The Big Q&A: Bruno Mars Talks Pop Ascension, Damian Marley Collabo, His Song For Nicki Minaj

Bruno Mars didn’t just pop up out of nowhere. The 23-year-old Hawaii-born singer-songwriter who got his stage name from wrestler Bruno Sammartino has been singing since age 2 (on stage with his dad’s band, the Lovenotes) and on his songwriting grind since age 17. All the apprenticing paid off. Bruno’s “Just The Way You Are” sits at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Not to mention, he’s built a rapid buzz thanks to his charming hooks on some pretty big pop songs—B.o.B.’s chart-topper “Nothing On You” and Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire”—plus a co-writing credit for Cee-Lo’s viral smash, “Fuck You.”

Everything is on the upswing for Bruno. (Almost everything. He was officially charged on Saturday with cocaine possession after being arrested in Los Angeles). With his debut album, Doowops & Hooligans, dropping today (Oct. 5), the singer chats with VIBE on his way to a radio interview in Long Island about his rise to the top, the difficulty pinning down his sound, the song he wish he produced and the one he’s got for Nicki Minaj. Clover Hope (Twitter: @VIBE_Clove)

VIBE: How did you celebrate having the No. 1 song in the country with Just “The Way You Are”?

Bruno Mars: Stayed in my hotel room and ordered a movie [laughs]. Doesn’t it sound exciting?  

What movie was it?

I think it was Get Him To The Greek. Of course, I made a couple phone calls to Momma and to everybody at home—everything that had to deal with the song—to congratulate them. You kinda never know what to expect. We just write songs and cross our fingers. And No. 1 is so hard, because you gotta think, I’m up against Eminem and Rihanna, and these are guys that have been doing it for years—monsters in the game—and little ol’ Bruno Mars just climbed his way up there.

What’s been the toughest part about making your first album?

Not over-thinking it. A lot of times when I work with other artists, it turns into a jam session, and those normally work out the best because you’re just going off pure feeling. It’s easy to be like, “Today, I’m gonna write a song that’s gonna change the world,” and it becomes shit and that was the wackest song you ever wrote. It’s really just going in the studio with an open, clear mind.

What is the wackest song you ever wrote?

I wrote a song called “Bedroom Bandit.” I don’t know what I was on. I was in the studio, and it wasn’t for me. It was for a hip-hop artist, and you know… By the title alone, you can tell it was pretty corny.

Did the success of “Nothin’ On You” serve as a jumping off point for you to work with other artists, or did you already have those connections?

I’ve produced for artists like K’Naan and Brandy—a bunch of acts. But I guess “Nothin’ On You” was the real hit. That was the first time I think people heard my voice. And that’s kinda our sound. Sonically, that kinda established our sound as the Smeezingtons [He and his production partner Phil Lawrence].

You definitely have a very unique voice.

Yeah? There’s no Alvin & The Chipmunks [sound]? Well, good. [Laughs]

Would you consider your music emo?

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Kanye West, EMI Working Towards Private Settlement

Kanye West and EMI could be close to settling their legal drama. Each party filed documents requesting a stay of the case to “explore the potential for a resolution,” The Blast reports.

West sued EMI in an effort to “gain freedom” from his contract, and to own his publishing. In the lawsuit, ‘Ye argued that his contract ended in 2010 under California law, which bars entertainers from being tethered to an agreement for more than seven years. The multi-Grammy winner, who signed the deal back in 2003, also accused the company of slavery because the contract doesn’t allow him to retire.

“Even if the contract were not lopsided in EMI’s favor (it is), even if its terms valued Mr. West’s artistic contributions in line with the spectacular success he has achieved for EMI (they do not), and even if EMI had not underpaid Mr. West what it owes him (EMI has), he would be entitled to be set free from its bonds,” the lawsuit reads.

EMI hit back with a countersuit filed in New York, instead of California. The suit pointed out that the 41-year-old rapper signed multiple contract extensions, in addition to accepting millions in advances.

According to The Blast, West and EMI now feel that putting a hold on the legal proceedings will be beneficial to both sides “and the Court by enabling the parties to engage in meaningful discussions in an attempt to resolve this action without having to incur the burden and expense of litigation and motion practice.”

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Megan Thee Stallion Mourns Loss Of Her Mother

According to a recent post on Megan Thee Stallion's Instagram account, her mother, Holly Thomas, has passed away.

The rapper revealed the news of her mother's death in an Instagram post on Friday (March 22), publishing a photo of herself with "the strongest woman on the planet."

"The best mom in the whole world," she wrote. "...I can't even put complete sentences together rn RIP mama."

The best mom in the whole world. The strongest woman on the planet. I can’t even put complete sentences together rn RIP mama

A post shared by Hot Girl Meg (@theestallion) on Mar 22, 2019 at 10:49am PDT

Just like the Tina Snow artist, Thomas was a rapper who went by the name of Holly-Wood. With no doubt that her lyrical abilities rubbed off on her daughter, Thomas refused to let the "Tina Montana" emcee rap professionally until she turned 21. Beyond their bond, Megan Thee Stallion's mother doubled as her first assistant and manager.

In VIBE's NEXT feature, the 24-year-old artist revisited the moments her mother listened to her music. “Sometimes when we’re in the studio, I get her so hyped that she’s like, ‘Megan, I’m about to get in the booth and come out with another mixtape,’” she said.

There are currently no reports stating the cause of death.

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A 7,62X39mm round sits next a a 30 round magazine and an AK-47 with a bump stock installed at Good Guys Gun and Range on February 21, 2018 in Orem, Utah. The bump stock is a device when installed allows a semi-automatic to fire at a rapid rate much like a fully automatic gun. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

Teachers Will Be Allowed To Carry Firearms In New Florida School Bill

A new bill has been approved by the Florida House committee that would allow the arming of teachers in classrooms.

The Sun-Sentinel reports the bill, gives educators the option to carry weapons on school grounds. The legislation was made following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year. It also indicates that educators must have the approval of the school board before carrying a weapon school grounds.

For the teachers who volunteer, they are required to pass a psychological test as well as a drug test, participate in 144 hours of firearms training, and hold a valid concealed weapon permit.

The law was passed on Thursday (March 21) and advocates of the legislation believe that it would work to make the school safer while critics of the law have rejected it and do not feel as though teachers should play the role of law enforcement personnel in these schools. The main proponent for the legislation, as the Sun-Sentinel reported, Republican Rep. Jennifer Sullivan of Eustis advocated strongly for the law.

"The more people that are there to defend students, to defend other teachers, the better. If a teacher does not want to go through the program, I don't want them to go through the program." On the other side of the spectrum, Democratic Rep. Susan Valdes of Tampa had this to say, "teachers want to teach children and broaden children's minds. If they wanted to be a cop, they would have gone to the police academy and become a cop."

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