That was Las Vegas, Nevada. Walking onto the strip, with the bright lights and action I felt this was for real.
It wasn’t until I took the industry more seriously, and got into shape, that things started happening for me. With hard work and determination I was able to secure 5 prestigious titles in Elvis Tribute Competitions in less than a year and a half (Brantford, Penticton, Collingwood, Cloverdale and Las Vegas).
It was 1999 and I was on the job site. The lady of the house gave me a glass of lemonade. “Here you go Elvis.” I said, “Pardon?” “Yes, I’ve been telling my friends and family that Elvis is working in my yard. You look so much like him.” This wasn’t the first time this had been pointed out to me. Lately it seemed everywhere I went, at least once a day someone would say, ‘You look like Elvis.’ I knew I could sing somewhat and I decided to give this a try. I watched Elvis videos, listened to Elvis songs, purchased tracks, rehearsed and the rest is history. I began to do small gigs, and they would inevitably lead to larger venues.
I made the journey to the Collingwood Elvis Festival in 1999 to see what it was all about. I was impressed with the Festival and decided to enter again in 2000. I was named Consolation Winner. That inspired me to enter the next 2 years in the Non-Professional Division where I earned the finalist position. In 2003, I was determined to take home the Grand Champion Title. What a feeling! All my hard work was paying off. From 1999 to the present I have entered various contests in Canada and the United States with success, and have met a lot of wonderful people along the way.
Throughout the various Festival and Competitions, I’ve had the honour and pleasure of meeting and performing with some of the dignitaries associated with this industry, the likes of the Jordanaires (not recognizing him at the time, I asked Ray Walker of the Jordanaires to fetch me a bottle of water before my performance, and later realized he was part of the famous quartet), and D J Fontana (I was headlining with Appaloosa at a festival in Penticton BC and D J sat in for a handful of songs, with me introducing him to the audience as D J “Montana”, just nerves I guess), Joe Esposito, Darwin Lamm, Doc Franklin, and Kathy Westmoreland.
All of these moments will be memorable for the rest of my life. Another aspect of the industry which I really enjoy is meeting the fellow Tribute Artists, each one with his own unique personification of The King. They keep The Elvis Festivals thriving. I really enjoy the camaraderie.
The Fans, what more can I say. I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart.
And though you have heard it many times before, all of this would not be possible if not for the one and only King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Aaron Presley.
For Today, Tomorrow and Forever, Que Sera Sera what will be will be.
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