HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It may be hard to believe, but there was a time when Bruno Mars worried the Blaisdell Arena was too big for him.
More than two decades after turning heads as "Little Elvis," the Roosevelt graduate returns home an international superstar.
Bruno Mars' road to the Super Bowl and super stardom started in Waikiki showrooms as a talented toddler. His dad Peter Hernandez told us, "He was the star of the show and I had him on a platform because you could barely see him on the stage he was so tiny."
The world's youngest Elvis impersonator stole the show from his father's 18-piece Doowop group the Love Notes by mastering the King of Rock's moves. He started studying his Dad's tapes when he was 3. Peter says, "He would take that tape. Sometimes I'd get up to use the restroom at 3 a.m. There he was standing there, moving his hips and I would say son, you've got to go to sleep and he'd say wait, just one more minute. I've almost got it and he did the same with Michael Jackson."
His dad thought hitting the jackpot would be to headline in Las Vegas. Bruno had bigger plans.
In a Hawaii Moving Company interview, a 13-year-old Bruno told interviewers his goal, as he said, "Hopefully be a famous entertainer."
His proud pop said, "Bruno somehow deep in his soul, feels like he knew from a very young age that he was going to conquer the world with his music.
Man, it was like a meteor jumping from level to level and I watched him play rooms this size."
The room Hernandez was referring to could only fit 10 people comfortably. That's sure changed.
At 17, Bruno left a successful showbiz career in Hawaii for Hollywood, and a long climb to the top of the charts."It wasn't on my time" he told former Hawaii News Now reporter Teri Okita before winning his first Grammy in 2011.
Bruno didn't want to come home to Hawaii a failure. His determination to "make it' on his terms paid off with back to back hits "Nothing on You" and "billionaire" and homecoming concert in 2010.
In a WMG Documentary called "Coming Home" in 2010, Bruno describes his big moment, saying "They called and asked if I would do a Hawaii concert. I thought sure. I can see family. They said the Blaisdell Arena. I said, oh that's big. I don't know if I can handle all that. But it sold out."
Now 28, Bruno returns home again for three sold out shows, boosted by his record setting Super Bowl halftime show.
His proud pop explains the significance of that show, saying, "I knew if you didn't know the name Bruno Mars and you hadn't seen a concert, you got a taste of what this young man was all about and I knew this was going to be another pinnacle point that will take him from here to here."
See more of Tannya's one on one interview with Peter Hernandez after Bruno's Friday night concert at the Blaisdell. He'll share more details about Bruno's breakout performance at the Super Bowl and what gave him chicken skin, Friday on Hawaii News Now at 10. To view a slideshow of Bruno growing up in Hawaii click here: http://bit.ly/RtDWOC