Caribbean Roots: Bruno Mars … and the Power of Endurance

Go Lean Commentary 

CU Blog - Caribbean Roots - Bruno Mars - Photo 5Islands are unique compared to the mainland.

Being cut-off, social development evolves and endures independent of the mainland’s influence. This is the case in the natural world – consider all the unique animals of Australia – and in the music world.

Most of the 30 member-states of the Caribbean are islands (notwithstanding Guyana, Suriname & Belize). As a result we have this amazing musical progeny that has developed … and endured: we have 169 different musical genres that have emerged.

So not only are islands distinct compared to the mainland, they are also distinct compared to each other.

CU Blog - Caribbean Roots - Bruno Mars - Photo 1This explains the historicity of the musical artist Bruno Mars.

He is of Caribbean roots…

… his father has Puerto Rican heritage. But Bruno or Peter Hernandez, his given name, was born and raised on the island of Hawaii. (See Biography in Appendix A below).

His music reflects the richness of his island roots. See, feel the Caribbean “soul” in the VIDEO of “Billionaire” in the Appendix C below. A Caribbean legacy – in this case Puerto Rico – has so much good to offer the world, as one of the best-selling artists of all time.

CU Blog - Caribbean Roots - Bruno Mars - Photo 2

CU Blog - Caribbean Roots - Bruno Mars - Photo 3

This is a message the Caribbean needs to hear – we are the greatest address on the planet, in terms of terrain (flora, fauna and beaches), hospitality and culture, but we are at near-Failed-State status. We must endure and fix our broken societal engines.

Challenge accepted!

See how this champion of Caribbean Roots battled misfortune and adversity to emerge as one of the biggest musical stars of the day. See this 60 Minutes interview from November 2016 here (or the transcript in Appendix B below):

VIDEO Bruno Mars on his artistry: “I’m working hard for this” –

Posted November 20, 2016 – He’s been broke, busted and nearly homeless. Now, as 60 Minutes’ Lara Logan reports, he’s on top of the music world. (May require CBS All-Access Subscription).

Bruno Mars has the talent; he even had it early as a youth. He has earned many awards and nominations, like the Grammys (5), BRIT Awards (3), MTV Europe Music Awards (3), and Billboard Songwriter Award. In 2014, he became the artist with the most top five entries on the Billboard Hot 100 since his first week on the chart.[182] He is the first male artist to place two titles as a lead act in the Hot 100’s top 10 simultaneously.[184] Mars was the most played artist on “pop radio” in 2013 [185] and became the first solo male artist whose first 13 Top 40 hits all reached the Top 10 on the American Top 40.[186] In total, he has had six number-one singles on the Hot 100 chart.[187]

We are so proud that this talented American entertainer actually has Caribbean roots; it accentuates our image and reflects the positive contributions of our culture. But as related in this foregoing VIDEO, it has taken more than just talent alone for him to advance to these heights in the music industry. (He kicks off a major US Tour this summer; see initial dates in the Photo here).

CU Blog - Caribbean Roots - Bruno Mars - Photo 4

Success for Bruno Mars has been based on the full measure of his character, the talent and that something else, the “X-Factor” that the music industry likes to classify as to why some artists succeed and some artists do not.

There is the need for endurance, resilience, vision and preparation for whatever available opportunity emerges.

This is where the long experience of this short life of Bruno Mars – thus far – teaches the Caribbean region, what we need to do to be successful in our quest to elevate our homeland to be a better place to live, work and play. Yes, we have shown that we have talent; we have endurance and resilience, but now we must show the vision and prepare for opportunities to execute change at home.

This is the quest of the book Go Lean…Caribbean; it serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The CU is designed to advance the Caribbean eco-systems for economics, security and governance. Every step along the way, with all the bread-and-butter considerations, there is the opportunity for the arts and artists  (including music) to impact this region and the rest of the world with their contributions. These 3 statements constitute the prime directives of this Go Lean/CU roadmap:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines.

Endurance can be classified as a “community ethos” – the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a society (Go Lean book Page 20). This roadmap recognizes that a prerequisite for advancing society is a change in the Caribbean community ethos; or an adoption of different community ethos, i.e. Deferred Gratification, a derivative of “endurance” (Page 21). Early in the book, in the opening Declaration of Interdependence, the contributions that culture (music, dance and artistic expressions) can make is pronounced as an ethos for the entire region to embrace (Page 14), with these statements:

xxxii. Whereas the cultural arts and music of the region are germane to the quality of Caribbean life, and the international appreciation of Caribbean life, the Federation must implement the support systems to teach, encourage, incentivize, monetize and promote the related industries for arts and music in domestic and foreign markets. These endeavors will make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play.

Bruno Mars is the embodiment of the necessary ingredients to forge success in the music industry. He has impacted the music, culture and image of Island Life (albeit Hawaii); he has depicted that “despite the upbringing on a small, limited island”, one can still “move” the whole world  – move it to dance and move it to change. Like Caribbean musical icon, Bob Marley, Bruno Mars is setting a pathway for success for other generations of talented, inspirational and influential artists to follow. Many other artists – of Caribbean heritage – are sure to emerge and “impact the world”. We are thusly preparing for it, as specified in the same Declaration of Interdependence – Page 13:

xxi. Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.

Globally, the music industry is in shambles. This is true in the US and even more so in the Caribbean. It is difficult for musical artists to endure in professions tied to the music industry unless some fundamental changes are put in place…

… the Go Lean/CU roadmap represents the change that the Caribbean needs. The people, enterprises, institutions and governance of the region are all urged to “lean-in” to this roadmap for change. It is important to provide a structure for musicians and artists to get paid for their talents; otherwise they would abandon this industry. Alas, we need a striving music industry; it is important as these ones highlight positive contributions of Caribbean culture, life and people.

The following list details the community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to foster a better business environment for future entertainers in the Caribbean:

Community Ethos –   Ways to Foster Genius Page 27
Community Ethos –   Promote Intellectual Property Page 29
Community Ethos –   Ways to Promote Happiness Page 36
Community Ethos –   Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Caribbean   Vision Page 45
Tactical –   Separation of Powers – Patents & Copyrights Page 78
Tactical –   Separation of Powers – Culture Administration Page 81
Implementation –   Ways to Impact Social Media Page 111
Advocacy – Ways to   Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Advocacy – Ways to   Better Manage Image Page 133
Advocacy – Ways to   Impact Hollywood Page 203
Advocacy – Ways to   Improve the Arts Page 230
Advocacy – Ways to   Promote Music Page 231

The changes being anticipated for the Caribbean music industry assumes an integration of the business eco-system. We must have a means by which the artists can get paid for their artistic expressions. The Go Lean book fully detailed this music business eco-system with this sample advocacy; see  these headlines from Page 231:

10 Ways to Promote Music

1 Leverage the Single   Market
Allow for the unification of the region into one market of 42 million people. There are numerous [Afro-Caribbean] music genres that are unique to the region (Appendix ZS on Page 347): Calypso, Reggae, Salsa, Mambo, Merengue, Conga, Junkanoo and others. The integrated market size of the CU can support the deployment and regulation of a music eco-system where artists, writers, performers, promoters, broadcasters and retailers can be duly compensated for their efforts; thereby fostering an internal music industry and encouraging new generations to share their talents and dream of stardom.
2 Payment Eco-System
Arrange for settlement of electronic payments transactions allowing e-commerce (downloads) to flourish.
3 Level 1 – Music Fulfills Biological and Physiological needs
Exposure to music and music education is one common denominator among successful, satisfied, articulate people and helps cement their basic education that guarantees them the ability to advance in society so as to secure their livelihoods. Moreover, an ongoing musical experience (ideally begun at a young age) provides the consumer demand base for peripheral industries (orchestras, operas, arts organizations, etc.). Although it may not sell tickets immediately, it is an investment in a future generation of musically-literate patrons and participants.
4 Level 2 – Security/Safety needs
The CU will facilitate job security for talented musicians/artists by fostering a marketplace (real & virtual) to transact their occupations. Previously, the Internet had undermined the business models for the music industry, but there are now new paid services (like iTunes, Rhapsody, Pandora, etc.). Safety needs refer to protecting the industry to allow continuity of musical output and preventing the nullification of national art forms. “Music soothes the savage beast”.
5 Level 3 – Belongingness and Love needs
6 Level 4 – Esteem needs
7 Level 5 – Cognitive needs
8 Level 6 – Aesthetic needs
9 Level 7 – Self-Actualization needs
10 Level 8 – Transcendence needs

The power of music has been a familiar topic for previous Go Lean blog-commentaries. Consider this sample: Legacy of the ‘Buffalo Soldier’ Song Day of Happiness – Music-style; Miami-style; JITG-style Caribbean Roots: Sammy Davis, Jr. Forging Change: Panem et Circenses (Bread and Amusement) A Lesson in History: Jamaican Innovation for Hip Hop Taylor Swift withholds Album from Apple Music Extracurricular Music Programs Boost Students Post-Mortem of Inaugural Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival ‘Building a City’ on Rock-n-Roll and Music How ‘The Lion King’ productions roared into history Music Role Model Berry Gordy – Reflecting & Effecting Change Bob Marley: The Legend Lives On!

We salute those like Peter Hernandez (Senior) who left the Puerto Rican Diaspora of Brooklyn as a youth, looking for opportunities in the world of music-entertainment. We salute him and other such ones, even their descendants and legacies. We know there are “new” Peter Hernandez -types and “new” Bruno Mars-types throughout Caribbean member-states, waiting to be fostered. We hail them as our future.

Now is the time for all stakeholders – musicians and music lovers alike – in the Caribbean to lean-in for the empowerments described here-in and in the book Go Lean … Caribbean. Our society is failing; we can turn-around and reboot. Music helps to forge that change!

We can and must be better and do better and help to make our Caribbean homeland a better place to live, work and play. So we need a fully functional music industry because we need music, and the effects of music: the power to move people. 🙂

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for the roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix A – Bruno Mars Biography
Peter Gene Hernandez (born October 8, 1985), known professionally as Bruno Mars, is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and choreographer. Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, by a family of musicians, Mars began making music at a young age and performed in various musical venues in his hometown throughout his childhood. He graduated from high school and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a musical career. After being dropped by Motown Records, Mars signed a recording contract with Atlantic Records in 2009.

In 2009, he co-founded the production team “The Smeezingtons”, responsible for the singles “Nothin’ on You” by B.o.B and “Billionaire” by Travie McCoy. He featured on the hooks for both singles, becoming recognized as a solo artist. His debut studio album Doo-Wops & Hooligans (2010) included the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping singles “Just the Way You Are” and “Grenade“, as well as the number-four single “The Lazy Song“. His second album, Unorthodox Jukebox (2012), peaked at number one in the United   States. The album spawned the international singles “Locked Out of Heaven“, “When I Was Your Man” and “Treasure“. In 2014, Mars lent his vocals to Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk“. In 2016, he released his third studio album 24K Magic with the lead single of the same title released on October 7, 2016. To date, he has sold over 115 million singles and 9 million albums worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. Mars has landed seven number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 since his career launched in 2010, attaining his first five faster than any male artist since Elvis Presley.

Mars has received many awards and nominations, including five Grammy Awards, and was named one of Time‘s 100 most influential people in the world in 2011. In December 2013, he ranked number one on the Forbes 30 under 30 list. Mars is known for his stage performances and retro showmanship. He is accompanied by his band, The Hooligans, who play a variety of instruments such as electric guitar, bass, piano, keyboards, drums and horns, and also serve as backup singers and dancers. Mars performs in a wide range of musical styles.

Early life and musical beginnings
Peter Gene Hernandez was born on October 8, 1985,[1] in Honolulu, Hawaii to Peter Hernandez and Bernadette San Pedro Bayot, and was raised in the Waikiki neighborhood of Honolulu.[2]

His father is of half Puerto Rican and half Ashkenazi Jewish descent (from Ukraine and Hungary), and is originally from Brooklyn, New York.[3][4][5] His mother emigrated from the Philippines to Hawaii as a child, and was of Filipino, and some Spanish, ancestry.[4][6] His parents met while performing in a show in which his mother was a hula dancer and his father played percussion.[5] At the age of two, he was nicknamed “Bruno” by his father, because of his resemblance to professional wrestler Bruno Sammartino.[7][8][9]

Mars is one of six children and came from a musical family which exposed him to a diverse mix of genres including: reggae, rock, hip hop, and R&B.[10][11] His mother was both a singer and a dancer, and his father performed Little Richard rock and roll music.[12] Mars’ uncle was an Elvis impersonator, and also encouraged three-year-old Mars to perform on stage. Mars performed songs by artists such as Michael Jackson, The Isley Brothers, and The Temptations.[8] At age four, Mars began performing five days a week with his family’s band, The Love Notes, and became known on the island for his impersonation of Presley.[13] In 1990, Mars was featured in MidWeek as “Little Elvis”, and later appeared in a cameo role in the film Honeymoon in Vegas (1992),[8][14] and performed in the halftime show of the 1990 Aloha Bowl.[15]

Source: Retrieved May 12, 2017 from:


Appendix B – Transcript: Bruno Mars 60 Minutes Story Transcript

The following script is from “Bruno Mars,” which aired on Nov. 20, 2016. Lara Logan is the correspondent. John Hamlin, producer.

Bruno Mars is one of the world’s biggest music stars and he’s one of the most driven people we’ve ever seen. Just 31, he’s the product of what he calls a “school of rock” education — a working class life of experiences that have taught him the music business. None of it came easily. He’s been broke, busted and nearly homeless. But this week, following the release of his first album in four years, he’s on top of the music world.

To show us how he got there, Bruno Mars did something he’s never done: he shared with us some of the toughest moments of his Hawaiian upbringing, and gave us the opportunity to witness his extraordinary skills as a songwriter and producer.

We begin with Bruno Mars, the entertainer.

This show in Connecticut last month was his first public concert of the year, and he used it as a tune-up for the release of his new album and world tour to follow. On every song and every note, from arenas to halftime of the Super Bowl, he and his band, The Hooligans, perform full throttle.

His standards are high because the legends of music set them.

See the FULL Question – Answer Interaction Here:

Source: Retrieved 05-12-2017 from:


Appendix C VIDEO – Travie McCoy: Billionaire ft. Bruno Mars [OFFICIAL VIDEO] –

Uploaded on May 6, 2010 – Travie McCoy’s music video for ‘Billionaire’ featuring Bruno Mars from his album, Lazarus – available now on DCD2 Records / Fueled By Ramen. SORRY!!! This is the profanity-laced version!

Download it at

Go behind the scenes of this video at

  • Category: Music
  • License: Standard YouTube License


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