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Bruno Mars: The Private Anxiety of a Pop Perfectionist



bruno mars pop perfectionist

The last time Bruno Mars dropped an album was December 2012 – four years ago, an eternity for a pop star. He’s surfed the intervening years like a pro, with two Super Bowl halftime performances, not to mention the biggest-selling song of the past few years, his collaboration with Mark Ronson, “Uptown Funk.” But it’s been so long since Mars made an actual album that he kind of forgot how it all works: the doubts; the endless tweaking and re-tweaking; the cigarettes. “We’re at the point now where we’re losing our minds,” he says. “My engineer’s going crazy; he wants to kill me. This process is just such a weird process. Sitting in this freezing-ass-cold box trying to come up with songs.”

“Uptown Funk” cemented Mars’ superstar status. But if you thought the song’s runaway success would be a confidence-booster, Mars maintains the opposite: It was actually kind of paralyzing. “Coming off the biggest song of my career, it was super-daunting to come in here,” he says. His insecurity has him second-guessing everything. “I don’t know if people are going to love this shit,” 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.'”

But on the other hand … this is Bruno Mars. Six Number One singles. Thirty combined weeks at the top of the chart (44 if you count “Uptown”). Two albums, 26 million in sales worldwide, four Grammys and counting. So when you ask him if he’s usually right when it comes to these things – if he has pretty good instincts for what makes a song a hit or not – he can’t help but swag out. “I don’t know,” Mars says, flashing a smile. “Google me. Do I?”

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