In the cottage industry that is Elvis Presley impersonators, only a few are good enough to be hired by Elvis Presley Enterprises, the corporate entity that owns all things Elvis. One of them, Donny Edwards, visits Quincy on Friday night for a benefit show at the Boston Marriott Quincy.
In the cottage industry that is Elvis Presley impersonators, only a few are good enough to be hired by Elvis Presley Enterprises, the corporate entity that owns all things Elvis. One of them, Donny Edwards, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll during his younger days, visits Quincy on Friday night for a benefit show at the Boston Marriott Quincy.
At the end of our conversation, he said with a soft, Southern drawl, “Thank you, Ma’am.”
Q: You look far too young to have been around when Elvis was alive. How did you become an Elvis impersonator?
A: I was born in 1974, so I was almost 3 when he died, but I was always big into Elvis since I was a kid. In high school, people said I looked a lot like him. Then in college, my nickname became Elvis. After college, I went to Vegas, and a lot of people told me I should do Elvis. So in 2002 I won an Elvis impersonator contest, and then another one not long after that. There was a guy at the contest looking for a young Elvis for a casino show. So I did that for three months, and it just took off from there.
Q: What is your favorite Elvis period?
A: There’s something about the way he looked in 1970, the jumpsuit period, when he was probably in the best shape of his life. That and just a couple years before that in the 1968 comeback special, where he wears the leather outfit. That is the hardest one to do, because he was so on his game then – no one has that down exactly. In fact, that’s the only live performance of “If I Can Dream.” He never did that song in concert ever again.
Q: Which period will you do for Friday’s show?
A: The Quincy event organizers wanted predominantly the younger Elvis from the ’50s and ’60s. Then there’ll be one quick costume change into the early ’70s. Elvis only did concerts during the ’50s and ... the ’70s. In between, he did movies.
Q: You do work for Elvis Presley Enterprises. What is that organization?
A: Elvis Presley Enterprises is the official corporation that manages Elvis-related products and ventures. In 2006, I got a perfect score at the Tupelo, Mississippi, Elvis contest and some of their people saw me. I got hired to do a show with them ... where I was backed by the Jordanaires (Elvis’ back-up singers) and DJ Fontana (Elvis’ drummer). It was surreal.
GO TO THE SHOW
WHAT: A Tribute to the King featuring Donny Edwards with the Velvet Elvis Band. Proceeds to the Quincy Public Schools Teacher Mini-Grant Initiative Program
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Boston Marriott Quincy Hotel, 1000 Marriott Drive, Quincy
TICKETS: $35; 617-984-8731.
The Patriot Ledger