Eli Williams has come full circle.
The Ladner native is more than excited to bring his Elvis tribute show to Genesis Theatre – the first time he will be on that stage since he was in high school.
“It’s going to be something else because that was the first time I ever performed and that was on a dare in a talent contest,” he says. “That was what started me to do an Elvis tribute and here we are 12 years later.”
Williams has been an Elvis fan since he was a small child when he was exposed to original vinyl albums. As time progressed, he became hooked by the dynamic music and unparalleled style of Elvis Presley.
In 2007, he met Brian Simpson, a four-time world champion and instructor of the world’s only Elvis school, Elvis 101. Immediately he enrolled and has never looked back. Through much hard work and dedication, Williams has earned a spot in the Ultimate Elvis Show as he pays tribute to Elvis’ comeback years (1968 to 1970).
“I’ve been very fortunate. This has taken me a lot of places. I’ve met a lot of cool people… met my girlfriend, met just about 85 per cent of the friends I have now,” he says.
Williams recently performed as the star of Elvis & Friends at the legendary Memories Theatre in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for two seasons. As well as performing as Elvis, Williams is currently embarking on a career of original music with his latest release, Let's Get Outta Here!
Partial proceeds from his upcoming Ladner show, set for Saturday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m., will go to support South Delta Kyokushin Karate, a school that is near and dear to his heart.
“I wanted to learn a martial art, karate, just to make my act look more authentic because Elvis was so involved in karate,” Williams recalls. “I found South Delta Kyokushin Karate online and started training there when I still lived in Ladner. The best part is that it is non-profit – none of the instructors are paid. I’ve been going there for 10 years now and this year I’m studying for my black belt. They do such great work, so here is a way I can give back.”
Limited tickets for his show are available at Evolutions Hair Salon or online at: eliwilliams.brownpapertickets.com.
“I strive to make it [the show] as authentic as possible. I want people to be sitting there and imagine themselves in Las Vegas in the ’70s,” he says. “I try to remain as faithful as I can to how Elvis performed. There are 100,000 Elvis tribute artists in the world and unfortunately there is a stereotype of the ‘impersonator’ and the guy who puts on the fake southern accent and performs at birthday parties, but what I do and see myself on stage is serious.
“I’m first an Elvis fan. I was an Elvis fan before I started doing this and when I stop doing this I will still be an Elvis fan, so I want to provide a show that I would want to see as an Elvis fan. It’s my hope that everyone who attends gets that.”