The LYLAS – Bruno Mars’ sisters take off
The new group’s name is short for Love You Like A Sister, and now sisters (from left) Presley, Jaime Kailani, Tahiti and Tiara hope to follow in their famous brother’s footsteps. They’re recording an album and star in a reality show
Like their famous brother Bruno Mars, sisters Tiara, Tahiti and Presley Hernandez and Jaime Kailani Bayot weren’t just born to sing – they were destined for stardom.
Ranging in age from early 20s to mid-30s, the ladies make up the pop-band The LYLAS, an acronym for “love you like a sister.”
They released their first single, Come Back, and music video last month, and are soon headed to Hollywood for an unscripted docu-series for WE tv, scheduled to air this fall. Cameras will begin to follow them next month as they live and work together on their debut album, while coping with the change in their dynamic relationship as sisters to business partners.
“I think they’re going to laugh,” says Tahiti on what people can expect from the show. “You’ll see sisterhood and that we are a close family.”
“We are four different women who have four different things going on in our lives, but we’re all headed in the same direction toward the same goal,” adds Jaime Kailani. “Me, being that I have a family, I’m juggling having my kids, doing homework, taking them to soccer practice.
We’re in different places in our lives, and hopefully we can be inspiring to women.”
Jaime Kailani, who is the oldest of the six siblings (including brother Eric, who is Bruno’s drummer), naturally is the mother of the group, always making sure everyone has eaten and is taken care of. Shortly after graduating from Kaiser High School, she moved to Los Angeles and continues to live there with husband Jesse and their two children, 14-year-old Marley and 7-year-old Jaimo. In 2007, she founded 4 m.a.m.a. earth, a community organization that raises awareness and funds for various causes through art, music and nature-based activities such as concerts, events, classes and retreats. She also was an aesthetician.
“I moved to L.A. for music and school, but then I had a family, so I kind of went backwards – had my family and am now going for my dreams again,” she says. And if she looks familiar, it’s probably because she was one of Hawaii’s top models before moving away, often seen in print ads for popular local companies, including Local Motion, ABC Stores and Cinnamon Girl.
The other three sisters, who all graduated from Roosevelt High School and live with mom Bernadette in Hawaii Kai, say they are ready to leave Hawaii in pursuit of their dream. Tiara, who is the third child of the six, dropped out of the nursing program at UHManoa, and says as much as she liked learning about nursing, she realized that she didn’t want to be one. “Hospitals scare me, and I’ve turned into such a germaphobe because of it,” she says. “And once I started doing (music), I didn’t want to do anything else.” In addition to singing, Tiara also plays the piano and is known as the “bossy” one in the group, or in the words of her sisters, the “drill sergeant and the most assertive.”
Tahiti, who is the second to the youngest of the six, is a single mom of two children, 3-year-old Nyjah Music and 2-year-old Zyah Rhythm. She worked as a manager for a loan company, and is known as the comedian and peacemaker in the group.
Presley, named after Elvis, of course, is the “baby” of the group, or in her words, “the fun … I try to keep it less serious,” she says with a laugh. “And I’m the hair.” She worked as a waitress at Apartment3 when it closed down last year, making it an easy transition to start this new chapter in her life.
Watching the sisters interact during our exclusive sit-down interview at Longhi’s in Ala Moana Center, it’s clear that they are close – comfortably answering questions, finishing sentences and even correcting each other at times.
It’s also revealed that they have their own style, personality, hobbies and even taste in music.
For fashion, Jaime Kailani opts for an earthy and more conservative look; Tahiti likes to show skin and chooses to wear clothes that are sexy; Tiara is the edgy one, preferring studs, spikes and black; and Presley is the urban chick.
Separately, Jaime Kailani is a reality TV show junkie, Tahiti enjoys doing yoga and going to the beach, Tiara also likes the beach and recently picked up photography, and Presley loves to sleep and is a foodie. “And she loves animals,” the sisters add. “She’ll go to Petco and hang out. She thinks she’s Doctor Dolittle.”
Despite their differences, they were raised with the same value that family is everything. “We probably fight more than we get along, but because we’re sisters, it lasts two minutes,” says Tahiti. “It’s sisterly fights.”
When asked about one of their last arguments, Presley and Tahiti recall a fight over dirty dishes. “So we had an XBOX Kinect dance-off,” says Tahiti, who won the battle. “It was a junk song,” Presley softly chimes in.
The entertainment business is nothing new for The LYLAS. They grew up performing for guests at The Lovenotes Show in Waikiki with parents Bernadette and Peter Hernandez (who have since separated). In one of the show’s segments called The Teen Notes, Jaime Kailani would be on stage singing Da Do Run Run; and when a young Bruno took the stage as Little Elvis, the younger sisters would play his fans and do the twist.
Family gatherings also always included music. They describe their mom’s side of the family as the Filipino side with lots of food and constant karaoke. Dad is the Latin side with congas being played all the time.
“Everywhere we were – riding our bike, driving in a car, we had jingles we would sing,” remembers Tahiti.
“We have a huge family and everybody sings; music was always in our house,” adds Jaime Kailani. “Our mom would always make us harmonize.”
While the passion for music was always in them, the idea of starting a group didn’t happen until about two years ago when they were working on a charity song for the Philippines that was supposed to feature a variety of artists. They met up in the studio to record the bridge of the song and quickly were reminded of something that they probably knew their whole lives – they could sing. They ended up recording the entire song, titled Headed Home (which has not been released), and are halfway done with their first album, which they hope to finish by October.
“I always say this, when your dad is a doctor and he wants you to be a doctor when you grow up, you want to be a rockstar,” says Tiara. “So, when both your parents are rockstars and they want you to be a rockstar, you want to be a doctor. But this is really what our passion was. They were right.”
“Also,” adds Jaime Kailani, “I think being together in a studio and recording and hearing each other was a reality for us that we can do this. And for me, I was in L.A. for awhile, so just to be hanging out with my sisters again and to work with them was such a treat.”
And while they are extremely proud of their brothers and don’t mind being introduced as “Bruno Mars’ sisters,” they are ready to step into their own spotlight.
“We’re trying to do it on our own, but we definitely listen to Bruno,” says Jaime, noting that their musical director was his at one time. “We play him everything and he gives us good advice. Also, seeing Bruno’s success is definitely an inspiration. I feel like he’s doing so much in music right now and it’s kind of paving the way for us to be able to do what we want to do. He’s unorthodox when it comes to music, and that’s kind of where we came from.”
“It’s always an honor when people say, Oh my God, you’re Bruno Mars’ sister,” adds Tahiti. “We’re very proud of him and he’s proud of us, too. So, now we’re just going to do our thing, and people will see we’re our own people too.”
As for the dream, there are many:
“It’s so cool already to see people write ‘Oh my God, I love your song,’ that’s the dream right there, to hear that,” says Tahiti.
“Hearing your song on the radio, being able to do what you love and take care of your family,” answers Jaime Kailani. “If nothing else happens after this, I feel like I kind of did reach my dream already.”
“Come Back” by The LYLAS is available on iTunes, and their music video can be seen on YouTube.
COVER AND INSIDE PHOTOS
Location: Kathy Ireland Weddings and Resorts -Beachfront Oasis
Wardrobe stylist: Lindsey Higa of pineappleice.com
Clothes: Nordstrom Ala Moana
Hair stylists: Abe Rodriguez, Monae Watkins, Lanee Roth from Nueve Salon & Spa
Makeup: Jeannette Rhodes of MUSE Agenci