Once in a while, a piece of music comes along that moves people. Really moves people. I’m talking tears and tributes, the stirring of souls. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”-type stuff. And every so often, a piece of music comes along that inspires people to move.
Rarer still, an artist comes along who not only makes us move, but makes the whole world dance right alongside him.
That artist is Bruno Mars, and “Uptown Funk” is one of those songs.
It gives me great pleasure to tell people, “‘Uptown Funk’ is nominated for three Grammys, you know.” And, “I just came back from watching him perform in Vegas.” And, “He’s performed for the president, you know.” Like he’s my brother. And I realize that it may sound silly to strangers, fussing over some pop star, but I could literally care less about what they think. I wait in line like a sugared-up child for his shows, and nurture a joyful expectancy about all of his projects.
No one (including myself) has seen me this fervently support a pop star in my entire life — I didn’t do it for the New Kids, or Madonna, or even Michael Jackson. I never even had posters. But now? Now it’s T-shirts in my closet, pictures and videos on my computer and mementos stylishly arranged in shadowboxes on my office wall. My family and friends are now well-trained to the fact that if it’s about Bruno Mars, I want to know, and I want to know yesterday.
I fear that someday I’ll be ambling around with a handbag containing only used tissues, green starlight mints and a wallet full of his pictures.
My 4-year-old son dressed like him for Halloween, and sings his music while brushing his teeth, in school, in line at Target, and riding in the car. “So cute,” strangers coo. “You’re the most adorable little Bruno Mars I’ve ever seen!” And just the other day, as I scrolled through my Instagram profile, his twin sister turned to me, very seriously, and asked, “But where’s Bruno? Why are there no pictures of Bruno here?”
Apparently, I’ve taught them well.
And he cares about the fans too. He does. The most amazing thing is that he consistently returns that love. No matter what he’s been through, what goes on in his life, he gets up there and gives it his all — something I’ve witnessed firsthand. He knows we’re out there, and we know he hears us. He responds to our chittering, our pleas for new music, more shows and more TV performances. And he never disappoints, popping up for unscheduled Twitter chats, dropping in on daytime talk shows, and performing non-tour-related shows just for us.
As a matter of fact (since we’re on the subject), “Uptown Funk” has brought me to a group of beautiful souls from all over this country, a group of women that totally transcends age, race, geographic location and socioeconomic status. They’re classy, they’re sassy and love this guy just as much (maybe a little bit more, if you know what I mean) than I do. Like the bee girl in the “No Rain” video, I’ve finally found my people.
That’s what music is for, right? To create joy. To bring people together.
And it’s crazy how far that love has spread. As a matter of fact, in a recent issue of People, actor Donald Faison tells us that his 2-year-old son, Rocco’s, “really heavy into Bruno Mars’ ‘Uptown Funk,’ like most people are. When it comes on, he’ll dance for the whole song. His favorite part is ‘Stop, wait a minute. Fill my cup, put some liquor in it.’ When that happens, ‘Julio, get the stretch,’ he does the dance moves, he stops, he calls Julio. It’s hilarious. He commands Julio to get the stretch.”
The most inspiring part of the story, however, is how “Uptown Funk” succeeded in making the entire world dance over the past year. The entire world. The planet. All of us. Together. Old people, young people, entire schools full of people. They even made water dance. That’s some powerful stuff.
Needless to say, I’m pretty excited to watch The 58th Annual Grammy Awards, which take place on Feb. 15, 2016.
Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars may take home both Grammy Awards. They may take home one. They may take home none at all (though, don’t count on it). But it’s all the same to me. I feel we’ve all already won.
He’s taught me a brand new dance that I now enjoy with amazing new friends from around the country.
All I care about is that he continues to bring the world that same joy through his music.
If he does, that will be good enough for me.