Bruno Mars is Billboard’s No. 1 Artist of the Year

Singer Bruno Mars was named Billboard’s 2013 Artist of the Year by the industry trade magazine on Friday.

Mars is one of the most acclaimed artists of this or any other era, with Billboard hailing his work as “boldly ambitious and gloriously irreverent.” Photo: Jérôme POUILLE/ Flickr

Billboard honored Bruno Mars with a title of Artist of the Year. He won over many musicians who grabbed more headlines through the year such as Miley Cyrus, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke, Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga.

“It’s flattering. It’s just an honor,” Mars said in an interview this week. “I’m proud to be a part of this whole team that I have.”

Hawaiian-born Mars, who will perform at the 2014 Super Bowl halftime show, came in No. 1 on eight of Billboard’s year end lists, including “Hot 100 Artists,” “Top Overall Artists,” “Hot 100 Singles Airplay,” “HBruno Marsot Digital Songs,” “Mainstream Top 40” and “Pop Digital Songs.”

In the view of the Billboard year-end wrap-up issue, Mars’ artist of the year nod may come as a surprise. Actually, his sophomore album “Unorthdox Juxebox commanded a steady presence on the Billboard 200 following its No. 2 debut last December.

Remaining in the top 20 every week since then through the Sept. 14 issue, the Atlantic album hit No. 1 in its 12th week. To date, ‘Unorthodox Jukebox’ has sold 1.8 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It’s the second best-selling album of the year behind Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience.”

The singer’s year included a No. 1 hit with “When I Was Your Man” and a top 5 hit with “Treasure.”

“Bruno did well in touring and I think longevity does really well for him. His songs stuck around on multiple formats all year round,” Bill Werde, editorial director of Billboard magazine, told Reuters.

“He’s a powerhouse, and really keeps his focus on the music in a year where conversations have been dominated by [MTV’s Video Music Award] performances and PR cycles.”

Grammy-winning Mars, whose music crosses between R&B and pop, has established a successful career as a singer and producer with The Smeezingtons, working on songs both for himself and other artists.

After all the hard work and sacrifice, Mars is living out his dream. “[N]ow is the fun time,” he observes. “My dream was to not get a day job but to sleep, wake up and do my music. And hopefully, my music does all the talking. I want to keep that dream forever. That’s it. That’s what I love to do.”

He is also nominated in four Grammy categories this month, including two of the industry’s top prizes – his single “Locked Out of Heaven” picked up both record and song of the year nods.

“It’s been an incredible year,” Mars’ manager, Brandon Creed, said of the singer’s achievement. “We definitely had goals going into this project to support the artist, his music and performance. But we tried to do everything for a purpose, nothing gratuitous. And we’re continuing to lay and build the foundation for him to evolve musically and continue to connect with the audience.”

Behind Mars at No. 2 is Swift, followed by Timberlake, Rihanna, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Pink, Imagine Dragons, One Direction, Cyrus and Maroon 5.

The singer, whom Billboard calls “boldly ambitious and gloriously irreverent,” is heading back out on a North American round of his Moonshine Jungle World Tour. The tour is set to resume next February in Australia and New Zealand. Mars will visit Asian and South American countries before kicking off another North American leg next summer.

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