Bruno Mars is well known worldwide and that’s not just because of his multi-platinum selling singles and albums. His performances live have been critically acclaimed by fans around the world and was even placed at number 35 on Rolling Stones “50 Best Live Acts Right Now” list.
But before the talented musician became known worldwide, he was struggling to make ends meet especially when he moved to L.A. from Hawaii in order to achieve his dream. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly (excerpt question below), Mars talked about his starting struggles.
Q: In L.A. a lot the bus boys and waitresses are aspiring superstars. Did you have a regular job before you hit it big?
A: Yeah. I couldn’t pay rent. I’d always been a working musician in Hawaii and never had problems paying rent. And then it’s like, “Now I’m in L.A. and my phone’s getting shut off.” That’s when reality hit. I started DJing. It was something silly. I told this person I could DJ because they said they could pay me $75 cash under the table. I didn’t know how to DJ. I lost that job pretty quick.
After struggling for four hardworking years, his slight spotlight came in the form of ‘Nothin’ Like You’ a collaboration with American rapper B.o.B. The songs major success prompted Mars’ label to quickly have him release a debut album and new single. ‘Just The Way You Are’ then became his major debut stepping stone. His debut album conquered worldwide charts as well, and this became his successful outlet.
In 2013, Rolling Stone stamped him with the phrase “Pop’s Golden Child”. This all made sense because by this time, he already had his sophomore album (Unorthodox Jukebox) effort out which sold another 6 million copies worldwide. Six #1 Billboard Hits later and Mars officially passed the 100 million records sold mark.
You could say this was sweet revenge towards an unnamed music industry decision maker, that according to Mars, rejected his song (‘Nothin’ On You’) because of his race. When doing a radio interview with Y101 FM, he continued on to say that the experience made him feel like a “mutant” and he says that was his “lowest point”.
“Even with that song in my back pocket to seal the deal, things like that are coming out of people’s mouths. It made me feel like I wasn’t even in the room”
While on the Ellen Show, he made an inspiring speech referring to the many obstacles that kept getting in his way of achieving what he wanted in life, and that was to be a successful musician who inspired people around the world:
“Listen, any young aspiring musicians out there. If music is what you want do, if music is what you love and your passion – it doesn’t take a fragrance, it’s not about the tabloids, it’s about you putting in the work, practicing every day, practicing your vocals, practicing your instrument, practicing songwriting, and hopefully one day you write the song you know, the whole world wants to get down too. And I promise you, I promise you, one day you’re gonna have your moment to shine”
With honest words comes honest wisdom, and Bruno Mars has showed throughout his own journey, that these kinds of obstacles only make you stronger as a person. Whatever industry you want to succeed in, never forget why you’re doing what you’re doing. This not only requires untapped confidence, but a thick skin and a “never giving up” mentality. You just have to believe. And as cliche as that might sound, it’s the winning ticket to winning personal happiness and personal gratitude.