Bruno Mars has opened up about his unsuccessful stint with Motown Records as a teenager, admitting his departure from the label felt like "a step back" in his career.
The Grenade hitmaker signed a deal with the company at the age of 18, but the arrangement failed to work out and Mars was left without a contract.
He tells talk show host Piers Morgan, "It was taking a step back. I used to be able to walk into a room and say, 'Hey, I'm Bruno Mars, I'm signed with Motown Records.' Now I have to say, 'I got dropped from Motown Records.' You lose leverage. You lose people believing in you because, then, (they say) 'Why didn't it work?'
"It was like this... 'Hey, we don't want you anymore'. And you know what? It's not Motown's fault. I was too young. I didn't know what it was like.
"I knew I could sing... but there's so much more I had to learn. I didn't come from the recording background. I came from doing live shows and performing with bands and that was my craft. I didn't know what it took to become... to record and be a recording artist. Establish who you are... I don't know if anyone knows who they are at 18 years old."
Bruno Mars, 26, admits being dropped from Motown was an emotional experience, but it gave him the drive he needed to hone his songwriting and producing skills.
He adds, "I might have cried. I might have shed some tears. You definitely have those nights where you feel a little insecure, but I didn't want to give up. My goal was, 'I'm not going to go back home. I'm not going back to Hawaii and face my friends and my family saying it didn't pan out. I've got to do something.' I think I grew. I grew as an artist. I grew as a writer. I wrote songs every day. I started producing. And you know, practise is what you need."
Bruno Mars bounced back from the flop deal and signed with Atlantic Records in 2009.