WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - When he was in high school Bruno Mars was Bruno Hernandez, and the opening act for the Magic of Polynesia show.
At the Grammy Awards Sunday, Mars gave props to his high school gig at the Beachcomber Hotel.
"So I'm 15 years old and I'm opening up a show in Hawaii called the Magic of Polynesia," he said.
"He could have mentioned anything and he mentioned us," magician John Hirokawa said.
He vividly remembers Bruno's uncanny ability to instantly connect with a crowd and get it fired up before the magic show started.
"He just rocked! I'd never seen something like that before in my entire life. People were dancing on the tables and going crazy," he said.
"I would put together a set list of like 10-12 songs, and I'll be honest, I was incredible at 15," Mars joked with the Grammy audience.
Former Magic of Polynesia choreographer Tunui Tully said Bruno was hot stuff even at that young age.
"I remembered watching him, how he responded to the audiences," he said.
He remembers Mars' professionalism. Bruno would show up right after school, do his homework between sets, and outwork everybody.
"I went back to the Magic of Polynesia dancers and started yelling at them saying, 'This guy works so hard. He's singing. He's out-dancing the dancers behind him," Tully said.
Mars performed with Magic of Polynesia throughout high school. The showroom was like a second home.
"At 15 he was explosive. He was dynamic. He had everything," Hirokawa said.
"We tried to give him a day off, but he still said, 'I gotta come in. I gotta work. I can't stay home,'" Tully said.
Hirokawa knew Bruno was a show stopper, so from time to time he'd let him headline their show.
"You would see the teenagers or the younger generation, not so much the older ones but the young generation just pop and be totally in awe," he said.
Bruno swept six Grammy Awards for his album "24K Magic." For his fans in Hawaii it was mention of his Magic of Polynesia days that was pure gold.