News Column

Singing in the Cold: Bruno Preps for Super Bowl

December 27, 2013

By Mesfin Fekadu, AP Music Writer

Singer Bruno Mars will sing during the Super Bowl halftime. (photo: Associated Press)
Singer Bruno Mars will sing during the Super Bowl halftime. (photo: Associated Press)

NEW YORK (AP) Everyone is in Bruno Mars' ear about one thing when it comes to performing the Super Bowl halftime show: How will you deal with the freezing cold?

"Everyone's putting the fear of god in me like there's going to be a blizzard," Mars said in a phone interview this month from Los Angeles, asking about the weather conditions in the New York-New Jersey area for his "research."

"I'm going to wear a beekeeper suit, I don't know," he answered about how he will keep warm when he performs Feb. 2. "I'm not going to know until I get there ... I'm not trying to hype myself up too much.

"I know it's going to be cold and I just got to face it."

The 28-year-old pop crooner will hit the stage for the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The singer, whose hits range from "Grenade" to "Locked Out of Heaven," typically performs with a full band where he sings, dances and strums the guitar onstage. Mars' performance follows Beyonce's electrifying set earlier this year, where she danced tightly and sang powerfully, with the help of background dancers and Destiny's Child at the big game in New Orleans.

Lee Anne Callahan-Longo, the general manager of Beyonce's production house Parkwood Entertainment, said performing in cold weather creates many challenges.

"It makes it harder to sing. It certainly makes it harder on a woman for choosing wardrobe. It can be really cold out there," she said. "But I think once you get on stage and your adrenaline gets pumping, it doesn't matter. They get in the zone. Most artists get in the zone once they start their performance. And if you're professional, you do what you need to do."

Katy Perry echoed Callahan-Longo's thoughts.

"The weather affects your vocal cords and if you're playing guitar you can't wear mittens, you know, and your fingers are hitting these strings that are cold as well," she said. "I've been in some situations where it just like dries out your voice the cold does. It's not where you shine your best, but you do what you have to do."

Much like his epic performance on "Saturday Night Live" that became the following week's water cooler topic as well as a ratings success, Mars understands that his Super Bowl stint is massively high profile, and could boost the pop star who has two platinum albums, a plethora of radio hits and sold out international tours to new heights. The singer debuted on the music scene in 2010, costarring on B.o.B's "Nothin on You" and Travie McCoy's "Billionaire" multi-platinum hits Mars sang on, co-wrote and co-produced. He went on to release his debut single, "Just the Way You Are," months after, topping the charts on his own and earning his first Grammy Award. Mars' debut, "Doo-Wops & Hooligans," launched back-to-back hits and reached near double platinum status, and last year's "Unorthodox Jukebox" mirrored its success and is nominated for four Grammy Awards including song and record of the year to air a week before the Super Bowl.

"When we got that phone call, again, what do you say? 'Nah.' What do you say? 'Absolutely. Let's rock,'" he said excitedly. "It was something exciting for me and my (band). It wasn't too long ago when we were performing in clubs and bars and pubs, and even when I put (my first) album out, (we were) opening acts for a bunch of different artists, living in a van and traveling around and kind of putting in the work and time. It might seem fast to the outsider looking in, but you know, it's just another thing we can celebrate and I feel like as a group we all achieved it together.

"You know, performing on TV and stuff, whatever the NFL saw they dug it and that's why we got the call."

Mars won't be the only one performing in the cold to round-out the NFL season: The Foo Fighters and Zac Brown Band will perform on a cruise ship docked at Pier 88 in Manhattan on the Hudson River a day before the big game. The Roots, Imagine Dragons, Run DMC and Fall Out Boy will also take the stage on the ship as part of the Super Bowl festivities.

The Red Hot Chilli Peppers will perform at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Super Bowl Eve, and a day before, Robin Thicke and Kendrick Lamar will headline ESPN's party on Pier 36. Mary J. Blige, John Legend, and Marc Anthony will also sing at Cipriani's for an event by Men's Fitness and Shape magazines, and Patti LaBelle and Donnie McClurkin will perform at Madison Square Garden for the annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration.

Mars, who was named Billboard's top artist of the year, said while the crazy weather conditions somewhat frightens him, he'll pull through.

"You know what, it's awesome. ... even if I have to build a chimney onstage, perform around a fire, I'll do it," he said.

And his peers have his back, including Kelly Rowland, who was part of Beyonce's Super Bowl performance along with Michelle Williams.

"He is going to be great. Trust me. Bruno Mars will find a way to stay warm. He's so hot," Rowland said in an interview. "He's going to be just fine."

What about Beyonce?

"No, you got her number," a laughing Mars said of getting advice from the diva. "Just from what I know we played a Houston rodeo, which is a stadium, so it is a different beast and there's a different way to attack it."

AP writers Edith M. Lederer in New York and Nicole Evatt in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Follow Mesfin Fekadu at http://twitter.com/MusicMesfin


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Source: Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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