There’s no denying that Bruno Mars is one of the hottest names in music right now but in a new interview with GQ magazine, the 27-year-old confesses that it might not have been that way if he had pursued his music career with the name he was born with: Peter Hernández.
“Your last name’s Hernandez, maybe you should do this Latin music, this Spanish music,” Mars recalled hearing as a teen as he began to make the rounds of music labels in Los Angeles, California. “Enrique’s so hot right now,” was another response he frequently heard.
But Hawaii native didn’t want to be labeled a Latin artist, so he changed his name to Bruno – a nickname given to him in childhood because he allegedly looked like wrestler Bruno Sammartino – and adopted the last name Mars, after the faraway planet.
Born to a Puerto Rican-Jewish father and Filipino mother, Mars has been a musician for nearly as long as he can remember. And one of his earliest gigs might just be among his most famous: at the age of four he made his mark on stage impersonating Elvis Presley in a variety show his father and uncle ran.
“I don’t remember much,” the singer-songwriter told the men’s magazine. “I probably couldn’t even speak that much.”
“There’s few things that take my mind off of music, and I’ve found just sitting down and looking at cards does that,” said Mars, who wears his trademark retro, fitted suit on the cover of GQ’s April issue. And while the Grammy Award winner now owns a house in the posh Hollywood Hills area of Los Angeles, he says that he intends to eventually head back to his island roots and retire in Hawaii.
“On a beach, drinking out of a coconut, watching some kids running around in the sand, looking at the ocean,” said Mars.
“And then planning a reunion tour, overweight.”