LOS ANGELES – Filipino American singer Bruno Mars has won a Grammy Award in Los Angeles for best male pop vocal performance for his romantic ballad “Just the Way You Are,” a song which became popular last year.
Mars, 25, whose real name is Peter Gene Hernandez who was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, meanwhile, avoided jail in connection with cocaine possession charge after he pleaded guilty under a plea bargain agreement with a Las Vegas judge.
Under the agreement, instead of being incarcerated, he was to be on probation and would go into community service and drug counseling.
He appeared in a Las Vegas court accompanied by his lawyer Blair Berk who pleaded guilty to cocaine possession for him.
His court appearance came one day after he announced a North American tour in May with R&B singer Janelle Monae.
Earlier in April, Bruno will hold a concert at the Mall of Asia in Manila and at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu.
Mars was arrested in September in a bathroom at the Hard Rock Hotel with a bag of cocaine, according to a police report.
Under the plea deal, Mars was placed on 12 months probation, given a $2,000 fine, 200 hours community service and ordered to attend drug counseling.
“He is going to stay out of trouble for 12 months,” Berk told the judge. If Mars does not slip up, the cocaine possession charge will be dismissed from his record in a year’s time, according to a GMA News report.
Mars had a breakthrough year in 2010 with hits “Just the Way You Are” and “Grenade.”
The talented and popular Filipino-American singer-songwriter-producer will have a live performance in Cebu and Manila on April 7-8.
Bruno Mars’ meteoric rise continued in 2010 when his song entitled “Grenade” which he composed, hit at the top of the Billboard’s Hot 100 and still there to date.
“Grenade is the no. 1 song in the country. What a way to end my year! Thank you all for giving me the greatest year of my life,” Bruno said on his website.
In just one week “Grenade” sold over 500,000 copies.
All Bruno’s songs were nominated at the Teen Choice, BET Hip Hop and MTV awards in the U.S.
For his sterling performance in 2010, has been nominated for seven Grammys as a recording star, songwriter and record producer.
“Indeed, Bruno is one of the hottest stars in pop music today. He is the first male act in over 13 years to take his first two charting radio singles as a lead artist to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. In fact, Mars is the biggest act to come out of Hawaii in almost 40 years, according to the Honolulu Star Advertiser, which featured him in its cover recently. ‘No artist from Hawaii has hit the national charts harder straight out of the box since Bette Midler went platinum with her debut album, The Divine Miss M, and won the Grammy Award for best new artist in 1973,’” said the Star-Advertiser.
The New York Times has called Bruno Mars “one of the most versatile and accessible singers in pop, with a light, soul-influenced voice that’s an easy fit in a range of styles, a universal donor.”
Bruno’s Filipina mother, Bernadette “Bernie” Hernandez is a vocalist and his Puerto Rican father, Pete is an “incredible percussionist” who has a band.
He got his nickname Bruno after the famous Italian-American wrestling world champion Bruno Sammartino, one of the best and strongest wrestlers of all time. His father was an avid fan of Sammartino.
How he got the name Mars, he said: “I felt like I didn’t have no pizzazz, and a lot of girls say I’m out of this world, so I was like I guess I’m from Mars.”
Recalling his childhood, Bruno said: “Growing up in Hawaii made me the man I am. I used to do a lot of shows in Hawaii with my father’s band. Everybody in my family sings, everyone plays instruments.”
Mars started singing at the age of four by impersonating Elvis Presley and was featured by MidWeek newspaper as “Little Elvis” that landed him in camaeo role in the film “Honeymoon in Vegas” in 1992.
By that time, Bruno Mars was impersonating Michael Jackson.
Bruno graduated from high school in 2003 from President Theodore Roosevelt High School before he moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue a singing career.
His sister, Jamie helped him make initial contacts with Motown.
“Through Motown I just started building different relationships, and while I was signed with them I met Philip Lawrence,” who convinced him to try song writing.
They called themselves “Smeezingtons” and co-wrote Long Distance, which was recorded in 2008 by R&B singer Brandy.
More offers arrived after that, but it wasn’t until 2009 did Bruno Mars put his name on top of the charts in 2009 by co-writing Flo Rida’s hit song Right Round.
“By 2010, Mars seemed to be everywhere: singing alongside B.o.B on the chart-topping Nothin’ on You, and co-writing Travie McCoy’s Billionaire, both of which became Top Ten hits. Mars used that momentum to launch a solo career, quickly becoming the first male vocalist in two decades to crack the Top Ten with his first four singles.
“Following this success, Mars released his debut extended play (EP), titled It’s Better If You Don’t Understand, on May 11, 2010. The EP peaked at the ninety-ninth position on the Billboard 200 and produced one single: The Other Side, featuring rappers Cee Lo Green and B.o.B.”
“Mars’ debut album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, was released on October 5, 2010. The lead single, Just the Way You Are, was released on July 19, 2010, and quickly reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100.”
Bruno’s dream is to visit the Philippines, his homeland, and that will come on April 7 and 8 when he performs at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City and at the Mall of Asia Concert Ground in Pasay City to entertain his countrymen with his songs he composed.