It has been four years since Bruno Mars’ chart-topping sophomore record, “Unorthodox Jukebox” was released in December of 2012. But, fear not, he is back and on the cover of the latest issue of Rolling Stone, revealing the 18-month process in making his new record, dealing with his mother’s death and studio sessions with Adele.
In the time in between records, Mars has been busy. He released the biggest song of his career so far, “Uptown Funk”, with Mark Ronson, which went on to sell 12 million copies. Thanks to the song’s massive success, it was daunting for Mars to come back, telling the magazine, “I don’t know if people are going to love this s**t,” he says. “I don’t know if radio is going to play it. But what I don’t want to have happen is I put it out and say, ‘Damn it, if I’d just done this and this, maybe it would have had a shot.”
For Mars, making the new record, titled “24kMagic”, it was all about how the new songs sound in the car. “We’ve worked on songs till 3 or 4 in the morning, like, ‘This is gonna be the first single!’ – and the minute I take it to the car, it’s so obvious we were tripping,” he says. “Something happens when you roll down your window and you can hear the traffic and real noise – the way people are actually going to hear it.”
For Mars, music is a collaborative process, revealing a detailed experience working with Adele on the song “All I Ask,” which appears on her most recent record, “25.” The two went back and forth on a term in a line of the song: lovers. “We were aiming for that big, diva, ballad thing – that’s what I envisioned,” Mars says. “But ‘lovers’? I don’t know if anybody really says ‘lovers.’ ‘Yeah, we’re lovers.’ ‘This is my lover.’ I was like, ‘Should we rethink that?’ “But Adele was so gangster about it,” he says. “She was like, ‘Nope. That’s what it has to be.’ And she was right.”
He also made a cameo alongside Coldplay and Beyonce at last February’s Super Bowl halftime show, but he passed on it at first. Acknowledging he had just done the halftime show in 2014, it seemed too soon to return. But a meeting with Coldplay frontman Chris Martin made him change his mind, “‘You and Beyonce, doing ‘Uptown Funk’ – I want to be responsible for giving that gift to the world.’ That’s what he (Martin) said, in his sweet, charming, English way.”
The interview gets very personal when the subject of Mars’ mother who recently passed away comes up. “To this day, I don’t know how to handle it,” he says. “That piece of your heart is just gone forever. I don’t even know how to talk about it with you. It’s a nightmare. It’s literally a nightmare.” Admitting to struggling with processing her death and dealing with the grief, he says he knows she’s looking down on him.
“I’m confident that she’s looking down and smiling, you know?” he says. “And every time I mess up onstage, I hear her. ‘You’re flat!’ ‘You missed that move!’ ‘Tell your brother to shave his moustache!’ It’s all there.”