Cover story: Elle-vis is in the house for Cooly Rocks On ...

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY -

AC­QUE­LINE Feilich’s most prized pos­ses­sion and clos­est con­nec­tion to Elvis Pres­ley is a hand­ful of signed Po­laroids of the King him­self.

‘‘This women used to fol­low him, snap him with Po­laroids, wait and call him over,’’ Feilich says.

‘‘He would oblige and sign them. I own the orig­i­nal (pho­tos that were used in news­pa­pers) which is amaz­ing.’’

The Po­laroids, along­side Pres­ley’s gui­tar picks, CDs and vinyl records, rib­bon tick­ets from his gigs and ‘‘ev­ery book that was ever writ­ten’’ about him, live in ‘‘the Elvis room’’ in­side Feilich’s Syd­ney home.

‘‘I am not just a singer and a fan, but I am a mas­sive and mad col­lec­tor,’’ she says, laugh­ing. ‘‘I’m a lit­tle bit ob­sessed I would say.’’ Feilich’s ob­ses­sion be­gan when she was aged three. was one of the lul­la­bies her fa­ther sang to her.

‘‘That one caught my at­ten­tion. I knew it was al­ways go­ing to be a part of me some­how,’’ she says.

It wasn’t un­til New Years Eve 2006 that she re­alised how her al­liance with Pres­ley would un­ravel.

Dressed in black leathers ‘‘like Elvis did in ’68’’, Feilich per­formed her first gig singing Pres­ley cov­ers to back­ing tracks at a Syd­ney RSL club.

A whirl­wind 2007 fol­lowed for the fe­male Elvis trib­ute artist, who trav­elled to Las Vegas where she placed sec­ond in an Elvis singing com­pe­ti­tion.

Big book­ings and over­seas gigs came next for a Syd­ney-based Feilich, who has had the hon­our of singing four times in Grace­land, Pres­ley’s white man­sion home in Mem­phis, Ten­nessee.

‘‘Now I mostly work with a sev­en­piece band. I love it ev­ery day. I still pinch my­self. I can’t be­lieve peo­ple pay me for this,’’ she says. Feilich will per­form her show,

for 1950s and ’60s nos­tal­gia fes­ti­val Cooly Rocks On next week.

‘‘I will be com­ing up solo but will have live back­ing tracks, so you get the full ef­fect,’’ she says.

‘‘I love Cooly Rocks On. The rock ’n’ roll, the cars, how peo­ple dress up. It’s won­der­ful. I came up last year to per­form and it was so much fun. My shows were absolutely packed.

‘‘When I walked out in a full-on jump­suit, I heard the crowd go ‘whoa’ (at see­ing a fe­male Elvis). I al­ways love that.’’

While she is liv­ing her dream per­form­ing the King’s hits – there are other fe­male Elvis trib­ute artists in the world, but Feilich says she doesn’t know of any in Aus­tralia – Feilich wants it known she’s not an Elvis im­per­son­ator.

‘‘I don’t wear a wig or sing like a man. I wear cos­tumes as a woman. I don’t do any Vegas-girl stuff. I keep my own per­son­al­ity alive and present,’’ she says.

‘‘There were trib­ute artists around when Elvis was alive. He was com­pli­mented by them but en­cour­aged them to keep their own per­son­al­ity.’’ Feilich doubts she’ll ever tire of pay­ing trib­ute to Pres­ley. ‘‘He kept rein­vent­ing him­self and cov­ered ev­ery­thing from blues to gospel, coun­try, pop and rock. There are 836 songs to choose from. I would never run out of ma­te­rial,’’ she says.

She says Pres­ley was ‘‘as close to per­fect as any hu­man could ever be­come’’.

‘‘He’s not Je­sus or any­thing godly but he’s beau­ti­ful to look at, he can sing, dance and en­ter­tain. He never for­got where he came from and was al­ways hum­ble. Who else is like that? ‘‘There’s no­body – Not even Gandhi.’’

She is the King plays Twin Towns nightly at 7.30pm from June 7-10.

Fe­male Elvis trib­ute artist Jac­que­line Feilich joins the cav­al­cade of artists rolling into town for Cooly Rocks On

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