Bruno Mars knows his music history. That's clear from listening to any one of his chart-topping tracks. There's no doubt the pop icon, who is of Puerto Rican descent, is heavily influenced by hip hop and R&B - and that's something he would be the first to tell you.
In fact, that's exactly what he said in a new interview with Latina magazine.
Mars pays homage to the many genres, styles and sounds that make up "Black music," saying that it's as American as apple pie.
“When you say ‘black music,’ understand that you are talking about rock, jazz, R&B, reggae, funk, doo-wop, hip-hop, and Motown. Black people created it all. Being Puerto Rican, even salsa music stems back to the Motherland [Africa]. So, in my world, black music means everything," he said. Adding, "It’s what gives America its swag. I’m a child raised in the ‘90s. Pop music was heavily rooted in R&B from Whitney, Diddy, Dr. Dre, Boyz II Men, Aaliyah, TLC, Babyface, New Edition, Michael, and so much more. As kids this is what was playing on MTV and the radio. This is what we were dancing to at school functions and BBQs. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for these artists who inspired me. They have brought me so much joy and created the soundtrack to my life filled with memories that I'll never forget.
"Most importantly," he continued. "They were the superstars that set the bar for me and showed me what it takes to sing a song that can get the whole world dancing, or give a performance that people will talk about forever. Watching them made me feel like I had to be as great as they were in order to even stand a chance in this music business. You gotta sing as if Jodeci is performing after you and dance as if Bobby Brown is coming up next.”
See how New Edition inspired Bruno Mars and more with BET Breaks, above.