I’m not a big “Awards Show” watcher, but watching the Grammy Awards is more like watching a really long concert, featuring all the biggest music stars at one time. So, I usually make an exception and watch the Grammy.

Much to my delight (and the delight of many Hawaii folks), Hawaii-local-boy-turned-pop-star Bruno Mars walked away with TWO golden statues at this year’s 58th annual Grammy Awards: Record of the Year for “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for the same song.

Bruno Mars was actually named Peter Gene Hernandez, when he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on Oct. 8, 1985.

It got me wondering — how much do I really know about Bruno Mars and his life back here in Hawaii? I decided to do some digging. And I’ve put together a fun-facts here for you to enjoy:

1. He was born on October 8, 1985 in Honolulu, Hawaii

2. His real name is Peter Gene Hernandez

3. His stage name, “Bruno Mars”, was inspired by the wrestler Bruno Samartino, because as a child Bruno was confident, independent and strong-willed, like the wrestler. The ‘Mars’ came along because girls used to say he was “out of this world”, so he used the planet Mars as his last name.

4. He graduated from Roosevelt High School

5. In Waikiki, Mars’s family performed a Las Vegas-style revue that included Motown hits, doo-wop melodies and celebrity impersonations. In Hawaii, the family formed a music group names the Love Notes.

6. At the age of four, he joined the family musical act as an Elvis impersonator and quickly become one of the stars of the show

Bruno Mars graduated from Roosevelt High School in Honolulu.

7. Growing up, Mars said he was heavily influenced by Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley, and even had the nickname of “Little Elvis”

8. Bruno Mars is of Puerto Rican and Filipino descent

9. When Bruno was 15 years old, he had a crush on his teacher (over twice his age) and he gave her a love letter with his mom’s ring in, which he had stolen from her. The teacher told his mother, and gave her the ring back.

10. His favorite color is maroon, and his favorite song in his collection is “Count on Me.”

11. His father, Pete, was a Latin percussionist from Brooklyn, and his mother, Bernadette (“Bernie”), was a singer

12. His parents met at a show, where his Mom was a hula dancer and his dad a percussionist

13. Bruno’s favorite food is Chicken Adobo, which is typical Filipino food

14. After graduating from high school, Mars decided to leave Hawaii for Los Angeles, California

15. Bruno is one of six children. His sisters, Jaime, Tahiti, Presley and Tiara Hernandez also moved to Los Angeles to star in a reality show called The Lylas (Love you like a sister).

So, the next time you’re strolling or playing in Waikiki, just imagine a young, pint-sized Bruno Mars impersonating Elvis and singing with his family. It wasn’t that long ago. And, THIS local Hawaii boy has never forgotten where he came from!

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