Author: Lisa Popeil

How Did Bruno Mars Make It?

Bruno Mars was born Peter Gene Hernandez on October 8, 1985, in Honolulu, Hawaii, one of six children from a musical family. His father (a Latin percussionist from Brooklyn, New York) and his mother (a hula dancer and talented vocalist) formed a Vegas-style revue which featured the entire Hernandez family. They performed doo-wop medleys and impersonations for enthusiastic crowds. Peter was nicknamed Bruno at age 2 because of his confident personality and because, as a pudgy baby, he resembled the wrestler Bruno Sammartino. Mars father is Puerto Rican and Eastern European Jewish, while his mother was from the Philippines. At the age of 3, Mars...

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Lady Gaga

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (born March 28, 1986), Lady Gaga was born and raised in New York City. She quickly developed a passion for music, learning to play the piano by ear at 4 and composing her own ballads, taking vocal lessons and started writing songs by the age of 13. A year later she began performing at open mic nights. Working with Christina Aguilera’s vocal coach, Gaga studied classical piano and sang in a classic-rock high school band at Manhattan private school Convent of the Sacred Heart. She performed lead roles in high school productions (including Adelaide in...

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Katy Perry

As we all know, unlike ‘normal’ jobs, there is no direct path to financial independence (aka ‘a job’) as a singer in the commercial music industry. I’ve always been curious about how so-and-so ‘made it’, meaning what was a particular artist’s path to his/her first hit song.  This is my first article of a planned ten hoping to share the highlights of each singer’s journey with some take-away lessons at the end. Katy Perry was born as Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson on October 25, 1984, in Santa Barbara, California, the daughter of two Evangelical pastors. She grew up listening to...

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Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift was born in Reading, Pennsylvania and spent her early years on a Christmas tree farm.  Her father is a a financial adviser with the brokerage firm Merrill Lynch.  At the age of 9, Swift became interested in musical theater, performed in school productions and traveled to New York for vocal and acting lessons.  On the weekends, she performed at fairs, coffeehouses, karaoke contests, Boy Scout meetings and sporting events. When eleven years old, Swift won a local talent competition and had the opportunity to be the opening act for a local Charlie Daniels show. Having won a...

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