Jeff Lewis hosts the popular Elvis Week after parties in Memphis, has won the Last Chance Ultimate at the Hard Rock in Memphis and competed in the Elvis Presley Enterprises Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest himself. This is Jeff’s first time performing in Australia and he will emcee and perform at the Parkes Elvis Festival, and host the first ever after party of the festival.
How do you feel about coming to the Parkes Elvis Festival?
Going to Australia has always been a dream of mine. I first fell in love with Australia after seeing Crocodile Dundee in college. I am so excited about seeing the festival in person, but I am also excited about seeing so many friends in Australia I have met online through my Facebook Live Shows. It will be great to finally perform for them in person. Plus, any time I get the chance to sing with the band Tributes In Concert Band (TIC), I’ll take it. I think they are the best Elvis band in the world.
What have you heard about the Parkes Elvis Festival?
I have heard it is the biggest festival in the world. Also, that the fan base is incredible. I know this is going to be an experience I will never forget. But the most important thing, I heard the fans are HUGE Elvis fans, that is why we do this.
In your award-winning career as an ETA, and with your long history of performing with ETAs, do you hope to see some fresh talent in Parkes?
I respect anyone who picks up a microphone, puts on the sideburns, and pays tribute to the greatest entertainer in history, Elvis Presley. We all do this because of our love for Elvis. There are so many performers in Australia I have only seen online, I can’t wait to see them pay their tribute in person.
Why do you think Elvis has such an enduring legacy after all these years?
I get asked this question a lot. The simple answer is, he was great. He was one of the best singers that ever lived and definitely the most charismatic performer that has ever taken the stage. The more complex answer is how he was able to reinvent himself in so many ways.
Now here we are, 45 years after his death, and we are still celebrating Elvis with Festivals all over the world and soon, a movie that will create a whole new generation of fans.
What keeps you connected to Elvis?
There is never a time I don’t love hearing Elvis. I’ve always been a huge fan, but I never dreamed I’d be making a living due to my love for him. The more Elvis fans I meet, the more of the Elvis world I experience, the more I learn about Elvis. I also see pictures and hear songs I had never heard. The coolest thing about this experience are the experiences I’ve had meeting and becoming friends with people that worked with and knew Elvis. That has really given Elvis a third dimension for me.
Do you have a favourite Elvis song to listen to and a favourite one to perform?
I love to perform the more obscure songs from the 70s like ‘Heart of Rome’, ‘Padre’, and a lot of his gospel songs, my favourite being ‘He Touched Me’. ‘Separate Ways’ has always been one of my favourites to listen to, but as soon as I say that, I think of a few hundred more I love hearing.