Bruno Mars swept the top honors at the 2018 Grammys, including Album of the Year for 24k Magic.
Beating out notable entries from Kendrick Lamar (DAMN.), JAY-Z (4:44), Lorde (Melodrama), and Childish Gambino (Awaken, My Love!), Mars, who also won awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, thanked his fellow nominees for their "top-shelf artistry" and "blessing the world with your music." In addition to acknowledging the influence of contemporaries, the superstar singer took a moment to go down memory lane and pay homage to the forefathers responsible for his lauded pop masterpiece.
"So I'm 15 years old and I'm opening up a show in Hawaii called The Magic of Polynesia… My job is to entertain 1,000 people, 1,000 tourists from all over the world. I would put together a set list of like 10-12 songs, and I'll be honest, I was incredible at 15," he recalled, before continuing, "Later on in life, I found those songs that I was singing were either written by either Babyface, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, or Teddy Riley." The influence of the mentioned dynamic trio are sprinkled all throughout the album, including cuts like "Versace on the Floor," "Too Good to Say Goodbye," and "Finesse."
"And with those songs, I remember seeing it, I remember seeing it firsthand people dancing that had never met each other from two sides of the globe, dancing with each other, toasting with each other, celebrating together. All I wanted to do with this album was that. Those songs were written with nothing but joy and for one reason and one reason only and that's love. That's all I wanted to bring with this album…. I'd like to dedicate this award to them. They are my heroes. They are my teachers. They laid the foundation. This album wouldn't exist if it wasn't for these guys."
Revisit where this influence started in our special retrospective on New Jack Swing here.