When Bruno Mars collaborated with renowned songwriter Claude Kelly, he was a budding artist eager to pour his emotions into his music. This sentiment was evident in his debut single, “Just the Way You Are.” The willingness to be vulnerable carried over into the writing session with Kelly, Philip Lawrence, Brody Brown, Andrew Wyatt, and Ari Levine, resulting in the creation of “Grenade.” This poignant pop ballad sees Mars navigating a world of pain for the sake of love, expressing sentiments like: “I’d catch a grenade for ya / Throw my hand on a blade for ya / I’d jump in front of a train for ya.”
The song played a pivotal role in establishing Mars as a music superstar. In 2011, it achieved global chart success, including reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and earning diamond certification for exceeding 10 million copies in sales. Below, Kelly shares insights with American Songwriter about the song’s essence and its notable vulnerability.