Bruno Mars On Damian Marley Track, Hip-Hop Influences, B.o.B.
B.o.B is on it. I’m sick that I couldn’t get Travie, but I know we’ll do something in the future again. I got Cee-Lo and Damian Marley.
How was that experience recording with Damian Marley?
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to meet him. I just wrote the song called “Liquor Store Blues.” It had this reggae vibe, and being from Hawaii—you know that’s all they play down there is Bob Marley and Damian and Stephen—when I wrote, I was like, “Man, what if we could just get Damian on this?” So we made the phone call, and he came in with open arms and destroyed it.
Did you speak to him at all?
No, I haven’t spoken to him yet, actually. He’s been on tour. He did it right after a show in Washington. But I can’t wait to see him and meet him. I think we got a couple shows lined up together.
So there’s a lot of reggae in Hawaii. What other type of music did you listen to growing up?
I went through phases. When I was younger, I was [listening to] nothing but Keith Sweat, Jodeci and R. Kelly. I swore I was gonna be in an R&B group like Jodeci. [Laughs] Of course, 1950s rock-and-roll, doo wop music, everything on Motown. Then in high school, I got into classic rock, like the Police, Zeppelin, the Beatles.
Have you always been a fan of hip-hop?
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. That’s all I dance to. [Laughs] Of course, Jay-Z. I was a big fan of The Roots growing up. I was just in love with the sound that they got, just the sound of a live band doing hip-hop. I remember when the Cody Chesnutt song came out [“The Seed”], and I was just floored. It’s not easy to [create] songs with that mixture of rock and soul and hip-hop, and there’s only a handful of them. Like “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley.
Some rap fans think B.o.B. sold out by going a little more pop. What do you think about that?
That’s fine. [Laughs] People can think whatever the hell they want. There’s always gonna be haters and people that don’t like songs and don’t like your music. We’re in the day and age where Twitter and Facebook and iTunes [has sections where] you can leave a comment, but we don’t over-think these things. We’re just tryna make music.
Do you worry about not being edgy enough?