Bruno Mars is one of the hottest pop sensations in recent years; not only because of his own hit songs, but also for the hit songs he's written for some of the most popular acts in music today. His musical style infuses modern pop with rock, hip hop, R&B, and reggae, and a smooth voice and laid-back lyrics have made him a favorite among men and women alike.
Born in Waikiki as Peter Gene Hernandez, Bruno Mars joined his family's band, The Love Notes, as soon as he was able. Performing around the island, the young Bruno Mars first gained recognition as an Elvis impersonator - to the extent that it even earned him a cameo in the Nicholas Cage and Sarah Jessica Parker movie, Honeymoon in Vegas. He moved to Los Angeles at the age of 17 to pursue a music career, adopting the moniker of Bruno Mars; the former because his father said he resembled wrestler Bruno Sammartino, the latter a tip of the cap to those girls who told him he was "out of this world."
During a brief stint at Motown Records, Mars met songwriter Philip Lawrence and engineer Ari Levine and the three formed a songwriting group called The Smeezingtons. Lawrence introduced Bruno Mars to Atlantic manager Aaron Bay-Schuck, who hired the Smeezingtons to write for the label. During this period of songwriting, Bruno Mars not only cultivated his personal sound but also co-wrote hit songs including "Right Round" by Flo Rida and "F*** You" by Cee-lo Green.
After releasing his EP, It's Better if You Don't Understand (which received fair reviews), Bruno Mars exploded on the music scene with his debut album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans. It featured the hit singles "Just the Way You Are" and "Grenade", which can still be heard playing on radios and in commercials. "Just the Way You Are" also earned him a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 2011 Grammy Awards.
Mars followed up the success of his debut album with Unorthodox Jukebox in 2012. The album featured a similar style to his first, but with tighter and catchier beats. Mars also successfully evolved his own pop style by exploring new territory, leading to the album going double platinum.
So Cal native Aloe Blacc began his recording career as an MC back in 1995, when he joined up with hip-hop producer Exile to form the mainstay indie rap group, Emanon. A few years later, Aloe would stow away on a Lootpack European tour and become fast friends with Oh No a relationship which led to many fruitful collaborations as a solo artist.
These days, Aloe Blacc has evolved into a true Renaissance man. Recordings like his Latin cover of John Legends Ordinary People prove that not only can this multi-instrumentalist produce, rap and sing but he can flip it in Spanish, too. With an amazingly broad set of influences ranging widely from the acoustic guitar stylings of folk artist Cat Stevens, to the soul-stirring sounds of the Negro Spirituals, Aloe prides himself on the spectrum of his musical roots. His sound often forays into the digital R&B realm, but always grooves with a tinge of Latin and the pulse of hip-hop.