The History of Hawai‘i From Our Files: From Young-Kid Time, Bruno Mars Was Captivating Audiences and Hearts

HONOLULU Magazine emerged from predecessor Paradise of the Pacific, which began in 1888, fulfilling a commission by King Kalākaua. That makes this the oldest continuously published magazine west of the Mississippi with an enviable archive worth diving into each month. Here’s a look back at December 1991.


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Photo: Courtesy of Joe Solem



Bruno Mars has been drippin’ in finesse since he could pop a hip and curl a lip like Elvis. In 1991, 6-year-old Bruno Hernandez did his schoolwork, played Nintendo and took naps like many of his other Koko Head Elementary classmates. He also impersonated The King on stage and in movies.


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HONOLULU outlines Mars’ musical journey. He started performing at the age of 2 with the Love Notes, a doo-wop band led by his dad, Peter Hernandez. Mars’ mom also contributed to the Roosevelt High School alum’s singing genes: She held her own as a singer with the High Notes, the girl counterpart to the Love Notes. Still, HONOLULU says that Bruno was “a little nervous” upon returning from filming Honeymoon in Vegas, his big-screen debut, because “he’s the only Elvis with a singing scene.” HONOLULU adds that he “might like to be an actor someday.”


We’re happy young Bruno changed his mind. Can you imagine how sad karaoke sessions would be without “24K Magic”? Currently, the singer-songwriter is flooding streaming channels with soulful songs from Silk Sonic—a collaboration project with Anderson. Paak. But as he invites us to “Leave the Door Open” today, in 1991, he definitely wasn’t a ladies man. He tells HONOLULU: “Some girls chase me. One girl came up to me and said, ‘Can I have your autograph?’” He didn’t give it because he didn’t have a pen.


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Learn more about the evolution of covers in HONOLULU Magazine and Paradise of the Pacific: 125 Years of Covers, available at



Find more photos from Honolulu’s past every Thursday on Instagram @honolulumag.