Top UK Elvis star booked

Central Leader - - NEWS - By SARAH COD­DING­TON

He looks like the King; he sounds like the King; he even moves like the King.

The world’s No 1 Elvis trib­ute artist will be per­form­ing at the Elvis in the Gar­dens con­cert at the Auck­land Botanic Gar­dens on Fe­bru­ary 23.

In celebration of the con­cert’s fifth birth­day or­gan­is­ers have signed Ben Portsmouth who was crowned by Elvis Presley En­ter­prises as the world­wide ul­ti­mate Elvis trib­ute artist 2012.

Elvis in the Gar­dens, a free an­nual event, at­tracts more than 10,000 peo­ple. This year it’s ex­pected to pull in even more with the spe­cial ap­pear­ance by the Bri­tish per­former.

Event or­gan­iser Ker­ryn Winn says peo­ple are call­ing Portsmouth the rein­car­na­tion of Elvis.

‘‘He has the best voice I have ever heard and I’m quite crit­i­cal,’’ Mr Winn says.

‘‘It is a big deal for us to get him over here to play. He usu­ally gets big money to play.’’

Portsmouth’s triple oc­tave vo­cal range and per­fect pitch al­low him to hit the most chal­leng­ing high notes, Mr Winn says.

‘‘There was only one Elvis but Ben is the clos­est you will ever get in terms of Elvis’ looks, his singing voice and his on-stage charisma.’’

Portsmouth grew up on a diet of Elvis songs and started his jour­ney as a trib­ute artist in 2005.

Au­di­ences and pro­mot­ers saw his tal­ent and he rapidly rose through the ranks of trib­ute artists in the United King­dom.

Just a year into his ca­reer he was voted the best Elvis at the in­ter­na­tional Elvis fes­ti­val in Wales.

He went on to be crowned the world cham­pion Elvis trib­ute artist by both the judges and a pub­lic vote in 2010.

Other Elvis in the Gar­dens crowd favourites next month will in­clude Syd­ney’s Paul Fenech, along with New Zealand trib­ute artists Bren­dan Chase, Steve Fitter and Mr Winn him­self.

Elvis in the Gar­dens be­gan five years ago when Mr Winn and his wife Ka­t­rina de­cided to use their skills and give back to the com­mu­nity by launch­ing a top qual­ity an­nual free con­cert to en­cour­age fam­ily and com­mu­nity to­geth­er­ness.

A bucket col­lec­tion is taken to sup­port a dif­fer­ent char­ity each year. This year it will be the Heart Foun­da­tion New Zealand.

Pre­vi­ous re­cip­i­ents have in­cluded Ki­wiCan, Surf Life Sav­ing New Zealand, SPCA and Franklin Hospice.

The fam­ily event will have plenty for the kids too with bouncy cas­tles and face paint­ing, along with a vin­tage dress com­pe­ti­tion and a visit from the Mad Butcher, Sir Peter Leitch.

The King: Ben Portsmouth, di­rect from the United King­dom, will per­form at Elvis in the Gar­dens next month. Go to cen­tral leader.co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to see Ben Portsmouth in ac­tion.

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