How do you go from being a grocery store manager to performing full time as the King of rock and roll?
You buy some LPs and get singing.
At least that’s what happened in Steve Elliott’s case.
Born in Nanaimo and now living in Chilliwack, Elliott went from overseeing cashiers and shelf stockers to performing for thousands in 2004.
Now, ready to embark on an Island tour, Elliott will be performing at the Lighthouse Community Hall in Qualicum Bay on Nov. 18, and then at Arrowsmith Legion Branch #49 in Parksville on Nov. 25.
Asked how it feels to portray the King, Elliott said, “It gets me all shook up.”
Elliott’s musical talent grew out of his growing interest in ’50s and ’60s music, singing to vinyl records.
Though he hadn’t grown up listening to Elvis, Elliott said his dad’s interest in that era gave him an appreciation for it that has grown in recent years.
“I guess I sort of went back to what was real,” he said. “I love some of the music today, but a lot of it sounds like jingles to me.”
“A lot of the shows today are a lot of pyrotechnics and lot of dancing behind the artists, and Elvis was just, in his early days, it was just him and an old guitar and a three-piece band and he just got everybody going.”
The music resonated with Elliott, who was soon singing along to the vinyls he’d bought, until his wife realized he’s got a good singing voice and told him so.
Elliott took part in Penticton’s annual Elvis Festival in 2004, and the next year won the Top Canadian Tribute title.
After Red Robinson, one of the first disc jockeys to play rock music in Vancouver and the emcee for the 1957 Elvis Presley show in Vancouver, suggested he could make a living as a tribute artist, Elliott did some research. He then quit his job and he’s been a full-time Elvis Presley tribute artist since.
He said the key to impersonating the King starts with your sound and moves on from there.
“First of all, you’ve got to be a singer,” he said.
“Too many people put on suits and just walk out and expect to be Elvis. It doesn’t work that way.”
Then there are the mannerisms, the movements and all the rest that makes up the essence of the rock-and-roll star.
“If you can find that combination, you’ve got some kind of magic that I think people, it’s enough to believe that, ‘Hey, this is just so close to what Elvis was like.’”
Elliott’s Qualicum Bay performance on Nov. 18 is part of a Bowser Seniors Housing Society fundraiser, which includes dinner, a silent auction and and dancing to Elliott’s Elvis tribute.
Tickets are $42 and can be purchased online at www.bshs.ca, at Mulberry Bush Bookstores in Qualicum Beach and Parksville, and at the Salish Sea Market and the Georgia Park Store in Bowser.
To book a table of eight people or more, call 250-757-8117.
Doors open at 6 p.m. All proceeds go to building affordable housing for local seniors.
Branch 49 of the Legion is holding a Christmas with the King event on Nov. 25 at 146 Hirst St. in Parksville, with doors opening at 6 p.m.
Tickets are $22 and can be purchased by calling 250-248-5633.