Bruno Mars is the perfect entertainer: he can sing, he can play instruments, he can dance, he can model, he can even impersonate Elvis Presley. With three multi-platinum albums, two memorable Super Bowl performances, dozens of awards, and one upcoming Silk Sonic project on his horizon, Mars has made quite a name for himself as a global superstar.
However, before becoming the man we know today, Mars used to write songs for other artists to make ends meet. He was a part of The Smeezingtons, songwriting and producing trio consisted of himself, Philip Lawrence, and Ari Levine. Together, they have penned some of the most memorable hits of the 2000s and the 2010s. Here are the top ten songs you didn’t know were written by the powerhouse singer.
‘Wavin’ Flag’ – K’naan
The Smeezingtons rose to stardom after they helped K’naan with penning the most iconic World Cup anthem, Wavin’ Flag. The song was an ode of hope for Somalia and its people’s freedom before FIFA chose it as the promotional anthem of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. If you pay attention closely, you can spot Mars and Lawrence in the opening sequence of the song’s accompanying music video.
Forget You – CeeLo
Mars also helped write CeeLo’s hit, “Forget You,” from his third studio album, The Lady Killer. The song slowly became a sleeper, topped the chart in thirteen countries and sold over six million copies in the U.S. alone in 2013. Thanks to Mars, CeeLo landed a “Song of the Year” and “Record of the Year” nomination at the 53rd Grammy Awards.
‘All I Ask’ – Adele
If there’s something that Mars and Adele have in common, is that the two are a couple of the most powerful singers our generation has witnessed. Mars helped writing Adele’s “All I Ask” ballad hit from her multi-platinum album 25 in 2015. He even hit every note flawlessly in his beautiful rendition during a BBC One session while promoting his 24k Magic album.
‘Can We Dance’ – The Vamps
Under The Smeezingtons banner, Mars and Lawrence helped propel The Vamps’ career back in 2013. The British pop band collaborated with the trio for their debut single, “Can We Dance,” from the group’s Meet the Vamps album. The song debuted at number two on the UK Singles Chart, and it marked the band’s entrance to mainstream popularity.
‘Get Sexy’ – Sugababes
Before releasing his Doo-Wops & Hooligans debut album, Mars wrote “Get Sexy” for the British trio Sugababes. The uptempo electropop jam serves as the leading single for their Sweet 7 album and peaked at number to at UK Singles chart. The Smeezingtons worked with the Fairbrass brothers, Fred and Richard, and Rob Manzoli for the song’s production process. Historically, it was also the last single of the band that features founding member Keisha Buchanan before she parted ways in 2009.
‘Love Me’ – Justin Bieber
Bruno Mars’ another impressive song to his songwriting vault collection: “Love Me” from then-teen sensation Justin Bieber’s debut EP, My World. The writing trio collaborated with the likes of Peter Svensson and Nina Persson before landing on DJ Frank E’s production. The song itself was the most memorable part of the album and made the charts on several occasions. Its music video has amassed over 400 million views per April 2020.
‘Who Dat Girl’ – Flo Rida ft. Akon
In 2010, Mars served as one of the songwriters of Flo Rida’s hit “Who Dat Girl” with Akon from Only One Flo (Part 1) album. Although the song wasn’t exactly a commercial hit, “Who Dat Girl” is a must-listen electro-R&B jam to pump you up at parties. Mars even nailed the likes of Dr. Luke and Benny Blanco to produce the song.
‘Right Round’ – Flo Rida
In fact, “Who Dat Girl” wasn’t the first time Mars and Flo Rida hopped on a song together. Before that, Mars helped the rapper pen “Right Round,” one of his chart-topping classic singles, from R.O.O.T.S. album featuring a cameo from Kesha. Although the song was heavily criticized due to its misogynistic tones, “Right Round” topped the charts of several countries and broke onto the top five in a matter of days after its release.
‘Tears Always Win’ – Alicia Keys
It comes as no surprise that Alicia Keys and Bruno Mars once collaborated on a song together, as the two are the best in their genre. He helped writing Key’s last single from her Girl on Firealbum, “Tears Always Win.” While it wasn’t exactly the most highlighted moment of the album, the powerful ballad allows Mars and Keys to touch the rawest nerve of its listeners with its heartfelt lyrics.
‘Bow Chicka Wow Wow’ – Mike Posner
Lastly, there’s “Bow Chicka Wow Wow” from Mike Posner’s 31 Minutes to Takeoff debut album. Thanks to its remix featuring Lil Wayne’s verse, the song ended up gaining a platinum certification later on. The album itself fuses influences from R&B and dance tunes with catchy beats and clever hooks. Although it wasn’t a critical success, 31 Minutes to Takeoff helped to shape Mike Posner’s career.
By Rafly Gilang