TRAVIS LeDOYT BRINGS “A TRIBUTE TO THE KING” TO SILICON VALLEY
By: Iride Aparicio
Photos courtesy : S.C. University Community Relations
Travis LeDoyt as Elvis Presley
SANTA CLARA, CA – Elvis Aaron Presley, better known as “The King of Rock’n’Roll,” was considered the most significant American Icon in the 20th Century. The King is no longer with us, but there is still a way for people to experience what Elvis did during his concerts. One of them is to watch TRAVIS LeDOYT’s “A TRIBUTE TO THE KING” show.
Described by the press as “The world’s best young Elvis, ” TRAVIS LeDOYT looks like Elvis, sings like Elvis, dances like Elvis, and his mannerisms are strikingly so similar to those of Elvis, that he makes those who see him performing on the stage, do a double take. It is not surprising that like Elvis, LeDOYT sells out every one of his concerts.“A TRIBUTE TO THE KING,” however, is considered by LeDOYT as his “tribute” to Elvis, not as his impersonation.
“Technically, I would be an impersonator, because that’s what I am doing,” tells TRAVIS to CULTURAL WORLD BILINGUAL, “But I prefer to get away from the word, impersonator, because it conjures into people’s minds a negative meaning. They know that it is hard for anybody impersonating somebody else to be authentic, so when they hear the word, they are not longer sure about a show simply because they do not like impersonators. Maybe they don’t like them because they saw, previously, another show by an impersonator that was no good and, because of their past bad experience, they believe now that any show done by an impersonator is going to be corny, ” He pauses. “To those people who think that way, I would like to ask them to give my show a chance, they will enjoy it. It is a great family show . The music is great and it reaches all ages."
His one-night show will be presented by SCU Presents organization, an Arts for Social Justice program of the College of Arts and Sciences, in Santa Clara University on Friday, October 11 at their Theatre which is located on their campus.
C.W.B. You probably never saw Elvis because you are too young. Why did you get interested in him?
T.L. “when I was growing up,” my mother was always playing music from the 50’s in the radio so I was exposed to his music all my life but I never paid much attention to it. When I was about 16, I saw a Documentary Analysis of Elvis Presley in the fifties that showed him performing, and I was captivated by that.
C.W.B. Were you captivated by his voice or by his dancing?
T.L. “By Everything. I remember that I have a little keyboard and I started playing his songs and I sort of sang his songs and played at the same time. The first CD I ever bought was an Elvis CD; that was what got me into his music. I started singing along with it, (the CD) and listening to him and it kind of evolved from there. It seemed like a good outlet, and I enjoy it. “
C.W.B. Have you had any music lessons before?
T.L. “When I was nine, my mother had tried to make me take piano lessons, but I did not pay much attention to them. I was doing it, because she wanted me to do it. I guess it was impatience on my part. I discovered this great thing (music) but I did not have the patience to sit and study the notes. I just wanted to play.(by ear). But looking back, I think that those lessons helped me understand music a little better later on.”
C.W.B. What is music for you now?
T.L. “I think it is an outlet, a release. Music is very therapeutic for me. But from the writing part, (he is a composer) music is different than when I am just performing it. I enjoy writing music. I do it when I am just playing the piano at home, and it provides something different to me. I write lots of music. I wrote a “50’s-style musical album” and I have written some modern things also. I don’t really perform them (his own compositions) but (at the concerts) we sell a CD of the stuff that I did. Composing is very relaxing for me. It can motivate me and it lifts me up when I need it,”
T.L. “Now Performing the music, for me is the way that I get to share something that I enjoy, that I love, with the people that loved him (Elvis) too. So when I perform, I feel that we (the audience and him) are kind of bonding over Elvis. We both love the man, we love his music. The Elvis thing is also a way for me to step into somebody else’s shoes and try to live a fantasy in my mind, wondering: How was it like for Elvis?” I did another album which is my own concept of Elvis music, so I changed his songs a little bit and we sell that too at the concerts.”
C.W.B. Why made you want to perform as Elvis?
T.L.”When I was watching TV in the sixties, and I landed out in the channel that was playing the Elvis documentary of Elvis in the fifties, it was the first time in my life that I was inspired by a singer. There was something in Elvis looks, in his stage presence, in his charisma, in his voice, in his style, that made me understand, for the first time, why people were attracted to him. But, perhaps, what attracted me most about him was all that raw energy. That’s the main thing that got me into his music.”
TRAVIS LeDOYT as Elvis Presley
C.W.B. When was the very first time that you played as Elvis?
T.L. “My first performance was in l999. I did a talent show. I was doing this for fun in my home town (Greenfield, Massachusetts) I just wanted to see how it would be to do this (perform for an audience) but I did not want to be judged or be part of the competition, so while the judges were making his decisions, I just did a couple on numbers. I did it, and it went so well that people started asking the judges. Where did you find that? After that, somebody in the Chamber of Commerce heard about it and asked me if I could do another show for the town, and that is how it really took off with me thinking maybe I can do this. I was not thinking for a living at that time, but because it was fun.”
C.W.B. What is for you the hardest part of playing Elvis?
T.L. “At the beginning, I guess for me the hardest thing was trying to stay in Character. Elvis had a sense of humor and I do too, so some times, we just started playing to the audience and observing what was happening. When I started performing, the show was very short. I just performed for 30 minutes. At that time, I also wanted to try to be authentic, but singing only his music from the 50’s and 60’s (he doesn’t do Elvis music from the 70’s) and I had to repeat myself over an over again. Now I change my repertoire.” But there are still certain things that you cannot change, the songs that everybody wants to hear in every show. But there are others that you can mix in, and we do that because you have to keep your show fresh. Somebody told me once that a secret of happy life is doing many different things and this gentleman has done all sorts of things: he was a carpenter, a limo driver. I guess I feel happy because of all these changes. I never get bored. I consider my self lucky to be doing what I am doing.”
C.W.B. How do you feel to be performing in Santa Clara University SU Presents?
T.L. “I feel very excited. We had not played in California very much and we always look forward to finding new places and seeing new faces.”
The proceeds from TRAVIS' cocert will help fund the The Arts and Social Justice program of SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY a program that believes that the arts touch each of us every day of our lives. Whether it is a song on the radio, a movie, a book, a painting, a dance or a play. They move us, educate us and have an impact on each of us, and it is our responsibility to use the arts to focus on the human condition and to shed light on the inequities of the world. Whether it is poverty, abuse, homelessness, human trafficking, gender and racial parity, or sustainability, we must use the arts to express ourselves, call attention to current issues and motivate individuals to promote change. The program, engages SCU students in these human issues bridging the gap between life at SCU and life out in the community.
For more information about the concert visit: scupresents.org
A TRIBUTE TO THE KING HIGHLIGHTS
Video Courtesy of S.C. University Community Relations