Journalist Bruno Mars: From writing the news to being in it

By Meilin Quinn

Rough Rider, (Honolulu, Hawaii)

With 18 Grammy nominations, a net worth of $70 million, and a Halftime Show at the 2014 Super Bowl, it is safe to call Bruno Mars Roosevelt [High School]’s most successful alumni. But you probably didn’t know he is also a notable RHS journalist.

That’s right, alumnus Peter Hernandez (aka Bruno Mars) had his own column in The Rough Rider, back in 2003. Just think–if he wasn’t already winning Grammys, he’d be winning Pulitzer prizes for journalism.

In his monthly column, “Peter’s Playground”, Mars explored the issues and happenings of campus. “The music was bumpin’ and the cafeteria was jumpin’. It was a night to remember; a night filled with good ol’ fashion booty shakin’,” he wrote in a story on the Welcome Back Dance.

Lori Hamel, the news writing adviser at the time, remembers Peter Hernandez to this day.

“He had a difficult time with deadlines,” Mrs. Hamel confessed. “The editors would go crazy, he was always stressing them out”. “ [Nonetheless] He had a great sense of humor,” “His writing had its own voice and style, and he was always coming up with creative ideas”.

Yes Riders, singer/songwriter Bruno Mars’ days as a Ruppers staff member foretold his tremendous future success. It looks like he always had a knack for writing.

“Just when I thought the date was over and I could take her home she says “I’m hungry let’s go eat.” Now I have to eat with her too? So I take her to one of those 24 hour places and she’s ordering up a storm. I couldn’t believe it. What do I look like a freggin’ bank?” he ranted in a story on dating.

Ultimately, Bruno Mars’ creative writing skills show in the songs he writes. He did grow up in a musical background after all. Sandra Tsukiyama, whose son was good friends with Bruno, remembers his talent and passion for music.

‘My son and Peter had a gift for freestyle rapping. They could rap about anything on the spot, and it would still flow and make sense,’ Tsukiyama said. ‘They would always be singing and playing music after school; usually the drums and bass guitar.’

In fact, Mrs.Tsukiyama remembers several instances when the police arrived due to complaints of noise.

‘I tolerated it, because I knew all good musicians had to start somewhere,’  Tsukiyama said.

I wonder what those neighbors think now after having complained about the Bruno Mars?

We all know Bruno Mars writes fantastic music, and is a great success as a performer. Clearly, he has heaps of talent, but who knows? Maybe his time spent as a high school journalist contributed, in some measure, to the pursuit of his songwriting?

Image Credit: Rough Rider

About Grace Masback

Grace Masback, 17, aspires to give voice to the voiceless and holds the modest ambition of becoming the voice of Gen Z. Frustrated by the dearth of impactful platforms for teen journalists, she founded WANT, a news, sports, and entertainment website that aggregates the best in high school journalism from school newspapers and teen bloggers around the world (

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