Bruno Mars, who has revived retro funk and R&B for a new generation, on Sunday swept the Grammy Awards in a surprise snub for the hip-hop world, which had hoped for a major breakthrough on the music industry’s biggest night.
Mars who was the toast of the night won the top prize, Album of the Year, for “24K Magic” as well as Record of the Year, which recognizes top tune, for the title track — a tale of good times with beautiful women set to 1980s-style synths and rhythms.
The Recording Academy, the body of 13,000 music professionals, also gave Mars Song of the Year, which awards songwriting, for another track on the album — “That’s What I Like,” an old-school ode to making love in high style.
32-year-old Mars, sporting a bright smile and sunglasses, recalled how he first performed as a child for tourists in his native Hawaii.
Mars said “I remember seeing it firsthand — people dancing that had never met each other from two sides of the globe, dancing with each other, toasting with each other, celebrating together”.
“All I wanted to do with this album was that,” Mars told thousands of industry players at Madison Square Garden in New York, where the Grammys temporarily shifted after 15 years in Los Angeles.
Mars won all of the awards for which he was in the running on what was expected to be a major night for hip-hop, which for the first time dominated nominations for the major categories.
Hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, who had led with eight nominations, ended the night empty-handed.