While other artists may have grabbed headlines for their antics in 2013, Bruno Mars kept his head down and focused on touring, supporting his album, Unorthodox Jukebox, and releasing hit singles. By December, after Billboard crunched the numbers, the man born Peter Hernandez ended up -- to the surprise of many -- as the #1 Artist of the Year.
Things got off on the right foot with Bruno in January. As the year began, "Locked Out of Heaven" was on top of the chart, and spent a total of six weeks at #1. Three more singles followed: another #1, "When I Was Your Man," plus the top-10 retro groove "Treasure," and the sexy "Gorilla," which went top 30. Meanwhile, Unorthodox Jukebox, which had debuted at #2 in December of 2012, finally reached #1 in March, and continued to sell, remaining in the top 20 right up until September of 2013. To date, it's moved just under two million copies.
Bruno kicked off his Moonshine Jungle world tour June 22 in Washington. So far it's grossed over $46 million, ranking among Billboard's top 25 tours of the year. More dates are planned in 2014, starting in Australia and New Zealand, and then moving on to Asia, Mexico and North America. Bruno said that the tour was his personal highlight of 2013. However, a few weeks before it started, Bruno experienced the one low point of the year: the unexpected death of his beloved mom, Bernadette Hernadez, who passed away from a brain aneurysm. She was only 55. Footage of his mom was later featured in The Lylas, a reality show starring his four singing sisters.
Bruno also made several high-profile appearances on award shows in 2013, including a February performance slot at the Grammys which saw him duetting with Sting on "Locked Out of Heaven" and then "Walking on the Moon" by Sting's former band, The Police. Critics had noted the similarity between Bruno's hit and the classic sound of the Police, so it was a match made in Grammy heaven.
In addition, Bruno debuted his single "Treasure" on the Billboard Music Awards in May, and his single "Gorilla" on the MTV Video Music Awards in August. He also took home the trophy for Best Male Video for "Locked Out of Heaven." Subsequently, at the MTV Europe Awards, he won the trophy for Best Song.
In early December, Bruno earned four Grammy nominations, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year for "Locked Out of Heaven," Best Pop Solo Performance for "When I Was Your Man," and Best Pop Vocal Album for Unorthodox Jukebox. Bruno will close out 2014 with a New Year's Eve show at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas; he'll perform several mini-residencies there throughout the year, interspersed with more Moonshine Jungle tour dates.
And in February, the world's eyes will be on Bruno as he takes the stage in New Jersey -- possibly in the middle of a blizzard -- to rock the halftime show at the Super Bowl.
"My dream was to not get a day job but to sleep, wake up and do my music," Bruno told Billboard for its year-end issue. "And hopefully, my music does all the talking. I want to keep that dream forever. That's it. That's what I love to do."
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