Elvis Tribute Artists Radio


Pete Paquette
from Ontario, Canada

And Here Comes Pete...!!

Last year at my high school, we had a contest called VCIdol, the idea taken from "American Idol." After I had won the contest, my friends had a completely new image of me and what I do. Hopefully I got some of them to like Elvis.”

Pete also speaks highly of ETA’s he’s seen or met recently: “Some of the ETA's that I look up to are people like Gino Monopoli who is a great person and always makes you feel at ease when you are around him. He has great appreciation for his fans, and his love for Elvis is pure. I saw Stephen Kabakos perform in Collingwood. He was fantastic. Another person I look up to is Marcus Wells who I admire a lot. He has a very down-to-earth sense of humour. His love for Elvis and his fans is incredible and his voice is astonishing. Last, but not least, is Shon Carroll. Shon is a man who is very down to earth and his respect for Elvis is unreal. He has been very inspirational to me and surely to other people as well – he is a true ETA."

Finally, I asked Pete how he studies and practices “doing Elvis.” He says,
“It’s a secret!” (Whatever it is, it’s working!)

You’ll be hearing a lot more about Pete Paquette as he makes his mark . He’s definitely a rising star. On top of that, he’s just so likeable! And, as his growing numbers of fans from Collingwood, Brantford, and Montreal will tell you....he’ll reel you in!

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Well, every once in a while a talented and charismatic young entertainer appears on the scene and you just know he’s on the threshold of something big!

I first saw 17-year old Pete Paquette at the Collingwood Elvis Festival last July. It was the first festival he’d ever been to or competed in. But even before seeing him perform, I’d picked him from the photos in the program booklet as “a winner.” He just had “that something.” Shortly after looking at his photo, I noticed Pete standing nearby, with a crowd already milling around asking for his autograph -- and the Festival hadn’t even started yet. His charisma was just reeling them in!

Later, when I saw Pete’s performances and heard him sing during the Collingwood weekend, I knew for sure he was a winner. Polished beyond his years and with a natural ability to sing, move and sound like the young Elvis, Pete just “has it” and, as Elvis himself once said, “You either have it or you don’t.” In Collingwood, at his first festival and contest ever, Pete made his mark by making the contest finals, placing in the top 7 in the non-professional category (and based on his outstanding performance in the finals, there were many, including me, who were fully expecting him to win).

I next saw Pete at the Brantford Elvis Fest where, as in Collingwood, his TALENT, charisma, TALENT, likeable personality, and TALENT, endeared him very quickly to the fans. Based on his stellar performances in this contest, Pete placed first in the non-professional category and when his win was announced there was a resounding roar of approval from the audience.

The next I heard of Pete was just before LadyLuck Music’s September Showcase in Montreal. One of the participants had to cancel just before the Showcase, and Pete was invited in his place. I looked forward to hearing the reaction of the fans and others in Montreal ....and it was just as I thought it would be! Here is the feedback from Joanna Johnson and Jim Redmond of LadyLuck Music/ETARadio, longtime musicians and Elvis/ETA aficionados themselves.

"Pete was just terrific. Jim (Redmond) and I were absolutely floored. He has one of the best young Elvis voices we've heard, and his confidence was just like a pro's...he created a real buzz in Montreal. He showed us what the fans in Ontario had been raving about." -- Joanna Johnson

And here’s what a fellow Showcase performer had to say:

“I was very impressed with his talent. He knew his way around a guitar like it was second nature..... when I finally got a chance to sit in the back and watch him I was like, “Wow!” His sound is definitely one the others will remember ......Pete will definitely be a force to be reckoned with in the business as long as he keeps it real..that’s what important..to keep it real, be yourself ...and Pete is definitely on the right track. As an Elvis fan, I know I can’t wait to see him progress and grow into this business!” – Jesse Aron

Click here to hear Pete sing That’s All Right Mama live from LadyLuck’s Montreal Showcase.

Click here to hear Pete sing Little Egypt (from the movie Roustabout) live from LadyLuck’s Montreal Showcase.

Pete is presently a student at Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute in Ontario, Canada, where he will be finishing Grade 12 in January 2004. He is an accomplished piano player, and has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He also works part time after school at a video store and is known to perform occasional Elvis shows in his local area.

It’s always interesting to hear what it is that starts someone on the ETA path. In Pete’s case, he was inspired by a TV commercial he saw when he was just 6 years old (advertising the Elvis Presley video collection - ‘68 Comeback, One Night With You, Aloha from Hawaii) and at age 7 he started performing as Elvis.

Pete is definitely an Elvis fan and he says, “I like Elvis as a singer and a performer. Everything that he accomplished has changed the way I look at performing on stage. So far, he has been the biggest influence of my life. When I talk, listen to, or hear Elvis, I am happy.”

Pete also says, “Collingwood was my first competition ever. It was my first festival celebrating Elvis. Before Collingwood, I never knew there was such a thing as an 'Elvis Contest.' If I had known about these events each year, I would have participated in them at an earlier age. Throughout ten years of doing Elvis, I have performed in Resto Bars, Fashion Shows, TV Telethons, Country Fairgrounds, private parties, etc.”

I asked Pete about his experiences at three different Elvis events he’s taken part in during the last few months. He recalls:

“The Collingwood Elvis festival was a fantastic 'Elvis' experience. I do not recall having a better trip in my life. What I loved about the place was the idea that everyone in the town was involved in the festival. The people there were extremely enthusiastic, and meeting Elvis celebrities such as DJ Fontana and Joe Esposito was an honour for me.

My experience at the Brantford Elvis Fest was just as good as the one in Collingwood because it was a very tight and fun competition. The first night on Thursday, I was lucky to be given the opportunity to perform 'Jailhouse Rock' with Gino Monopoli and other ETA's. There I sang with the Memphis Heat Band. When the preliminaries came on Saturday, I was thrilled to see that the stage looked exactly like the one in the movie 'Loving You.' There I got the chance to do a perfect re-creation of the song 'Got A Lot of Living To Do.' I was told by the fans that they felt like they were literally in the movie 'Loving You' at that time. I especially loved the gathering of all ETA's at the Best Western Hotel at the end of each night throughout the competition. There we sang Elvis karaoke songs till about 2 a.m. In the end, on Sunday, being called upon to receive first prize was a great feeling. I could not have asked for a better ending at the festival.

The Montreal LadyLuck Showcase was absolutely fantastic! I don't think that I have ever bonded as well with other ETA's as I did throughout those two nights. The ETA's were nice to me, very supportive and very positive throughout the whole show. It was interesting seeing other Elvis Tribute Artists performing half-hour shows on stage besides me alone. I had a great deal of fun sitting in the lovely limousine with all of the ETA's. It was truly a great experience for me. Bringing my sister along to see the shows hasn’t yet made her an official Elvis fan, but she liked the whole 'Elvis show biz' experience. She was very supportive as well. To sum up those two nights–it was fabulous! I would love to have the chance to do it again some time in the near future.”

Pete’s experiences with contests in the past few months have only made him more enthusiastic and he definitely plans to enter more Elvis competitions in the future! I asked him about compliments he’s received so far and he says: “So far I have received many compliments from many different people. People from Collingwood thought I was Stephen Kabakos' brother, as it seemed that I somewhat look like him and also because I re-create a good young Elvis like he does or used to. Most of the compliments I had were, ‘You'll go far in life,’ ‘Keep it up,’ ‘Wow, you’re good!’, ‘How old are you?’, ‘It was like being in the movie,’...etc. To each and every individual who has supported me, I would like to say ‘Thanks!’ It really means a great deal to me.”

Pete says that he loves performing as an ETA as his performances give him self-confidence and provide him with a fresh outlook on life the next day. He also likes the fact that being an ETA allows him to share his love for Elvis with other people.

I asked Pete what his family and friends think of all this. He replied: “My family has never been as interested in Elvis as I am. They like Elvis but there are some days when my father and my two sisters, Melissa, age 20, and Priscilla, age 23, get sick and tired of hearing about him. My mother, on the other hand, has loved Elvis ever since she was a young girl. You should know that one of the reasons she puts up with seeing or hearing about Elvis day in and day out is because she finds him good looking. Even though my mom had seen that I had an interest in music as a child, she never thought that she would one day see her son perform as an Elvis Presley Tribute Artist. As for my friends, over the years they have adapted to me liking Elvis.