Haleloke Kahauolopua was born in Hilo on the Big Island. Her mother was active in Hilo's music circles and she and her sisters learned well. She sang in glee clubs in high school but her studies at the University of Hawaii were cut short by World War II.

In 1945, she auditioned for the radio show Hawaii Calls and she performed as a featured vocalist on the show until 1950.

That was when she was discovered by Arthur Godfrey, who took her to New York and put her on his very popular radio show and in a number of Hawaiian extravaganzas staged by the veteran variety performer.

Biographical material from Tony Todaro, The Golden Years of Hawaiian Entertainment (Tony Todaro Pub., 1974).