Bruno Mars. ❤️
The cast of “In Living Color” loves the “Finesse” video and gave its approval! 😊😊😊
*Bonus* Tommy Davidson from “In Living Color” loves Bruno’s and Cardi b’s “Finesse” video too! 😊😊😊
*Extra bonus* Jim Carrey approves too! 😊😊😊
#brunomars #24kmagicworldtour #thatswhatilike #sparkarena We had a wonderful night😆💃❤️😍#ブルーノマーズ
2004: Season 3, Episode 5. Snippet of Bruno Mars on American Idol. Repost@brunomars.biggestfan
Bruno got rejected in the very first round, but he didn’t let that stop him, now he’s one of the biggest stars in the world. Goes to show that persistence and hard work pays off and anything can happen when you believe in yourself and follow your dreams. Don’t let anyone stop you. ❤️
Throwback photoshoot in New York City from old Rolling Stone magazine article titled:
“Mr. Showbiz”: How Bruno Mars former child Elvis impersonator and Hotel-lounge act became pop’s hottest hook man.
By Jonah Weiner published on January 20, 2011
New unseen outtakes from Bruno’s 2011 Vogue Magazine photoshoot. Source: Hooligan.bmars
Bruno and the band posing for pictures after sweeping the Grammys! 😊😊😊 Repost@jermainehall
Get a behind-the-scenes look at how Bruno Mars’ pop-funk opus came together in the studio, and follow its strut towards an Album Of The Year nomination
GRAMMYS JAN 25, 2018 – 2:01 PM
To create 24K Magic, his first full-studio album since 2012’s phenomenal commercial and artistic triumph, Unorthodox Jukebox, Bruno Mars enlisted a collective of producer/songwriter collaborators, musicians, technicians and other artists to carry out his vision.
The goal was to create a ‘90s-esque danceable party album. Calling on the likes of the Smeezingtons (Mars, Brody Brown, James Fauntleroy, and Philip Lawrence) with writer-producer pals the Stereotypes (Ray “Charm” McCullough II, Jeremy Reeves, Ray Romulus, and Jonathan Yip), as well as heroes like Babyface and his engineer Charles Moniz, Mars was successful. There were great musical parties in his studio, from which the grooves and spirit of the LP were born.
Below, multiple collaborators proudly present a rare look into the making of a landmark album, the Album Of The Year-nominated 24K Magic.
*Bruno Mars (artist)It was a long journey to get to this album. With this album, I wanted to make a movie. A real movie. I told myself, “I am shooting a movie and I need the opening to let everybody know what time it is, what’s that gonna sound like?” And that was [the song] “24K Magic.” It was the opening to a movie.
Charles Moniz (engineer/mixer): We’d usually start [working] in the afternoon; days ran about 14 hours. The record took about 22 months. Bruno always has a vision of where he wants to go, but may not always know how to get there. If the writing process starts to slow down, he’ll bounce ideas around the room and we’ll start experimenting. There’s really no system, it’s just about chipping away at an idea until it feels good.
*Bruno Mars: It’s all feeling. There’s no rules [in] music. But for me, my rule is that feeling comes first. Honesty. Even a song like “24K Magic,” that’s the song that’s supposed to get the party started. Does it sound like me? Does it sound like I’m faking it? Does it sound like I’m having the time of my life? That’s what it is. Emotion and feeling come first, whether it’s a love song, or whether it’s a song like “24K Magic.”
Kai Z. Feng (photographer): I didn’t know why [Mars] kept throwing up the number 24 with his fingers during the [photo] shoot; I thought it was just a cool thing to do. But after repeatedly doing it, I finally asked him if it had anything to do with the album. He smiled and said, “Shhh, Kai!“ Come to find out, that was the album title and name of the first single!
Ray Romulus (producer/songwriter, the Stereotypes): All that about the Cadillacs and champagne, that’s how Bruno is. He’s giving you a day in the life. It’s real. Working with him in the studio is always joyful, and that translates to the audience. Even how he sings it; you can hear him smiling.
*Bruno Mars: It’s what we want to bring to the table musically. Obviously, you hear these ’90s influences in the whole album, really. But in "24K Magic,” that’s because of West Coast hip-hop. That’s because of Dr. Dre and DJ Quik and Suga Free. This is what we grew up on. … It was at a time when it was okay to party. It was okay to be flashy.
Moniz: Bruno and the guys grew up on R&B, so it’s a part of who they are. That’s where his head was at, so that’s where the album went.
Jonathan Yip (producer/songwriter, the Stereotypes): Bruno played us the songs that he already had done. It was very nostalgic and heavily drenched with ’90s influence, which is my favorite era. He said he wanted to make an album that people could dance to, with music that made him feel like when he was back at school dances. He told us he really wanted to do something with the New Jack Swing feel, so we started vibing out until we all felt we had something.
“Bruno’s no less hands-on than MJ. He’ll be dancing, and then the next second he’s on the keyboard.”
Mars****: You hear my other albums, I’m bouncing around from genre to genre. I wanted to really hone it in and give myself a world in which I could keep it contained. … Also, I want to sing more so than I did on the other albums. That’s why you get “Versace” and “Too Good to Say Goodbye.”
Charles Moniz: Bruno has the ability to look at his own work objectively, and that plays a huge role in it all. If you’re trying to get people on the dance floor, but the song doesn’t make you want to dance, you’re going to have to make some changes. He’s never afraid to make changes and no idea is ever too precious.
**Bruno Mars: [I started] writing “Too Good To Say Goodbye” years ago, but it never felt right….When [Babyface] came into the studio, I started playing the chorus on the piano and he stopped me and he said, “What is that?” I said, “It’s a song that I can’t crack the code.” He said, “We got to work on that, we got to finish that.” It was old-school; sitting down on the piano and we built this song.
Jeremy Reeves (producer/songwriter, the Stereotypes): He was dancing the whole time, and would say, “I don’t want to dance like this, I want to dance like this!” And we shaped [“That’s What I Like”] to that movement.
Ray “Charm” McCullough II (producer/songwriter, the Stereotypes): [“That’s What I Like”] is a slow tempo, which we love because you can body-roll to it. We added all those in-between beats, which made it modern. These days the drums lead.
Yip: It was a collaborative effort, like a bunch of kids on a playground and there are so many instruments laying around the studio. Someone touches a keyboard, someone has a shaker. His studio is like a playground; everything is mic’d and ready to record. It is such a fun place to create music.
Romulus: He got the actual keyboards from the era we all loved. We were transported back. He can do it all. Bruno’s no less hands-on than MJ. He’ll be dancing, and then the next second he’s on the keyboard. To me, he is almost the reincarnation of Michael. I really felt like I was working with Michael Jackson. He made us feel like Quincy.
Yip: (On “Finesse”) we had one big jam session. His studio is like a candy store for musicians, with Junos, Moogs, drum kits, pianos, guitars and any instrument you can think of laying around. That chorus (on “Finesse”) is astounding. All those stacks of vocal harmonies.
Feng: Bruno is talented, fun, collaborative and gives me a lot of trust to do my thing. He is not shy in front of the camera; he’s always moving and dancing, as long as you have the right music playing.
**Bruno Mars: I felt, like after [finishing] nine songs, I thought it was done. Everything I envisioned, I said everything I wanted to say, and I didn’t waste not one second. … Every second on this album is exciting for me.
Moniz: The mixing process was great and Bruno was there every step of it. We would continually work on the roughs as we built the album, because it was important for him to sketch out his vision for the overall feel of the project. From there, we worked with Serban [Ghenea], who did an absolutely incredible job as usual. I remember hearing his first pass of (the song) “24KMagic,”and thinking, "This is going to be amazing!”
*Bruno Mars: I don’t know if I will ever be fully satisfied because therefore it would have to be perfect. And nothing is perfect.
Yip: [He’s a] genius. People either weren’t going to get it at all or love it. That’s why we love Bruno, he isn’t afraid to take risks. He knew it would be an education process for people to understand what he created as a whole and not just individual songs.
Romulus: He knows exactly what he wants. He’s an artist’s artist to the core, and a songwriting genius. He knew the feeling he wanted to bring to the dance-floor, which he felt is missing in the marketplace.
*Bruno Mars: I hope that my music does the talking. I just want to do music. I don’t want to be known for any …. scandals or controversy. I want to be the guy that brings joy to your life through his music. That’s it. And I want to go home. Throw on some Netflix and live a life.
* As told to Beats 1
** As told to NME
*** As told to iHeartRadio
**** As told to BET.com
If Bruno Mars hadn’t already established himself as a bona-fide superstar by the time he released his third album, 24K Magic, in November 2016 – with four Billboard Hot 100 No. 1s, an awe-inspiring Super Bowl performance and a record of the year Grammy win for “Uptown Funk – his latest LP certainly set that in stone.
In addition to his recent Cardi B remix of “Finesse” creating serious buzz, Mars has earned another six Grammy nominations this year for 24K Magic, including a song of the year and record of the year nod. But while he’s worked hard for his success, there’s a little secret to how he’s dripping in finesse these days: The Stereotypes.
The producer quartet (Jonathan Yip, Ray Romulus, Jeremy Reeves and Charm) helped Mars find the exact “bounce” he was looking for on 24K Magic’s biggest hits, including the title track, “That’s What I Like” and “Finesse.” And though they’re just now receiving accolades for working with Bruno, The Stereotypes and Mars go way back. How far? When The Stereotypes started working together around 2007, their current manager, Larry Wade, was managing Bruno’s right-hand man, producer/songwriter (and Mars’ The Smeezingtons cohort) Philip Lawrence.
“Philip was like, ‘Man you guys gotta meet this kid named Bruno, I’ve been working with him a lot,’” Romulus recalls to Billboard. “And that’s exactly what happened. We literally met up for a session and from then on, the rest is history.”
Their history could be even more iconic after Sunday’s Grammy Awards (Jan. 28), where they have a chance to take home a gramophone for “That’s What I Like,” which is up for both best R&B song and song of the year. (The foursome also earned a producer of the year nomination for their work with Mars and other hitmakers including Iggy Azalea (“Mo Bounce”) and Lil Yachty (“Better” feat. Stefflon Don). Ahead of the big night, Billboard chatted with Yip and Romulus about their relationship with Mars, the magic of working on 24K Magic, and what it would mean to them to win with their old pal.
How did you meet Bruno?
Yip: We were introduced to him as, “You guys have to work with him. He’s crazy, he’s incredible.” And I think at that time, he might’ve just been dropped from Motown, but was trying to figure out his sound and what he was gonna do for his next steps. But when you get introduced to somebody, like when they give you that kind of intro, you’re like “Okay, he must be something.”
Romulus: I met him as Bruno Mars. I was like, “Man, that kid has a really cool name!” [Laughs.]
That’s too funny. What were your first impressions of him?
Yip: I was like, “I haven’t heard a voice this pure since Michael Jackson. His voice is so clean.” And then I started seeing him pick up a bunch of instruments and playing with them, and I was like, “God, this guy is ridiculous.”
This was in like ‘06, or something like that. He was obviously a lot younger, and not as experienced, but still very talented. So it was just watching this kid, multi-talented with a crazy voice, write songs and I was just like, “Geez, where did you come from?”
Romulus: From the day I met him, he was never supposed to be behind the scenes. This guy was supposed to be front and center from the beginning. So I think it was just a matter of time for things to align for him where, you know, he really got his shot. Once that door opened, he kicked it down and ran through and there was no stopping him.
We worked together on one session, and right away I was blown away. Just from his voice alone, I was like, “Wow, this kid is incredible.” And right then, right off the bat, we just clicked and we started like just working everyday, just trying to create songs for different artists and trying to get placements together.
What do you think is special about his songwriting and what he brings to sessions?
Yip: Talk about somebody who really just knows how to write a song. And a hit song, at that. One thing that he said to me back in the day – this wasn’t even a song for him, we were doing a song for a different artist at the time, and we were working on the transition from the pre-hook to the hook – and he was just like, “Give them what they want.” I always took that as, like, people want to hear dynamics. They want you to lead them in the song – tell them the verse is here, tell them where the chorus is at. You don’t want them guessing, you want them to know where it’s at right away. And those words stuck to me the whole time: “Give them what they want.”
Romulus: For us, it was more how effortless it was creating with him. It didn’t feel like we were actually working and making songs, it just felt like we were hanging out, having conversations, and as we’re doing that we’re making the beats… he would literally have a new idea for something every second, he would just be spilling out ideas. Bouncing off ideas with him and Phillip, they were just an amazing duo to work with. So, that’s why we just stuck with that team, and we knew we had something right pretty early.
So even though years had passed and Bruno had blown up by the time you got back in the studio for 24K Magic, was it basically just like old times right away?
Romulus: It was like a reunion, we spent the first couple hours just like catching up. It’s amazing to see that no matter how much fame or success he has had… we’re still like those same young kids from the first time we jumped in the studio, just to be excited about music. It didn’t feel any different.
And then, you know, he played us “24K Magic,” and the idea that he had, and we just went right in and started working on it. He was basically like, “Hey guys, if we knock this out and kill it, I have a couple more ideas that I would love for you guys to be apart of.”
Yip: He played a lot of the stuff that he already had on the album. Immediately, we were like “Whoa. This is crazy and it’s throwback, but it’s good authentic throwback.” And he was like “Guys, I want to dance. I want it to feel like when I was back in school at a school dance. You know, in the club these days, people aren’t dancing anymore. They’re in their VIP booths with bottles, and they’re standing against the wall, or just looking at the DJ. What about times when we would be with and with a girl, or a guy and a guy, or a girl or whatever, and they’re dancing together? And not just sitting back just drinking. I want that feeling back.” It immediately excited us because we were like, “Yeah, I remember those times – those times were awesome.”
Especially for “Finesse,” he was like, “We gotta go new jack swing. Let’s get one on here.” For me, new jack swing is like my favorite era ever, and so as we’re going along we’re just messing around making some stuff. He’s getting on the drum set, everybody is grabbing an instrument, and everybody is singing and yelling. Everybody is kind of contributing their little bit to the song, and next thing you know, we’re dripping in finesse [Laughs].
Was there a similar dance-based thing for the making of “That’s What I Like?”
Yip: He had a bunch of it, like a skeleton of it already laid out, and he was like, “We need to make this bounce.” We would just go back and forth and we were messing around with rhythms, and next thing we know, it’s hitting, it’s bouncing – half-time, double-time. He kept saying, “It needs to make me bounce, it needs to make me move a certain way.” And he would move, and be like that’s it. This is it. He’d be like, “I don’t want it to make me move another way.”
Romulus: It felt like the whole room – once he felt like the whole room was moving the same, he could envision everyone dancing sorta the same way to the song. Once we found that pocket that he wanted, that song was ready to go.
Yip: He’s just always moving in the studio. He’s never sitting down. He’s either thinking, and you can see him thinking, or he’s moving. I think he imagines songs as if he were performing them already.
What’s something about Bruno that fans may not know?
Romulus: He is his own biggest critic. He really, really cares. And he puts it all on the line. He’s the first one at the studio, last one to leave. Ultimately all of those decisions were up to him – when it was ready to be released and everything like that. He put in countless hours of work even when we were gone just to make sure it was at the standard he wanted it to be.
Yip: Last week, working on performance stuff, I was there ‘til five in the morning, and our partner Charm and Bruno were there until eight in the morning. He is such a perfectionist. And I’ve never seen anyone who is like that so much. He’ll be like “That’s not right. Something is not right.” And he’ll stay there until he gets it right. And then it goes.
He’s the real deal for a reason because he works at it. He’s obviously naturally talented, but to get as good as he is, you have to work for it too, and he does.
How would it feel to win a Grammy with Bruno?
Yip: We’ve been trying not to think about it, and to stay busy and keep our heads down and not let that consume our life. But it’s definitely approaching pretty quickly, so we’re gonna have to start thinking about it. If we do think about it, It’s kind of crazy. Because we started this together, and to be here in this moment together just makes it extra cool and extra special. This is what we imagined as the original squad. We have tons of videos and there’s footage online of us making music when we were like babies. And now we’re all getting older, and what I would like to think, is the best part of our career right now.
Romulus: It will be just amazing because it will be everything coming full circle. At the end of the day, it’s a matter of time for that to happen, but it’s amazing that it is happening right now – just blessed and appreciative of the moment.
How do you think you’d celebrate together?
Romulus: To party… hard. [Laughs.] That is the plan.
Yip: I have no idea. Yes, definitely partying [Laughs]. We’ve been to the Grammy’s before, but I honestly don’t know how to feel and how we will feel. That’s something where if we do win, I’m gonna ask him like, “Yo, What are we doing?” And then let him lead. Bruno’s used to this, so maybe it’s something that he could let us in on ‘cause I have no idea.
We’ve hung out for no celebration before and it was pretty cool, so I can only imagine what it is if it’s one of the biggest nights in music. It’s a blessing for sure to be a part of it, and for him to ask us come along on this journey. It’s been a career-defining and enlightening moment for us.