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The park Bruno Mars used to call home

Music star Bruno Mars tells Lara Logan how his humble Hawaiian roots molded his musical mentality

Bruno Mars sits high on the music charts now, but as a boy growing up in Hawaii, he and his family hit a low point.  The millionaire music artist shows Lara Logan the ruins of a one-room structure he says he and his father and brother lived in for a time after his parents’ divorce.  Mars says the rough period helped make him the hit-maker he is today. The Grammy-winning singer also shows Logan how he created his new hit “24K Magic” in a profile to be broadcast on 60 Minutes Sunday, Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. PT.

As a young child of show-business parents, he had success as “Little Elvis” in the family’s Waikiki Beach dinner-club act.   But by the time he was 12, his parents split, ending the musical act and a reliable source of income. It got rough.  “My dad was just the king of finding these little spots for us to stay that we should never have been staying at,” he recalls.

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60 Minutes correspondent Lara Logan and Bruno Mars at the park where the music star used to live

CBS News

The spots included the tops of buildings and the back of a car. Mars decided to take Logan and 60 Minutes cameras to one place where he says he stayed over two years.  Mars’ father had taken a job working at Paradise Park, a bird zoo whose owner gave them housing on the grounds.  But the zoo closed.  With no place to go, Mars, his father and brother moved into the one-room in the abandoned park.

“We had each other and it never felt like it was the end of the world.” Bruno Mars

All that’s left is the frame of the one-room structure in a jungle-like area of the park. “It didn’t have plants growing inside. I don’t know what happened to the roof. But the bed would be right there in the middle,” he says, pointing to the plant strewn floor.  “We’d all sleep in one bed,” says Mars.  He calls his memories of the period “the best.”  “We had each other and it never felt like it was the end of the world.”

Mars says they would console one another. “’It’s alright we don’t got electric today. It’s alright, it’s temporary,’ saying, ‘Well, we going to figure this out.’”  He tells Logan the experience gave him the patience and determination it takes to write hit songs.  “Maybe that’s why I have this mentality when it comes to the music. Because I know I’m going to figure...it out, just give me some time.”