Bidyo’s Filipino American Hall of Fame: Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars is the second honoree in Bidyo’s new show, Filipino American Hall of Fame and the second episode airs this Sunday, September 18th!  Bidyo is a new YouTube channel created by FilAm Creative.  Bidyo’s mission is to produce and promote content from emerging Filipino American talent.  Subscribe to the Bidyo Channel here:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7-cvvEYApGwFOO337gUZuQ   

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On September 7, 2010, I had an opportunity to see Bruno Mars perform live on stage at E! Entertainment’s annual private Courtyard Party on the Wilshire Courtyard.  It was my fourth and final year with the cable television network.  But, he was not the headliner.  B.o.B. was the headliner due to his hit song, “Nothing But You” featuring Bruno Mars.  Sadly, Mars was not scheduled to appear as I found out later.

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Interesting facts about Bruno Mars:

– Then Peter Gene Hernandez was given the nickname of “Bruno” because his father said that his son looked a lot like WWE’s 2013 Hall of Fame legendary wrestler, Bruno Sammartino.

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It must be the hair…

– Bruno Mars began impersonating Elvis Presley when he was 3.  At age 4 in 1990, he was featured in a UK documentary about Elvis impersonators.  His early development in stage presence and performance began with the King of Rock N’ Roll.

– Which led to Bruno Mars having a cameo in the James Caan / Nicholas Cage / Sarah Jessica Parker / Pat Morita film, Honeymoon In Vegas in 1992.

You can hear it in his music and see it in his choreographed dance performances at live concerts and on the Grammy stage that his influences are of Doo-Wop, Motown, Michael Jackson and Prince.

– Bruno Mars was the first Super Bowl halftime headlining performer under 30 AND of Filipino descent when he shared the stage with Red Hot Chili Peppers at 2014’s Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

– Bruno Mars became the fourth artist to have held the Super Bowl halftime show twice when he performed and shared the stage with fellow guest performer Beyoncé and headliner Coldplay as 2016’s Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

All this began with his first collaboration with the Korean American Los Angeles group Far East Movement as “Peter Gene Hernandez” on 2009’s “3D.”  Since then, he has written, produced and was guest vocalist for Flo Rida, Travie McCoy, Sean Kingston, Brandy, Adam Levine, the Sugababes and Cee Lo Green, to name a few.

However, with all of his success in the music industry, much like all artists, he, too, faced Hollywood’s ill attempts to place him in a marketable category.  Mars stated that the song “Nothin’ on You” was rejected because of his race by a music industry higher-up.  When they couldn’t place him, in terms of race and ethnicity, he was told his career would not go far [link].

In an April, 2013 interview with GQ Magazine, he used his childhood nickname ‘Bruno’ and changed his surname to ‘Mars,’ in an effort to “avoid being stereotyped.” [link].

He returned to his roots by giving back to the community.  Mars had partnered with the Hawai’i Community Foundation and the GRAMMY Foundation to establish a GRAMMY Camp Scholarship Fund, in order to support the next generation of music makers with funds to provide financial assistance for qualified needs-based applicants from Hawaii.

And, he donated $100,000 to the kids of Bantay Bata, who were among the victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Typhoon Yolanda) in the Philippines, in order to bring back the esteem and morale of the orphans who lost their families and homes.

Multiple-time Grammy award winner Bruno Mars’ success as a solo artist does not stop him from continuing to collaborate with his friends as a featured guest artist.  Mark Ronson’s latest, 2016’s “Uptown Funk” recalls the early days of funk of the 1960’s, 1970s and the 1980s from Motown to James Brown to Parliament to George Clinton to The Gap Band to early King of Pop, Michael Jackson.  These are the musical ingredients that bring all walks of life together into the 21st century.

 

 

 

– Written by Edwin Santos, 9/17/16

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