Head to toe soul player! Bruno Mars is super duper fresh as he takes the cover of Latina‘s February 2017 issue!

The 31-year-old hit-maker, who is first male to grace the magazine’s cover since Romeo Santos in 2014, discusses his Puerto Rican pride, the important cultural impact of black music, the loss of his mother and more.

On his Puerto Rican pride and how he got his stage name: “Id love to clear that up in Latina magazine. I never once said I changed my last name to hide the fact that I’m Puerto Rican. Why would I f**king say that? Who are you fooling? And why would anyone say that? That’s so insulting to me, to my family. That’s ridiculous. My last name is Hernandez. My father’s name is Pedrito Hernandez, and he’s a Puerto Rican pimp. There’s no denying that. My dad nicknamed me Bruno since I was 2 years old. The real story is: I was going to go by ‘Bruno,’ one name. Mars just kind of came joking around because that sounds bigger than life. That was it, simple as that.”

On the loss of his mother: My life has changed. She’s more than my music. If I could trade music to have her back, I would. I always hear her say, ‘Keep going and keep doing it.’”

On the importance of black music: “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. 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, 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.”

For more from Bruno, visit Latina.com!

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