You’ve probably only just managed to get “Uptown Funk” out of your head — and now the star of 2014’s catchiest track is back. Bruno Mars, 31, follows up the Mark Ronson-led megahit and his Grammy Award-winning album “Unorthodox Jukebox,” with “24K Magic.” The Hawaii-bred singer-songwriter chats about his new ’90s-sounding R&B album and why he wishes people would leave their phones at home.
You seem to have the Midas touch when it comes to music…
I have had a long road with many sacrifices and I’m enjoying every moment of my career. Nothing has come for free — I’ve been through bad times. I’m grateful for this moment of success, but that will only continue if I stay on track in a disciplined and orderly way. Remember that not everything that shines is gold. [Laughs]
How are you describing the sound of “24K Magic”?
I had many ideas in my head during the process of the album and [turning] them into songs was not easy. I maintained a ’90s influence and hip-hop reigns throughout the album. There’s also a song that I wrote with Babyface. It’s definitely a very danceable album.
What’s been your greatest virtue?
Being able to resist and never stop fighting. I’m always taking risks to show an evolution. From a very young age, I’ve been going against trends and despite the obstacles, I’ve been a little stubborn. Now I have the opportunity to do what I want. I’m working on the new tour; I like to surprise with visuals and choreography. I’m a musician who seeks perfection on stage and leaves the people who invested [money and time] in a ticket satisfied.
You have performed alongside some big names. Who has surprised you the most?
They have all have been great from Beyoncé to Coldplay, but who surprised me was Adele — she has something special… it’s old school. I like to do the process in the most classic way, so I enjoyed collaborating with her. We were just sitting in a huge armchair in front of a piano. Sometimes the simplest things are what leave you with the most.
Do you live a crazy life?
I am happy because I have the people who I love and I do what I like. I do not do anything that can damage what I have achieved. And it took me a lot of work for people to be interested in my music, so I cannot make mistakes that endanger my profession. Perhaps the craziest I can be is to turn into a fan when I see someone I admire.
I can tell you an anecdote with Prince. It happened in a ceremony during which I was almost in front of him. I looked at him and admired every second. Suddenly he turned to me and raised his thumb up. I was shocked, thinking that that sign was for someone who was behind me, so I never looked the other way. So I was left with the idea that that moment was mine alone.
Which musicians would you bring back to life?
Without doubt Elvis Presley, Jackie Wilson, James Brown and Michael Jackson.
Do you ever miss the past? The old school?
No, but what I really would change would be how we enjoy a concert. Before, [a concert] was going and listening to all these bands with only our ears and eyes witnesses to those moments. Today, I would do anything for everybody to leave their cell phones and cameras at home before coming out to enjoy a show. Now everyone brings their phones and wants to record everything. I would like people to come to the shows and enjoy them like in the old days. It bothers me that I have to see the most important moments on YouTube, when they were there and they did not take advantage of it. At the end of the day, I go out on stage for the public to see what I enjoy doing most in life.