Long live The King

Dubbo Photo News - - Entertainment. - AS TOLD TO ELLA MCMIL­LAN

It’s al­most 40 years since Elvis Pres­ley died, but as Dubbo is about to find out, The King – or more pre­cisely his mu­sic – lives on. Week­ender spoke with renowned trib­ute artist Mark An­thony ahead of his visit to the city next week­end.

Tell us a bit about your per­sonal and pro­fes­sional back­ground?

I was born and raised in Ade­laide, where as a young boy my ears and eyes were in­tro­duced to the mu­sic and styling of Elvis Pres­ley.

Im­me­di­ately lov­ing this phe­nom­e­non, I im­mersed my­self in ev­ery­thing Elvis and quickly found I had a nat­u­ral tal­ent for im­i­tat­ing The King. It wasn’t un­til 2004 that I de­cided to se­ri­ously and pro­fes­sion­ally por­tray Elvis with as much re­spect as it de­serves.

I come from a very mu­si­cal fam­ily go­ing back to grand­par­ents be­ing in­volved with or­ches­tras.

When and why did you start per­form­ing?

My first ap­pear­ance was a ben­e­fit for a fam­ily mem­ber with leukaemia, and I haven’t stopped per­form­ing since, grow­ing with strength and pop­u­lar­ity as the shows be­came larger. Th­ese days I tour through­out Aus­tralia, Amer­ica, Canada, Malaysia, UK and Europe all year ‘round.

What were the first songs you learned?

I don’t re­ally re­mem­ber. I’ve been an Elvis fan ever since I can re­mem­ber, so I guess it’s just been a part of me from a very young age.

And your fam­ily is mu­si­cally tal­ented also?

As I said, my grand­par­ents were in­volved with or­ches­tras. My Father is a drum­mer and still plays to this day. He has played for more than 50 years. My brother is a gui­tarist; in fact he plays for me in my tour­ing band. His style is so very sim­i­lar to that of James Bur­ton who used to play for Elvis in the 70s.

Which singers do you ad­mire and have learned from? Why?

Frank Si­na­tra, his phras­ing and tim­ing. The Bea­tles, great har­monies; Dean Martin, his ease of singing.

Of course Elvis - he had a way of singing ev­ery line, as if it would go from his mind to his heart and then out the mouth. I be­lieve you need to feel ev­ery word that leaves your lips, oth­er­wise it’s not worth singing. Un­less it’s just a great fun song.

Who was your first teacher and what have been other in­flu­ences?

I guess my father and brother were my first teach­ers. They both in­flu­enced me in the style of mu­sic I ap­pre­ci­ate to­day.

A big in­flu­ence on my mu­sic is Bruce Spring­steen. His story telling is amaz­ing.

What are your fond­est mu­si­cal mem­o­ries?

I think the first time I per­formed at Her Majesty’s Theatre with this show to a sold out crowd, re­ally gave me a sense of achieve­ment. Es­pe­cially since I had cre­ated this show specif­i­cally to be for Elvis fans. I re­ally wanted to put the spot­light back on the man him­self and I guess the fans un­der­stood that. I was very ex­cited and hum­bled and ap­pre­cia­tive of that time.

How were you in­flu­enced by older records and tapes?

I would sit in front of my father’s old turntable – one of the ones where the front would open down and the lid would open up. My brother and I would sit for hours at a time just go­ing through his vinyl al­bums, look­ing and lis­ten­ing in­tently.

Have you com­peted? What is your big­gest ca­reer high­light to date?

I’ve com­peted ex­ten­sively, win­ning nu­mer­ous com­pe­ti­tions around the world. How­ever I don’t com­pete any more. It’s been a few years. I made a prom­ise with a very good friend of mine never to com­pete again. I’m far too busy th­ese days to take the time off.

What’s been the big­gest chal­lenge in your ca­reer?

My big­gest chal­lenge is tak­ing about 70 plane flights a year (laughs). I spend a lot of time in the air.

How do you han­dle mis­takes dur­ing a per­for­mance?

I laugh them off. But they rarely hap­pen. There’s noth­ing you can change or do about a mis­take in life, you can’t change it once it’s hap­pened, so the best thing to do is have fun with it and laugh about it.

Do you get ner­vous be­fore a per­for­mance?

Not any more. I get anx­ious now. I love be­ing out on stage. Prob­a­bly more ner­vous in front of a small crowd than I am a big one. The sound a huge crowd makes is very mo­ti­vat­ing and helps me to per­form at my very best.

What are you look­ing for­ward to most about com­ing to Dubbo?

I’m look­ing for­ward to be­ing able to

“I be­lieve you need to feel ev­ery word that leaves your lips, oth­er­wise it’s not worth singing.

take a good look around. Hope­fully I’ll have time. Usu­ally we just fly in, per­form, and fly out. So hope­fully I get time to take in the sights.

How of­ten and for how long do you prac­tice for shows like this?

We have been in re­hearsals for about a month now.

How do you bal­ance your mu­sic with other obli­ga­tions?

I have a seven year old daugh­ter in Ade­laide so as much as pos­si­ble I try to get back to spend time with her.

Do you think you’d be en­dorsed by the man him­self?

Not sure about the man him­self but Elvis Pres­ley En­ter­prises has en­dorsed me. There’s only about seven of us they have done that for, I think.

What’s the trick to get­ting the Amer­i­can ac­cent down pat?

I’ve al­ways had a knack of be­ing able to imitate ac­cents so it comes eas­ily to me. Plus, I have spent many years per­form­ing in the US and be­ing around them you tend to end up sound­ing like them.

Have you ever met other Elvis trib­ute singers? What was that like?

Yes I am friends with many of them. In fact I think I’ve met most of them and still re­main in con­tact them all. We are all very good friends.

What type of prepa­ra­tion goes into be­ing a suc­cess­ful trib­ute artist?

Sac­ri­fice. A lot of dol­lars spent on get­ting the cor­rect cos­tumes made by the same peo­ple who made Elvis’, that kind of thing, in­stru­ments etcetera. But mostly it’s a bit of a sac­ri­fice from the nor­mal life.

Do you think there will ever come a day when you get tired of the songs?

I will never get tired of Elvis mu­sic. That’s the rea­son I chose to per­form as the King – its time­less mu­sic and al­ways so much fun to per­form.

Do you have any funny sto­ries from ex­pe­ri­ences on or off stage?

I fre­quently go into a big story on stage about the next song that’s com­ing up and then af­ter a few min­utes of talk­ing about the song I then turn to the band and they are shak­ing their head at me say­ing “that’s not the next song”.

Mark An­thony will be per­form­ing at the Dubbo Re­gional Theatre and Con­ven­tion Cen­tre on Fri­day, Fe­bru­ary 5 from 8pm in Elvis – If I Can Dream.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.