60 Minutes Presents: Grammy Night

First, Beyoncé and Adele's different approaches to success. Then, Bruno Mars has been broke, busted and nearly homeless, but now he’s on top of the music world

The following script is from “60 Minutes Presents: Grammy Night,” which aired on Feb. 12, 2017. Steve Kroft is the host. John Hamlin, producer.

Good evening, I’m Steve Kroft.  Welcome to 60 Minutes Presents. Tonight’s biggest Grammy Awards -- those for album, song and record of the year -- look to be a showdown between two of music’s most talented women: Adele and Beyoncé. We spent time with both of them in the past. Beyoncé in 2010, Adele in 2012 -- and they showed us that their approach to success is vastly different. But they also have a lot more in common than just their first-name-only identities as pop singers. Already multiple Grammy-award winners, already among the world’s biggest concert draws, they are also two of the biggest success stories of the last year: Beyoncé with her acclaimed album, “Lemonade.” and Adele with her latest album “25” -- the best-selling album of 2016 and 2015.  We found that there is a lot to admire about both of these women, especially when you hear them sing. First, an excerpt from our story with Beyoncé.

Beyonce 

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60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft interviews Beyoncé, 2010. 

CBS News

She’s a polished product that’s been years in the making, a fiercely talented performer with a million kilowatts of energy, and a role model who has been strong enough to strut around all the usual pitfalls of fame.

Beyoncé Knowles: I am definitely someone that analyzes everything. And I made the decision at a very young age to not do certain things.

Steve Kroft: No drugs, no eating disorders, no bad relationships. No breakdowns due to overwhelming pressure. It takes a certain amount of discipline, I guess.

“I am definitely someone that analyzes everything. And I made the decision at a very young age to not do certain things.”  Beyonce 

Beyoncé Knowles: Yeah. It takes discipline, and it takes focus and I think I’m very fortunate that I’ve had a gradual success. It’s not something that happened in one day. It’s something that I’ve worked at and worked at.

With her best friend Kelly Rowland and two other pals from Houston they began winning talent contests. And by the time they were 16, the quartet had morphed into Destiny’s Child, one of the most successful pop groups of the nineties.

Home schooled, under-aged, and traveling with her parents on the road, Beyoncé skipped the boys and the after parties, and passed the time on the tour bus with the other girls reading the Bible.

Beyoncé: Lord God, we thank you for this day.

There’s still a prayer before every show. But since Beyonce began, a lot of things have changed. And that shy girl from Houston who was a late bloomer in terms of her own sexuality, has obviously been a quick study. Parts of her show would make a preacher blush.

Steve Kroft: You have a really sort of clean-cut, wholesome reputation. And then, out there on the stage, you’re a seductress.

Beyoncé Knowles: OK. Thanks. I’ll take that.

Steve Kroft: You’re seducing the audience.

Beyoncé Knowles: Really, I don’t think about it too much. I’m just free. And I can express my sensuality. I can express my pain, vulnerability, my strength. All of those things.

Steve Kroft: Where did you learn all that stuff?

Beyoncé Knowles: Well, just because I had a sheltered upbringing doesn’t mean I haven’t been a woman. I’m a woman that has had life experiences.

And that now brings us to Adele. Anderson Cooper first reported on the British star in 2012, the year she won six Grammys.

Adele

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Adele, 2012.

CBS News

Adele’s music is intensely personal. She sings almost exclusively about love and the men whose love she’s lost. She wrote this song, “Rolling in the Deep,” heartbroken and angry the day after breaking up with her boyfriend. The song became the top-selling single of 2011 and catapulted her to global stardom.

Anderson Cooper: Did you ever feel pressure to, well, I got to look a certain way. I have to-

Adele Adkins: No, never. I’ve never seen magazine covers and seen music videos and been like I need to look like that if I want to be a success. Never. I don’t want to be some skinny mini with my (expletive deleted). I really don’t want to do it. And-- and I don’t want people confusing what it is that I’m about.

Adele Adkins: I’m not-- I’m not shocking. I just stand there and sing. And I don’t do stunts or anything.

Anderson Cooper: But I think that’s one of the things that is so remarkable about your success and-- is that you’re kind of the anti-pop star. I mean, you’re not--

Adele Adkins: No, I am.

Anderson Cooper: You know what I mean. I mean, there-- there aren’t any gimmicks. It’s basically the power of your voice and what you’re singing.

Adele Adkins: If I wanted to do all that, I don’t think I’d get away with it. I-- I just-- I don’t think people would believe me.

Anderson Cooper: But in your songs, I think people believe--

Adele Adkins: Yeah.

Anderson Cooper: --that you have experienced what you’re singing.

Adele Adkins: Yeah.

Anderson Cooper: I think that comes through.

Adele Adkins: I’m just writing love songs. I’m not trying to be pop. I’m not trying to be jazz. I’m not trying to be anything. I’m just writing love songs. And everyone loves a love song.

“Someone Like You” has become another Adele anthem, written about that same boyfriend who broke her heart.

Adele Adkins: And I wrote that to feel better about myself really. And it was about trying to convince myself that, oh, we will-- we’ll meet someone else and I will be happy.

Anderson Cooper: And you have met someone else?

Adele Adkins: Yeah. Who is much better than him.

Adele Adkins: In fact, next time I sing “Someone Like You” I’m going to be like, “Never mind, I found someone like you.” Please forget me.

Bruno

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Bruno Mars at Paradise Park, Hawaii

Aaron Tomlinson/60 Minutes

Bruno Mars is one of the world’s biggest music stars and he’s one of the most driven people we’ve ever seen. He is just 31, and as we first showed you last November, the product of what he calls a “school of rock” education -- a working-class life of experiences that have taught him the music business. None of it came easily. He’s been broke, busted and nearly homeless. 

But tonight, he will be at the center of the music universe when he performs on the Grammy Awards. To show us how he got there, Bruno Mars did something he’s never done: he shared with Lara Logan some of the toughest moments of his Hawaiian upbringing, and gave us the opportunity to witness his extraordinary skills as a songwriter and a producer.

We begin with Bruno Mars, the entertainer. 

This show in Connecticut was his first public concert of the year, and he used it as a tune-up for the release of his new album and world tour to follow. On every song and every note, from arenas to halftime of the Super Bowl, he and his band, The Hooligans, perform full throttle.

His standards are high because the legends of music set them.

Bruno Mars: I just really care about what people see. I want them to know that I’m working hard for this. The artists that I look up to like, you know, Michael, Prince, James Brown. You watch them and you understand that they’re paying attention to the details of their art. And they care so much about what they’re wearing, about how they’re moving, about how they’re making the audience feel. They’re not phoning it in. They’re going up there to murder anybody that performs after them or performs before them. That’s what I’ve watched my whole life and admired.

He is a throwback. You see it in the choreography on stage and hear it in the songs themselves. Descendants of the generations that came before him.

“I just really care about what people see. I want them to know that I’m working hard for this.” Bruno Mars

Lara Logan: When I listen to your songs.

Bruno Mars: Uh-huh.

Lara Logan: You can hear all those people that you’ve listened to.

Bruno Mars: Yeah.

Lara Logan: Over the years.

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Bruno Mars

CBS News

Bruno Mars: A lot of people are really quick to say, “That song sounds like this.” Or you-- “He’s tryin’ to sound like this.” And I’m always like, “You’re damn right I am. That’s how-- that’s why we’re all here.” You know, we all grew up idolizing another musician. That’s how this works. That’s how music is created.

The musical education of Bruno Mars began in his hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii. He was born Peter Hernandez, to a Puerto Rican father and Filipino mother: parents who were professional musicians, performing together in the tourist showrooms of Waikiki Beach.  Their act was called the “Love Notes” and when Bruno was four years old his parents included him in the family business. He played “Little Elvis” and it’s when he first learned he could steal the show.

The “Little Elvis” routine lasted six years. But the lessons of his parents’ Vegas-style Waikiki entertainment revue, have lasted a lifetime. 

Bruno Mars:  You know, it was, like, “School Of Rock” for me. And it was just this kind of razzle-dazzle lifestyle.

Lara Logan:  That’s real showbiz.

Bruno Mars: Yeah, show business. You know?

Lara Logan: Right?

Bruno Mars: And if you wasn’t hitting those notes and the audience wasn’t freaking out, then you weren’t doing it right.

By the time he turned 12, his parents divorced and the family band broke up. Money was tight. His four sisters moved in with his mom. He and his brother lived with his dad…

Lara Logan: On top of this building?

Bruno Mars: On top of this building.

…anywhere they could.

Bruno Mars: My dad was just the king of finding these little spots for us to stay that we should never have been staying at.

Lara Logan: But you were, like, homeless people?

Bruno Mars: Yeah. No. Yeah, for sure. We was in a limousine at once. 1984 limousine.

Sleeping in the back of a car, on top of buildings, and this place…

Lara Logan: So this is where you lived?

…Paradise Park, a bird zoo where his dad took a job. This was the first time he’d been back here since. Even people who work with him haven’t heard this part of his story.

Bruno Mars: Where we were staying at first—

Lara Logan: Yeah.

Bruno Mars: --didn’t have a bathroom. So we’d have to walk across the park to this other spot that had a bathroom.

Lara Logan: Wow.

Bruno Mars: In the in--

Lara Logan: And sometimes in the middle of the night?

Bruno Mars: In the middle of the night.

When the park closed, they stayed, moving into this one-room building. 

Lara Logan: This was your house?

Bruno Mars: Yeah.

They lived here for more than two years.

Bruno Mars: Just so people don’t think we’re crazy.

Lara Logan: Yeah.

Bruno Mars: It did not look like this.

Lara Logan: It had a roof?

Bruno Mars: It had a roof.

Lara Logan: It didn’t have plants growing inside.

Bruno Mars: 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.

Lara Logan: Yeah? And you’d all sleep in one bed?

Bruno Mars: We’d all sleep in one bed.

Lara Logan: Happy memories?

Bruno Mars: The best.

Lara Logan: That’s-- is kind of amazing in that, what you remember about it is not the struggle or the things you didn’t have.

Bruno Mars: Nah—

Lara Logan: It’s all the things you had.

Bruno Mars: Yeah. We had it all, you know. We had each other and it never felt like it was the end of the world. “It’s alright we don’t got electric today. It’s alright. It’s temporary.” saying, “Well, we gonna figure this out.”Maybe that’s why I have this mentality when it comes to the music. ‘Cause I know I’m gonna figure-- I’m gonna figure it out, just give me some time.

So he headed for Los Angeles where he was quickly signed by Motown Records. Gone was his given name of Peter Hernandez, branding himself Bruno Mars instead.

“Bruno,” his childhood nickname, “Mars” shooting for the stars. The name stuck but the record contract didn’t. Motown dropped him.

“’Uptown Funk’ took us almost a year to write. And there’s songs that’s taken us two hours to write. And we throw ‘em away. ‘Uptown Funk’ was in the trash can about 10 times.” Bruno Mars

With no hit songs of his own and dead broke, he started over, writing and producing songs for other artists with friends Ari Levine and Philip Lawrence. They were starving musicians. Inspired by the hustle just to pay for food, they came up with this song.

[Music from “Billionaire”]

It led to another record deal of his own. His career as a songwriter and performer was finally on track. About that time though, he was arrested for possession of two-and-a-half grams of cocaine. 

Lara Logan: From the outside you really seem to keep it together and to be very professional and, you know, very committed but you nearly threw it all away.

Bruno Mars: I did something very stupid. I’m in Las Vegas, Lara. I’m 24 years old. I’m, you know, drinking way more than I’m supposed to be drinking and it was so early in my career and I always say that I think it had to happen. That was the reality check I needed and I’m-- I promised myself that that, you know, you ain’t never gonna read about that again.

Headlines for hits, not drug busts have been his narrative ever since capped by two Super Bowl halftime performances in three years and three Grammys including “record of the year” for his collaboration with producer Mark Ronson, “Uptown Funk.” It’s the biggest hit in a career full of them.

Lara Logan: How difficult is it to write a song that’s great?

Bruno Mars: “Uptown Funk” took us almost a year to write. And there’s songs that taken-- that’s taken us two hours to write. And we throw ‘em away. “Uptown Funk” was in the trash can about 10 times.

Lara Logan: Really?

Bruno Mars: Yeah.

Lara Logan: Why?

Bruno Mars: ‘Cause we made a lot of, you know, you can make a left turn and all of a sudden this song is something terrible. Embarrassing almost. But you have this one thing that keeps you going. This one part of the song that feels so good and it makes you want to keep going. And it makes you want-- “Ah, we should just try again. Let’s try again, let’s try again.”

He told us the conception of much of his music begins, in this California recording studio.  

Bruno Mars: This is it, Lara.

Over the last two years he has been on lock down here trying to answer the challenge created from his run of big hits. Especially his last one.

Bruno Mars: This album, it was daunting, because coming off of “Uptown Funk” was like the biggest song I’ve ever been a part of. And then you’re like, alright, now what are you gonna do?

This is what he came up with. His new album, “24K Magic.” The title song is already another massive hit. He showed us how they built the song from the drums up.

“I was built for this...It’s dedicating yourself to your craft.” Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars: That’s how it starts.

Lara Logan: And then?

Bruno Mars: Well come on, come on!

Bruno Mars: And then we could put some sparkle on it. Like put a little magic dust on it.  Hear that? 

Bruno Mars: Drums and base is locking, right?

Lara Logan: Yes.

Bruno Mars: Feel good yet?

Lara Logan: Yes!

Bruno Mars: Then you add the sauce, the secret sauce.  You ready? 

Bruno Mars: That’s it.

Bruno Mars: 24 Karat Magic!

Bruno Mars: Showtime!  Guess who’s back again?

It’s easy to see that Bruno Mars loves the only job he’s ever wanted and that he’s still driven, to get it right.

Bruno Mars: I was built for this Lara. It’s dedicating yourself to your craft. Spending thousands of hours in a studio learning how to write a song, learning how to play different chords, training yourself to sing. You know, to get better and better.

Lara Logan: Are you there?

Bruno Mars: No. I’m not even close.