I’m writing this story in the middle of the night. It’s around 02.00 hrs over here. Dark. It’s still, no sound.
I’d like to tell my story, my thoughts on being an Elvis Tribute Artist.
I’ve been an Elvis fan for about 28 years now. It all started at the age of 11, when I heard Heartbreak Hotel on an old tape recorder. It hit me completely.
That was just months before Elvis Presley passed away in 1977, so that makes me a fan member of the generation AFTER the KING’S death. But that makes no difference with fans who really were already an Elvis fan when Elvis Presley was alive. Even today, the next generation of new Elvis fans will have a wonderful connection with the ““older”” –– fan generation. No difference at all. And that is one of the strongest points of the Elvis fans all around the world.
In my teens, because of Elvis’ music, I was inspired to sing his songs at school parties. When I was 16 years old I was on national television for the first time here in The Netherlands, Europe. That was my first success. Not long after that I really started my career as it is now today.
I went from school parties and fancy fairs to bigger performances in hotels and private parties.
Then, in 1990, a Belgian record company put me on record. And 2 years later I even had a complete album with all my own written songs and new songs from other writers as well ( MAC RECORDS –– Frank Anthony –– Let Rock ‘‘n Roll 2Night ).
But the audiences kept asking me to keep singing the Elvis songs!
Before long, I decided to concentrate more on that, to perform A Tribute To The King only.
Nowadays, “Inspired By....The King” is the theme of my work on the national and international stage.
I have been on Dutch national television on many occasions. I also did the TV commercial for the Holland Casino Netherlands, promoting the American Roulette. I became the model for all merchandise and performed in the Holland Casino, Rotterdam. I also was seen in the BNN documentary of Elvis impersonators in The Netherlands and Belgium.
One highlight in my career was the invitation ( 2000 ) to perform at The Hilton Hotel in Springfield, Illinois U.S.A.
And, worldwide, I’m the only one performing LIVE the mega-hit " A Little Less Conversation " with JXL.
For the 25th anniversary of The King's death, on August 16, 2002, I did a special performance during one of Europe's biggest pop & culture festivals, LOWLANDS (audience of 60,000). capacity 60,000 )
Currently, I’m working on a new C.D. project with top producer Rob Bolland. ( Status Quo, Falco).
And in the last year, I’ve worked on “A Tribute To The King Theatre Tour” (more than 22 shows in Hollands biggest theatres ) fully supported by MOJO Concerts & Theatre. This concert comes in 2 acts.
The first act is Frank Anthony & The Midnight Groovers.
“The Groovers" cover the Blues & R 'n R scenes, and perform an "Unplugged" session, in the style of '68 Comeback Special. This is “Back to the "Roots". Pure, straight from the heart.
In the second part of this show ,The Las Vegas Train Orchestra brings the audience back to Elvis' highlights in the early 70's, “That īs The Way It Is” style.
Several of these musicians are Metropole Orchestra members, and every member of this orchestra has worked with some of the greatest artists like Sting, Celine Dion, Harry Connick Jr., Elvis Costello, Gino Vanelli and Toots Tielemans.
Itīs just fantastic to be on stage backed up by the finest musicians and sing with my 3 back up singers (Sweet Devotion) and to be able to play Elvis īgreatest songs for a live audience. It’s really an honor to pay tribute to Elvis Presley.
During the Tour, the 3-year-old daughter of a friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer. That made it completely impossible for my friend to go on Tour with me. Because of this, I chose to tell about her and sing “Tears In Heaven.” I asked if the audience would think about her during the song, giving her strength in thoughts and prayer. We did this during the whole Tour. Now this child is working hard on her healing process and will go to school this year. She īs got a long way to go but I think the help of the (Elvis) audience has helped her so far.
Also, one night a couple came to me after a concert saying that the show, the Elvis songs and I had helped them during the death process of their father-in-law. Later I heard from them that this man died peacefully after they returned from the show and that, besides all their grief, there was a lot of peace within the family although their loved one passed away, all because of the Elvis music.
A lot of things happen when you’re on the road. I learned a lot during the Tour, and saw that the music of Elvis Presley has a great impact on fans, old and new fan generations, and makes new fans. I’ve seen older fans sing and swing to “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Rip It Up ,” and kids, aged between 7 and 12, sing their lungs out to “You Gave Me A Mountain.”
As an Elvis impersonator you have a big responsibility to your audience. You must and only can do it from your heart. Your soul.
For me, I can say only this: that I thank my wife Laura and my children for all their support in this. Their support is a blessing. Because without the families’ support, it’s a job that can’t be done. That gives me the strength to be myself and to go on and work hard on a new Tour.
There īs just one other thing that I think is really important to say:
Everyone knows there has always been a lot of criticism ( even from the Elvis fans, in Europe anyway ) of Elvis impersonators. Of course, not every impersonation is as good as people want to see but you could say there are a lot of Elvis tribute artists who are doing a really good job out there. Besides, we all agree, I think, that no impersonation can or will ever replace Elvis Presley.
But people must know that the Elvis impersonator is first an Elvis fan; the impersonation or tribute comes second.
His Legend, His Image, and most of all His Music will go on Forever. All around the world.
Regards to you all.