Around here, we are big fans of Peter Gene Hernandez, the 27-year-old known to most as Bruno Mars. The pint-sized pop star wowed Saturday Night Live audiences (with help from Tom Hanks) this past weekend in his double duty as both host and musical guest. In doing so, he gave the show its best ratings since Lindsay Lohan appeared in March, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
So what's next? A brand new album, for starters. Bruno is dropping his sophomore album Unorthodox Jukebox on December 11, 2012 - his first full musical project in two years. Bruno spent almost all of that time on what was his first worldwide tour. He even shared a cool South American Tour Diary in May 2012.
We now have the first taste of what Unorthodox Jukebox will sound like, via the first single "Locked Out of Heaven," in which he channels the Police circa "Message In A Bottle." Bruno also performed a stripped down version of the ballad "Young Girls" on SNL - also from the new album and available on iTunes starting Nov. 6.
His style is evolving, too - gone is the Elvis-style pompadour and in we have more natural curls, reminiscent of a teenage Michael Jackson. His penchant for hats is at an all-time high, apparently, judging by recent on-camera interviews.
But don't expect Bruno to debut other singles on TV after SNL -- he's a much bigger fan of delivering the goods straight to his fans online. Leading up to the video premiere of "Locked Out of Heaven" on VEVO on Oct. 15, he jokingly tweeted: "Everyones telling me to wait for a big primetime premiere on TV but you know what i says to em? I says NO! My fans desoyve to see it foist!"
With an eclectic roster behind the new project that includes Mark Ronson, Diplo, and his own songwriting/production trio The Smeezingtons, it's bound to live up to the jukebox theme.
Bruno recently told Billboard mag in a cover story that this next album purposefully doesn't belong in any particular musical 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, likely referring to the period in his life when he was signed to Motown Records, before being dropped by the label and moving on to Atlantic, his home and under which he released his debut album. "That was disgusting to me, because I'm not trying to be a circus act."
Will he take on any acting gigs beyond SNL? No word back from his reps yet on that one, but his next big primetime TV appearance will be performing at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on Dec. 4.
While you wait, check out the 18 Reasons Why Bruno Mars Rules Our Universe.