KING TO REIGN AT VIVA

Hav­ing ad­mired Elvis since he was a tot, it’s not so sur­pris­ing that Bill Cherry has made a suc­cess­ful ca­reer im­per­son­at­ing the King

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Bill Cherry has been cap­ti­vated by Elvis Pres­ley since he was a five-year-old. “My mother loves the Elvis movies and all of his songs – I watched them with her and thought Elvis was the coolest guy,” he says.

“He had the looks, the voice, in fact he had it all go­ing for him in­clud­ing the girls.

“In ad­di­tion to be­ing a very tal­ented per­son with his singing and danc­ing, he came from hum­ble begin­nings and a re­li­gious back­ground that I was drawn to.”

It was 30 years ago that Bill worked up the courage to step into Elvis’s blue suede shoes and sing one of his songs to an au­di­ence.

“At the time it was a hobby but I had seen oth­ers im­per­son­at­ing Elvis and thought to my­self, ‘I can do that’,” he says.

The Amer­i­can per­former, who drives the same car as the King of rock ‘n’ roll, has since won mul­ti­ple awards as an Elvis im­per­son­ator.

Set­ting out to cap­ture “what it would have been like to see an Elvis con­cert live”, Bill isn’t afraid to throw some of his own piz­zazz into his live shows.

“Ev­ery­one should put at least a lit­tle bit of their own per­son­al­ity into the show. If you do it full-time it just hap­pens nat­u­rally,” he says.

This week­end Bill heads to Aus­tralia for the first time to head­line Viva Surfers Par­adise.

A cel­e­bra­tion of all things Elvis, the 10-day event fea­tures live trib­ute shows, a clas­sic car show, com­pe­ti­tions and rock ‘n’ roll dance lessons.

Next week­end the Elvis Trib­ute Artist con­test will see some of the best tal­ent bat­tle it out for a spot in Amer­ica’s Mem­phis Ul­ti­mate Elvis Trib­ute Artist con­test, part of next month’s of­fi­cial Elvis Week.

Viva Surfers Par­adise will also see Dean Ve­gas, the Gold Coast’s own an­swer to the King, host a mass re­newal of wed­ding vows in true Ve­gas style.

“I am very ex­cited about per­form­ing at Viva Surfers Par­adise,” says Bill.

“I have never been to Aus­tralia so I am re­ally look­ing for­ward to go­ing Down Un­der. You can ex­pect a lot of fun, mu­sic, mem­o­ries and Elvis.”

Spe­cial­is­ing in the con­cert years, specif­i­cally the 1970s, Bill says he is drawn to that era be­cause of the cos­tumes, the jew­ellery, Elvis’s over­all look and the songs.

“The jump­suits I have are ac­cu­rate, made by B&K, which is the same com­pany that made most of Elvis’s,” he says. “Some peo­ple say they look ex­pen­sive but I didn’t spend quite as much as Elvis.”

In 2009, Bill took out the crown for Ul­ti­mate Elvis Trib­ute Artist Com­pe­ti­tion.

When it comes to Elvis mem­o­ra­bilia, the per­former owns sev­eral prized pos­ses­sions.

“They are mostly con­cert ban­ners and tour books from the 1970s,” he says. “My most prized pos­ses­sion is a pair of his sun­glasses – the square ones you see while he’s on tour.”

The Bill Cherry Show also re­vives the clas­sics of Buddy Holly and Roy Or­bi­son.

As for Bill’s favourite song from the King’s ex­ten­sive back cat­a­logue, he finds it hard to choose just one.

“It could change to­mor­row be­cause I like so many, but to­day it is Mys­tery Train/Tiger Man,” he says. “I like it be­cause of the raw drive of the mu­sic.”

Viva Surfers Par­adise runs un­til July 19.

Bill Cherry heads to the Gold Coast for Viva Surfers Par­adise.

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