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From Memphis to Mars started, we did theatres and arenas, but not full

like, ‘Huh?’ They didn’t know I could sing.”

tions in the heart of Texas — there’s more to a

Bomb threats in Honolulu. Arctic-like condi-

arenas. Little clubs, stuff like that. To go from

Which leads to the bigger picture for Whalum.

Bruno Mars tour than just screaming fans. Just

that in 2011, and that was my first tour fresh off

ask former U of M student Kameron Whalum.

of school, to two years later selling out arenas

make a name for himself. He played his first-ever

and playing in the Super Bowl, it is a dream

solo show at the Hard Rock Café in Memphis — a

come true.”

sellout — in February, followed by performances

Whalum is a member of Mars’ live band, the Grammy-nominated Hooligans. The University of Memphis Magazine talked

Whalum has played the Grammys twice,

When he is not on tour, he is busy working to

in Atlanta that received rave reviews.

to Whalum just before the platinum-selling

with Mars and The Hooligans teaming with

group’s 40-plus city Moonshine Jungle Tour

Rhianna and Sting for a three-song tribute to

name. When my stint with Bruno is over, or

that included a sold-old performance at FedEx-

reggae legend Bob Marley at this year’s show.

when I am taking a break, I still want to be

Forum in downtown Memphis in June. “The University was definitely a major boost to my aspirations and to my musical career,”

The group was the halftime headline act at the Super Bowl in February, playing before tens of millions of fans at the game and on TV.

says Whalum, who was a member of the jazz

“It was so cold at the rehearsals, 10 degrees,

band at the U of M and who calls the Scheidt

my trombone froze up,” laughs Whalum. “Luckily,

School of Music “extraordinary.”

it was a pleasant 45 degrees the day of the game.”

A trombonist and singer, Whalum was picked

Besides the Super Bowl, the group has per-

“I want to spread my brand, spread my

relevant. A lot of people don’t know me for my singing unless they go to my church.” Whalum’s life hasn’t been all music. Flash back to 2002. “Ever since I was little, all I wanted to do was to play basketball for the Tigers,” says Whalum. “That was it. I was a ballboy for the Tigers

by Mars to be a part of his band in 2011, just

formed on Saturday Night Live, The Today Show

when I was 11, 12, 13 years old. It was during

out of school.

and another spot that had people saying, “Huh?”

the Antonio Burks era. It was going to be the

“I feel like I joined Bruno right on the tail end of the takeoff,” recalls Whalum. “When I 4

FA L L 2 014

“First time I sang on TV with Bruno was on the Ellen Show,” says Whalum. “People were

Tigers and then the NBA.” But then entered a “Mr. Piecuch.” THE UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS

Profile for University of Memphis


University of Memphis Fall Magazine


University of Memphis Fall Magazine