Bruno Mars will be locked out of Heaven next week… And, he’ll live to sing about it.
In this week’s Billboard magazine cover story, the 26-year-old part-Puerto Rican singer-songwriter discusses his highly anticipated sophomore album, which will be titled Unorthodox Jukebox, as well as the album’s energetic first single, “Locked Out of Heaven,” which debuts digitally and on the radio on October 1.
“This is me going into the studio and recording and writing whatever I want,” Mars says confidently. “This album represents my freedom.”
The follow-up to Mars’ Grammy-winning Doo-Wops & Hooligans is an eclectic set that includes production from Mark Ronson (Amy Winehouse), Jeff Bhasker (Beyonce), Emile Haynie (Eminem), Diplo (M.I.A., Usher) and Supa Dups (John Legend, Doo-Woops & Hooligans) as well as the Smeezingtons, Mars’ songwriting and production team. The talented trio executive-produced and co-wrote Unorthodox Jukebox, an album Mars says doesn’t “pick a lane.”
“I’ve had big record label presidents look me in the face and say, ‘Your music sucks, you don’t know who you are, your music is all over the place, and we don’t know how to market this stuff. Pick a lane and come back to us,'” he says. “That was disgusting to me, because I’m not trying to be a circus act.”
Mars says he refused to let himself get boxed in to a specific genre during the recoding process.
“I listen to a lot of music,” says Mars, who recently showed his comedic chops in a hilarious FunnyorDie.com video, “and I want to have the freedom and luxury to walk into a studio and say, ‘Today I want to do a hip-hop, R&B, soul or rock record.'”
Mars’ debut album, released in October 2010, debuted and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and spawned four Hot 100 hits: the Grammy-winning “Just the Way You Are” (No. 1), “Grenade” (No. 1), “The Lazy Song” (No. 4) and “Marry You” (No. 85). The album has sold 1.7 million in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.
His other top 10s include “It Will Rain” (No. 4) from the Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 soundtrack, and he was a featured artist on B.o.B‘s “Nothin’ On You” (No. 1), Travie McCoy‘s “Billionaire” (No. 4), Bad Meets Evil‘s “Lighters” (No. 4) and Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa‘s “Young, Wild & Free” (No. 7).
Unorthodox Jukebox is set for a December 11 release on Atlantic Records, according to Billboard.
Here’s a look at the albums track list (in no particular order):
“Locked Out of Heaven”
“When I Was Your Man”
“Money Makes Her Smile”
“If I Knew”