My last few columns have focused on performers and ETA’s who are talented veterans with years of experience, so this month I thought I’d take a look at a relative “newcomer” who is just starting out -- a young ETA, who is already making quite a name for himself and who has a bright, bright future ahead of him. Read on!!

Since his initial debut at the Elvis-A Rama, Justin has also been a popular performer at the San Remo in Las Vegas, as part of a show called “All Shook Up” -- featuring songs and impressions of Elvis from the ‘50's to the ‘70's.

In addition, Justin has been on the cover of USA Today, in various Las Vegas magazines, on the Travel Channel, and has had so many interviews he can’t remember everyone who has interviewed him. He has been in a music video and he has also been traveling to other venues outside Las Vegas. For example,he has been touring recently with Jamie’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Legends and has also performed at the Creekside Theatre in British Columbia, Canada, on the same bill as Canadian ETA Wally Tiemer (Wally by the way was highly impressed with Justin and says,
“Justin is a great performer, very accurate as the young Elvis, and a lot of fun to work with.”).


Last January, Justin, along with DJ Fontana, Shawn Klush, and Ryan Pelton, was part of the annual Elvis Birthday Tribute Show which toured the Mid-West and played in theatres to large audiences. I asked Justin about this experience and he mentioned the sheer excitement....how exciting it was to be part of the show, to perform in front of these large audiences, and to be in the company of fellow ETA’s such as Shawn and Ryan...both of whom were friendly and asked him questions and answered his own questions. He says he really enjoyed the experience–and he reports that it was great to be able to ask the legendary DJ Fontana to autograph a set of drumsticks for his younger brother, the drummer!

I asked Justin what kind of reactions he gets from fans who see his performances and what compliments he’s received.....he was reluctant to “brag about himself” until I reassured him that it was OK to tell me about nice things fans have said to him......so he mentioned that after every single performance someone in the audience comes up to him and asks if he is lipsynching (he definitely
isn’t..but he sounds that good!). In fact, one email I received from a fan who saw Justin in Las Vegas mentions exactly that.

“The one thing that stands out so vividly in my mind is when he came out on stage in Las Vegas and began singing, we were so upset as we first thought that we had paid to watch someone "lipsync!” He was almost finished with the first song before we realized that he was really singing. He really was that good! He's just a natural...nothing seems forced or rehearsed. It's just like he opens his mouth and Elvis comes out! He also moves a lot like Elvis. He's cute and shy acting, but has that same appeal that always attracted women to Elvis. We've seen a lot of the best, but were definitely impressed by him. He just had something special....he can have the crowd rockin' with the fast songs, or swooning at the slow songs.”

To hear Justin sing,
Baby I Don’t Care, click here:

Another question I asked Justin, who is just at the beginning of his career, was what he would consider the best advice he’s received so far and he said, “to look after myself, stay in shape, and stay away from drugs”....wise advice for all of us..and don’t we wish Elvis had been given the same advice! Justin told me also that as part of “staying in shape,” he goes to the gym most days and works out for about two hours each time..before heading off to work in the late afternoon.

Over the past year, the name “Justin Shandor” has kept cropping up -- usually along with comments such as “you should see him” or “you should hear him” or “have you seen him?” or simply “wow!” A couple of months ago, Justin made his debut on ETARadio singing “Can’t Help Falling in Love and I could immediately hear his singing talent, so I decided to learn more about Justin and find out what he’s been up to in recent months.

Justin, l9, is based in Las Vegas where he has been performing regularly at the Elvis-A-Rama Museum. He is part of a musical family–his father is a traveling jazz musician, and he tells me his younger brother, age l4, is developing into quite a drummer! Originally from Dearborn, Michigan, Justin and his family moved to Las Vegas when he was l6 years old. At that time Justin’s goal was to pursue his musical interests....piano (which he has played since age 9), song writing, gospel and R & B music. I don’t think he could have predicted then what would develop!!

As Justin was too young, at age l6, to perform in bars and casinos, he thought he’d try his hand at singing an “Elvis song.” He had developed a liking for Elvis and his music after listening to an Elvis tape that his mother had bought for his father (when Justin was 12 years old) and knew a couple of songs. So, off he went to the Elvis-A-Rama Museum and asked owner Chris Davidson if he could sing a song or two. Chris was bowled over by what he heard and immediately recognized Justin’s talent, even though as Justin told me himself, “I knew nothing and had no ‘moves’.” Justin was hired on the spot to perform regularly at Elvis-A-Rama, and word of his talent quickly spread throughout Las Vegas and beyond.

Since then Justin has mastered over 100 Elvis songs and has the “moves” and mannerisms down to perfection. I asked Justin if he watched other ETA’s and learned from them. His answer was an emphatic, “No, I watch
Elvis!.” And that’s obviously paid off! Justin has carefully studied Elvis’ videos, early movies, and recordings -- and, as many are discovering, his voice, moves and mannerisms are uncanny and his tremendous raw talent is reminiscent of the young, innocent, shy Elvis who took the world by storm. As one fan reports, “The natural ability is surely there. He comes across as very shy on stage...has a lot of Elvis' mannerisms (playing with the ring on his finger, little nervous grin, etc.), but boy can that guy move on the fast songs!”

Allpics below courtesy of Elvis-A-Rama.

One of Justin’s goals for the future is to record a CD of some of the lesser-known more sentimental Elvis songs. He’d also like to start traveling to various venues, and he’d like, eventually, to break into acting as a serious actor. At this time, he has no interest in entering contests, but he did enter one when he was l7 years old just to see what it was all about and he won first place (so watch out, if he decides to enter another contest!!).

I have no doubts that Justin will reach his goals.....and I also have no doubts that you’ll be hearing a lot more about the very talented and very personable Justin Shandor as he makes his mark on the ETA world and beyond. Word of Justin’s talent is already spreading!Don’t forget to catch one of Justin’s shows if you’re in Las Vegas or on his current tour route...you’ll be be impressed!



Details:

www.justinshandor.com

Justin’s current tour schedule:
Holiday Inn, Tulsa, OK until September l4: 918-627-7000.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Legends, Oregon: 503-703-8655