10/08/2013 05:27 pm ET

Happy Birthday Bruno Mars! The Star Turns 28


Peter Gene Hernandez turns 28 today. You may be asking yourself, who exactly is that?

Well, his stage name is Bruno Mars.

Mars dropped the Hernandez from his name after he realized it was a crutch on his career. In an interview with GQ magazine, he explained the common phrase repeated to him by music industry executives went a little bit like this, “Your last name is Hernandez, maybe you should do the Latin music, this Spanish music…”

Many tried to sway him into singing in Spanish by reminding him “Enrique Iglesias is so hot right now,” and suggesting he quickly jump on board the trending Spanish music train. Mars didn’t take too well to those suggestions and decided the best move to avoid being stereotyped was changing his name.

That was the birth of Bruno Mars.

Bruno Mars influenced by Elvis Presley

But maybe what some industry execs didn’t understand was that Bruno Mars’ background boiled down to more than just his Latino last name. He was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. His mother was a Philippine dancer and his father a Jewish Puerto Rican percussionist.

With both parents in the entertainment field, Mars or the young “Bruno,” a nickname given to him by his sister, got an early start in the performing arts.

He joined his father for the first time on stage at the age of 4. At that time, his father owned an Elvis-memorabilia store in Hawaii from which stemmed the idea of a variety show in which Mars took part impersonating The King. Needless to say, Elvis Presley was a big figure in the Hernandez home.

Although Mars doesn’t remember much of the script, he did add “I probably couldn’t speak that much. But I was f–king great at it.”

Peter. Bruno. Hernandez or Mars. There’s not a thing that we would change ’cause you’re amazing, just the way you are!

Originally published on VOXXI as Bruno Mars celebrates his 28th birthday!