Bruno Mars has that distinctive light-lyric tenor voice that is relaxing to listen to. Its range is from C3-D5-C6, and he sports that retro style of singing, which endears him to his fans. Moreover, Mars possesses that huge voice that makes him not a Spinto tenor. He also mixes his dominant chest voice with a throaty placement to produce a specific distortion and harsh sounding voice.
This technique makes him not a Spinto tenor, and this confuses keen listeners, hoping they would hear a more graceful lyric voice.
Of course, he does not use that patented technique used by those who have a lyric voice to make him sound lighter and brighter. Yet, he makes a confounding rendition of his real voice with his style, making it distinctively recognizable.
Is He a Full-lyric or Light-lyric Tenor?
The classical way of classifying voice makes use of weight and output. Bruno makes his voice seem more massive with his singing style than his real voice. So, people mistake his voice to be a full-lyric tenor because of his throaty voice placement. If he is a full-lyric tenor, his voice should sound more mature and darker than a light-lyric tenor.
Of course, light-lyric tenor sounds brighter and youthful, which matches Bruno’s voice far more. However, if he doesn’t do the throaty placement, he will reveal his true voice and its actual brightness. His habit of mixing chest voice and throaty vocal placement provides his voice with that youthful quality that differentiates it from full-lyric tenor.
Experientially, his voice would be a mess with his bad vocal technique. Yet, it still sounds as refreshing and sonorous as it was before. Its wide range that runs up to 5th-octave belts is also remarkable.
His Musical Styles
Bruno Mars boasts of a wide range of influences, him being a hybrid of cultures and races. As he stated in September 2012, when asked about his next album, he said that it would be a musical variety, insinuating that he didn’t want to be boxed in a single music genre. So, his next album, according to him, would include hip-hop, soul, rock, and R&B.
His musical influences, as mentioned above, are wide-ranging. Hence, these influences show themselves in his song arrangements and styles, characterized by a tinge of disco, rock, reggae, funk, soul, and even balladry. His songs are also characterized by feel-good and optimistic sentiments, although his songs also tackle darker ideas and subjects.
Each new album brings in a hodgepodge of influences that makes each album worth awaiting. Mars’ Doo-Wops & Hooligans album, for example, comes with pop and R&B colors, while the 24K Magic album is a hybrid of Soul, R&B, pop, and punk, with new jack swing.
Distinctive Vocal Capabilities and Singing Techniques
One outstanding characteristic of Bruno Mars’s voice is his ability to sing live without sounding different from the studio’s recorded version. He also has the charisma and musical skills that he readily applies in his performances. Of course, his singing may not be that perfect, yet he has that clean consistency and effortless style that endears him to fans.
A band backs up Bruno Mars that he calls Hooligans. This band includes a bassist, guitarist, drummer, a horn section, and a keyboardist.
So-called critics and experts say that the live performance and the recorded versions of their songs vary relative to the musical arrangements onstage. Well, recorded instrumentals, based on my experience, are truly hard to replicate in the live performance.
You would see choreographed dancing arrangements that feature synchronized footwork during Bruno Mars’ live performances, reminiscent of the disco era. Moreover, his shows also include strobe, laser lighting, and pyrotechnics to make his performances more spectacular.
Nevertheless, one distinguishing factor that makes Bruno Mars famous is his excellent and melodic songs that are easy to sing along with and cool to listen to.
Chest Belting Technique
One distinct characteristic of Bruno Mars’ vocal technique is his belting from the chest. However, he doesn’t solely belt from the chest but mixes it with throat placement and head tone just like what he did in Gorilla. However, overall, it seems that he overdoes it. Nevertheless, his latest renditions of his songs seem a bit darker and less youthful.
His technique is not ideal, and it is taxing to the vocal cords, especially if it is not natural or well-supported by his breath.
Additionally, Bruno Mars may be capable of belts up to C5-D5 using his full chest voice. His lowest note might be around F#2-G#2. Moreover, he could belt higher than Bb4.
Bruno Mars seems to be using his upper register while mixing it with his chest voice. He does this to avoid sounding light and airy like a falsetto. He might be lowering his voice box intentionally to sound more grounded because his voice is naturally high and light.
Bruno Mars’s Journey To Become A Famous Singer
Sometime around 2004, Bruno Mars (Peter Gene Hernandez) signed up with Motown Records, hoping to breach the wall to fame and jumpstart his music career as a recording artist. Yet, the deal did not give him that needed break. It would take him another six years before he got that needed big break as a solo artist in 2010.
Mars had to work out his way, producing and songwriting until his big break came with B.o.B’s Nothin’ on You and Billionaire by Travis McCoys. Soon after, there is no stopping Bruno Mars.
So, what makes Bruno Mars successful? Is it his exceptional voice? Is it his remarkable “never-give-up” attitude that set him to stardom? Or is it his extraordinary creativity in making songs that catapulted him to fame? Well, his voice, for sure, has something to do with his popularity, and for this reason, we will attempt to analyze his vocal range and singing styles.
How Bruno Mars Developed His Singing Career?
The musical inclination of Bruno Mars was rooted in his family. His father is a percussionist and a certified musician of Puerto Rican descent. Moreover, his mom has a pleasant voice being a singer and a dancer. Besides, he grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, and started performing with his parents at an early age of 4.
Because of the diverse musical backgrounds of his parents, he was early on introduced to various music genres that included hip hop, reggae, rock, and R&B. Mars’ uncle was also an Elvis impersonator and a significant factor in his musical inclinations. So, early on, Mars also impersonated Elvis and later Michael Jackson.
During his high school days, Bruno Mars had formed a band called School Boys, which performed alongside the family of Bruno Mars in one of the hotels in Honolulu. After his parents divorced and after he graduated from high school, he soon moved to Los Angeles, USA.
His early years in LA were not smooth. He encountered many frustrations as the takeoff of his career stalled, for he did not get the needed break. So, he focused on producing songs for other artists to make his time useful.
He patiently and slowly got acquainted with many people involved in music, until he got the needed break in 2009 when he featured in the single Nothing On You, rendering his voice on the chorus. The song reached Billboard singles chart’s no. 1.
In October 2010, he released his Doo-wops & Hooligans Album, which reached Billboard Album Charts’ no. 3. This album contained hits like Just the Way You Are and The Lazy Song.
Soon after, he got his first Grammy Award as Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for his song Just The Way You Are. He also received six nominations. However, in 2012, he lost all his six nominations to the Awards to Adele. Yet, after that time, there is no stopping the popularity of Bruno Mars.
His next album was the Unorthodox Jukebox, which has ten songs. He also got involved in touring worldwide. Mars even performed at the halftime show of the Super Bowl XLVIII along with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. In 2015, he produced 24K Magic, his third album.
Up to the present, Mars continues to be a prolific songwriter, producer, and a musical collaborator with other artists, and no doubt, Bruno Mars is one of the most prolific and greatest artists of the decade. His talents and influences are diverse, and his music is never confined to a specific genre of music.
Many aspiring artists are taking a cue from the life of Bruno Mars and want to follow his footsteps. However, the road to stardom for Bruno Mars wasn’t smooth. Yet, his perseverance and determination to break onto the music scene made him realize his dreams.
His setbacks and frustrations only made him more determined to make a name for himself in the music industry. His voice may not be a perfect one with the widest range. Yet, his determination, coupled with his desire to enhance his talents, made him what he is nowadays.