Life on Mars: the future of pop music is on his way to Dublin
CONSIDERING that Bruno Mars only released his debut album last October, it can be argued that he is already the most outlandishly successful and talented act of his generation. The phrase “the new Michael Jackson” may only belong in some demented record company press release, but for once we’re looking at someone who could potentially have a seismic effect on the music industry.
Only 25, Mars poses a triple threat as a performer, producer and songwriter. In the latter category he’s just been named the most successful songwriter of 2010 (and there were some huge names up against him). In addition to his own hit singles (Just the Way You Are and Grenade), Mars also co-wrote Cee Lo’s Fuck You as well as a few other multi-platinum sellers.
As a producer he’s already too expensive to hire for all but those at the top of the A-list. As a performer his Doo-Wops and Hooligans album reached the top of the world’s charts. Oh, and his current tour sold out in nanoseconds. So quick has been Mars’s ascent that way back he was booked into the Olympia for his Dublin date next Wednesday, even though he could easily sell out the O2. Last month he picked up his first Grammy, and was second only to Eminem in the number of
In many ways Bruno Mars is a Stepford figure. He has the fresh-faced appeal of a boy bander and his music, while rooted firmly in the mainstream for that vital pan-generational appeal, has the odd hip-hop and r’n’b flourish to keep the music mags on board.
Mars earned himself some “bad boy” cred last year in Las Vegas, when he was arrested after being found in possession of 2.6 grams of cocaine. Mars told police that he had never taken drugs before and realised what he had just done was foolish. But type in “bruno mars mug shot” into a search engine and look at how he posed for the photograph. That’s some smile.
As a songwriter, Mars excels in vaulting over genres. Radio loves him because his tracks are equal parts hip-hop and Billy Joel. He’s black enough to score a record deal with Motown but white enough to know he can’t be marketed as whatever “type” they want.
He’s smart enough to refer to himself as “the Nickelodeon version of Danger Mouse” and says he studies songs such as Wonderful Tonight and Nothing Compares 2 U to see what goes into making a classic. He writes songs such as Fuck You for other artists to see how far he can go in terms of lyrics and styles while still notching up multi-million sales and airplay.
Put simply, Bruno Mars is the most impressive and extravagantly talented new act of the past decade. He’s already the new Ryan Tedder and is capable of moving into an even more rarefied category over the next few years.
So, if you’re one of the few going to the Olympia next Wednesday, remember: you’re watching The Future of Pop Music in
Grammy calling: Mars with his gong for best male pop vocal performance