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