if you could emotionally love somebody at first sight.
As a producer and songwriter do you ever fear you’ll run out of creative juices?
It happens all the time. I wish I could say everything I wrote and produced is going to be a number one hit. I’ve probably wrote a gazillion songs, but to come up with that hit song, the one that the world is gonna sing, that’s a big task.
What do you miss most about Hawai‘i?
The lifestyle. Everyone is so happy and content. It’s not like the hustle out here in LA, where the pressure’s on, the competition is on. Everyone is like, “Yah I live in Hawai‘i and it’s paradise. I miss that paradise mentality. And Zippy’s!