“It’s a rare thing that happens,” he says, a packet of cigarettes and a smartphone resting by his feet, “especially in this day, where it’s real hard to sell albums. I’m traveling to places that I’ve never even heard of and there are all these people singing the songs back — and English is not even their first language. It’s like, what the hell happened?” The answer is simple: Music fans the world over have fallen in love with Bruno Mars.
Mars’ debut album, “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” (Elektra), has spent 39 weeks in the Billboard 200’s top 40. It debuted at No. 3 the week of Oct. 23, 2010, and has sold 1.2 million units in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. First single “Just the Way You Are” spent four weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100, moving 4.5 million copies. The touching, R&B-flavored track also spent 20 weeks at No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart — the longest-reigning debut single in the list’s 50-year history. His follow-up release, “Grenade,” reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 on Dec. 30, 2010, and has moved 4.4 million U.S. copies. “The Lazy Song,” the third track off Doo-Wops, peaked at No. 4 on June 18 and has sold 2 million downloads.