In 2010 at the ripe old age of 10 Emilio Prince heard his first Elvis song the way it should be heard – on vinyl and on a turnstyle. It was raw, it was real and it was rockin. From that moment on Prince knew that he wanted to be just like Elvis and set about making his dream a reality. His grandfather, who owned all those vinyl records, became his mentor and the dye was cast. His grandma stitched up a gold lame suit from scratch and Prince officially joined the Elvis world when, in 2018, he grew sideburns.
Having performed many tribute shows around Sydney, Emilio Prince, is now on his way to the Parkes Elvis Tribute Festival to perform. It will be his first time at the festival and he will be doing 15 shows in four days. That is a mammoth task. He will also be part of the competition for Best Elvis Tribute Artist and hopes to win the title.
“There are three phases of Elvis. There’s the 50s Elvis, the 1968 Elvis in leathers and the 70s Elvis in the jewelled jumpsuits,” explained Prince. “My favourite is Elvis in leather. I have my costumes made in Canada complete with hand sewn studs. When I put those costumes on, the Elvis vibe takes over. It’s very surreal but I love it. I’m keeping the memory of Elvis alive.”
Apparently all the Elvis tribute artists across Australia and America are very supportive of each other, which must make it difficult when competing.
One formidable opponent, according to Prince, is Paul Fenech, a seasoned veteran and a two time winner. Fenech’s backstory is equally as interesting. Fenech’s dad is also an Elvis tribute artist and took Fenech to the Elvis Pizza Restaurant in Rushcutters Bay for a treat. The younger Fenech got up on stage to sing with the owner and soon became a regular act. Now he actually owns Elvis Pizza.
Fenech is a regular too at Elvis Tribute fests and has even performed at Graceland. Prince, though, reckons he has a fighting chance against Fenech, when he sings the spiritual hymn, How Great Thou Ar’, which he says he does better than any other Elvis impersonator.
“Tricky notes at the end but I’ve mastered that song and when I sing it I’m really feeling the lyrics.”
There are more than two hundred events at The Parkes Elvis Festival which is now in it’s 29th year. Parkes is now famous for holding the world record for the most Elvis impersonators in the one location at the same time.