Bruno Mars, Just The Way You Are

What is about a fedora that makes a man look like he knows what he is doing? And what is it about Bruno Mars that makes us sing-along to love songs despite our romantic cynicism? While in studio with Carson Daly this morning, we discovered exactly what “it” is.

Donning his indispensable fedora and a pair of worn-in black and white spats, [lastfm]Bruno Mars[/lastfm] has the cheeky swagger of a 1930s gangster kid, the laid-back calm of a cool jazz cat perched at his piano, and a soft, scratchy voice as relaxing as a hammock nap in Hawaii.

Nothing about Mars is forced or awkward; as he nonchalantly lounged on his stool in the AMP radio studio, we could see how much he genuinely enjoyed being present in the moment.

Listening to his own music, thinking about his next project, answering questions posed by Carson on what it was like to blow up overnight; Mars is seemingly an artist that hasn’t let fame take away his overall appreciation for life and for those who have helped him on his journey.

Perhaps Bruno Mars’ unrestrained attitude comes from his many years of being a working musician in Waikiki on the serene, tropical island of Honolulu.

Or it could be that his experience as the opening act for a magician has educated him on how to give the illusion of calm, cool, and collected: “I’ve been a working musician for a very long time. And you know, I used to open up for a magic show…like a circus freak.”

Having the #1 song on the Billboard Top 100 charts is definitely better than being the hapless victim of a misplaced magician’s saw, but Bruno Mars is thankful for anyone in his life that has contributed to his success.

Daly intelligently pinpointed that Mars is at the “pinnacle of his career,” mentioning his hit collaborations with [lastfm]B.O.B[/lastfm] on “Nothing on You” and [lastfm]Travie McCoy[/lastfm] on Billionaire,” and asked “At what point, did you say: listen, I don’t need these guys, I should just do this myself.”

Mars answered in his humble manner:

“You know what, man? I did need those guys. I owe a lot to them for introducing me. You know, not at any point were they like, “Let’s get a bigger name to sing this record so it has a better chance.” I think everyone was just like, “This feels good. Let’s let this Mars kid do something”…we knew in the studio that it feels good, that’s all we can do. You know, I work at a little studio right down the street, and we just come up with these songs. We never know if radio is going to love it and if the world is gonna sing along. But we know what we like.”

Even to music lovers that don’t keep current with popular radio trends, Bruno Mars is a skilled song-writer and musician. Carson Daly went so far as to compare Mars’ personal advantages to those of the infamous, but multi-talented producer, [lastfm]Kanye West[/lastfm]. Mars credited some of his skill to the musicians he’s been lucky enough to work for:

“Oh, yeah, because I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some great artists: [lastfm]Cee-lo[/lastfm], B.O.B and Travie. And I’m learning from them–just as much as I’m producing–I’m learning from all these cats and…knowledge is power.”

Mars has worn many hats in the music industry, but the one that was weighing most on Daly’s mind was the felt, feathered fedora Mars was donning this morning: “I like your hats. How many hats do you own?…Where’s your favorite hat store?”

Mars, laughing, gave his fashion tips and a big ups to our favorite budget, pimp-popular shopping venue: “Umm, a few [hats]…you know what, if you go down to Slauson Swap Meet…you gotta go to these little pimp stores…you can get some three-piece suits, some chains.”

Not only does Bruno Mars give a tip of the hat to [lastfm]Michael Jackson[/lastfm] with what tops his head, but also with what tops the charts. Noticing this, Carson Daly asked Mars how much Jackson has inspired Mars’ style. Mars answered enthusiastically:

“He’s the best! You know, I remember seeing a Michael Jackson concert in Hawaii when he came down…I think it was the History tour…and he ruined it for me. Like, I can’t go see another concert because you are watching this dude who’s dancing like he’s not human. He’s singing some of the greatest songs of pop-culture (and he’s got them all), and then the stage blows up. So, I don’t know what kid wasn’t wearing a glove and moon walking in his living room if he was my age.”

Playing a Michael Jackson-esque Mars single called “Grenade”  off of Doo-wops and Hooligans, Daly asked Mars how he came up with his song ideas, specifically for the heart-melting love song, “Just The Way You Are.” Mars gave us a little peak into how he creates a song:

“Well, you know, I’m a big fan of just classic love songs. I’m a big fan of songs that are straight to the point. And, “Just The Way You Are,” there’s nothing really lyrically mind-blowing in the song but I think it’s saying something that songs aren’t saying these days…just telling a girl she’s beautiful.”

Carson Daly joked that “it’s the angels in heaven…it’s the angels singing.” He may have joked around, but we think Daly has a valid point. There is something about Bruno Mars’ energy–and his music–that transcends reality.

Whether it’s heaven-sent or just good genes, Mars radiates a kind of blessed charm that makes us believe that he would really love us ” just the way we are.”

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