Bruno Mars is in a playful mood. He's upbeat — a little hyperactive, even. And who can blame him? Having spent the past two years talking about and performing music from his debut album, 2010's Doo-Wops & Hooligans, he finally has new songs to share. His second record, Unorthodox Jukebox, is about to be released and his excitement is palpable. Either that or the giant Starbucks coffee in front of him has just begun to really kick in.
Of course, this time around, there's just the teensiest bit of pressure. Although Mars had already written and featured on two enormous hits before the release of Doo-Wops & Hooligans (B.o.B's Nothin' on You and Travie McCoy's Billionaire), few could have predicted just how huge his album would end up being. It sold more than six million copies worldwide (and was the third biggest-selling album in the UK last year), it spawned three number-one singles (Just the Way You Are, Grenade and The Lazy Song) and he has been showered with nominations and awards, not least a total of 13 Grammy nods and one Brit Award for 'Best International Male'.
He even made Time magazine's '100 Most Influential People in the World' last year, and became just the 10th man ever to grace the cover of Playboy. Not bad for a 27-year-old from Hawaii who began his career as an Elvis impersonator (he may have been two years old at the time, but still, that's quite a journey).
His record company must have high hopes for the album, but if the global superstar is in any way anxious, he's certainly not showing it. "I really feel so strong about it — If you don't like it, then there's nothing I can do," he laughs.
Indeed, it has already begun to make waves. The debut single Locked Out of Heaven, a funky Police-esque number, went in at number two when it was released (it was only kept off the top spot by that pesky One Direction). The song also introduced us to a racier, grittier Mars.
"I'm gonna be singing Just the Way You Are and Grenade to the day I die. I already have those. I wanted to try something new," he explains of the new record. "I'm 27 and, you know, I want to sing about new things and I want to experiment with my music."
Bruno Mars was born Peter Hernandez, to a musical family in Honolulu, Hawaii. Of Puerto Rican, Filipino and Jewish heritage, he was one of six children.