Bruno Mars friends remember pop star in his youth

By Moanike'ala Nabarro
Published On: Apr 18 2014 07:00:00 PM HST

Long before the Bruno Mars shook up the music business with chart-topping hits and a show-stopping performance at the Super Bowl, he was already turning heads.

HONOLULU -

It's no secret Hawaii is all abuzz about Bruno Mars. The Roosevelt High School graduate and Grammy award winning singer/songwriter is back at home for three sold out concerts at the Neal Blaisdell Arena.

Long before the pop star shook up the music business with chart-topping hits and a show-stopping performance at the Super Bowl, he was already turning heads.

Click here for Moanike'ala Nabarro's report.

Little Bruno stole hearts at the Aloha Bowl back then as a pint-sized Elvis impersonator. He was the crown jewel of his family's music show, the Love Notes at the Sheraton Waikiki.

Alison Maldonado and Connie Hovland were former members of the group and say Bruno's big time talent was clear.

"He made it new each time. I would look at him and think like wow! He didn't miss a beat and he was like five [or] six. He loved to perform. He's incredible," said Connie.

Connie and Alison sang alongside Bruno's late mother in the show and say he takes after her tireless work ethic.

Last year Bernadette Hernandez passed away unexpectedly.

"Heartbreaking blow for Bruno losing mom. With Bruno making it and the way she looked at him, and he had bought this house for her. It was like to get to that point and now, for the rest of it -- it was just," said Connie.

They say Bernie always knew her son was destined for stardom.

"You'd feel her watching him. Sometimes she'd mumble under her breath, 'Uh, where did he get that from?' because he would do something that was just amazing," said Alison.

Bruno's talent continued blossoming into his teenage years, hitting all the right notes. Nancy Bernal managed the young teenager when he joined local group Dis Guyz in 2002. Who can forget that hair!

"When he let it go, it was just free. Good looking boy. He always had a charming smile, but the afro was his signature when he was a teenager," said Nancy.

All these years later, even with a change up in his do, the charming boy from the islands is coming home to the place where he launched his career decades ago.

"I'm proud of him and I'm proud to have worked with him and to have known him for so many years. I think Hawaii's proud of him too," said Nancy.

Hawaii is the first stop on Bruno's second leg of his Moonshine Jungle World Tour.

After his Hawaii shows, his next stop is California.

Don't forget to upload your Bruno Mars photos to u local on KITV.com or by using the KITV iPhone or Android apps.

Bruno Mars Hawaii Years: The Insider's Guide

See pictures of Bruno Mars over the years.

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