Bruno Mars used to be jealous of Amy Winehouse because he wanted to do what she did: release genre-bending songs that connected with audiences around the world.
I felt like everything Ive been saying, everything I wanted to do, she did it. It was one of those things like, `Damn it! Damn it! It was perfect, the singer-songwriter-producer says.
Mars, 27, was signed to Universal Motown when he grew envious of Winehouse, who released Back to Black on Motowns sister label, Universal Republic. Though his record deal fell through, the crooner had a breakthrough in 2010 on Atlantic Records with his multisounding, near-double platinum debut, Doo-Wop & Hooligans. He just released a new album, Unorthodox Jukebox that features Mark Ronson, who has produced for Lily Allen, Adele, Nas and Q-Tip.
(I was) not thinking about business or radio or politics, just doing what I love to do and thats creating music, Mars said. Whether it be a reggae song, rock song, a love song, the main thing was just to, whatever I was feeling, to try to capture that emotion.
You and [production trio] the Smeezingtons wrote your entire debut album. Why did you decide to reach out to other writers and producers on your new album?
Why not? Thats when the fun comes in. Now, its time to have some fun. Lets put the dream band together. . . . I love their take on pop music. . . . It was a big ole science project.
Did you listen to the radio while recording the album?
No . . . . I generally, literally locked myself in the studio. Like, we were in the studio. In the dark. No windows. Nothing. Like, it got bad. Beard down to here [points to floor]. Everyone smelled like cabbage.
Whats it like putting out an album after the success of Doo-Wop & Hooligans?
I feel like you have to constantly keep proving yourself, and you have to constantly keep getting out there and showing them youre more than just that one song on the radio thats just playing. And thats what I had to do the first time around; I had to keep going out there and keep performing live.
Your parents are also musicians. What do they think of your music?
Theyve been my biggest support, my mom and dad. No one believed in me more than they did. And Im talking about some things on this album that are not the most comfortable to play for your mother [laughs]. But she knows. She understands, and I talk to her, and I tell her if I dont write what comes to me then I become a cartoon. And she understands it and supports me 100 percent.
The Associated Press