Grammy Winner Bruno Mars Set for CBS's SUNDAY MORNING, 12/9

Grammy Winner Bruno Mars Set for CBS's SUNDAY MORNING, 12/9

Grammy-winning artist Bruno Mars was heard on radio more than any other male singer last year. Yet, despite the success, some critics call him too sugary, too soft and too schmaltzy. But Mars tells Lee Cowan on CBS SUNDAY MORNING WITH Charles Osgood he doesn't care what the critics say.

"They can go to hell," he says bluntly in an interview to be broadcast on CBS SUNDAY MORNING Dec. 9, 2012 (9:00 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network. "It doesn't bother me. It's just 'shut up,' you know? 'You write the song then.' That's how I feel."

In a short time, Mars has gone from a singer dropped by Motown Records to become one of the biggest selling artists of his time. His singles "Grenade" and "Just the Way You Are" both reached #1 on the Billboard charts and are two of the best-selling digital singles ever.

He was born Peter Jean Hernandez on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. His dad nicknamed him Bruno after a popular wrestler. Music was the family business. Mars grew up with his father and uncle performing in a Vegas-style '50s musical revue. It was there he got his first experience, at age 4, as an Elvis impersonator. When he was 18, Mars moved to Los Angeles, where he joined his brother to chase his dream of being a singer. He landed a deal with Motown Records, but was dropped before putting out an album. Returning to Hawaii was tempting, but he resisted. Instead, he pawned his guitars to get by.

"If I had moved back to Hawaii, I felt I never would have made it back up here," he tells Cowan. "I would have been at the Polynesian Revue with a ukulele and an Aloha shirt, probably singing Elvis tunes – again."

Instead, he teamed with two other songwriters, Phillip Lawrence and Ari Levine, with the goal to write a hit song. "We knew we could do it," Mars says. "If we kept going, if we kept trying, if we kept pushing, we are going to write a song that's going to change our lives."

In a wide-ranging interview, Mars discusses the inspiration for his new album, being arrested in 2010 for cocaine possession, and never giving up.

"All those hard times, if feels like it goes to show that if you put in the world and you don't stop believing," he says, "it can happen."

Cowan's profile of Mars will be broadcast Dec. 9, 2012 on CBS SUNDAY MORNING (9:00 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network. Rand Morrison is the executive producer.