Top Elvis tribute is taking care of business
Ben Portsmouth won the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist competition in America in 2012 and was later invited to perform on the David Letterman Show as part of an Elvis tribute week when Ben sang American Trilogy. He performs all over the world and is a huge Elvis fan himself. Below, he answers some questions about himself, Elvis and the music …
You won the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist award in the US, the only person outside America to do that. Had you seen it before you entered it and were you encouraged to go for it?
Ben: I'd heard about the competition, a friend egged me on to enter it. I sang If I Can Dream, Suspicious Minds, Hurt, Let It Be Me.
There were a lot of early mornings and it's stressful competing, but I went in there like a boxer to win. I didn't pay attention to what the opposition was doing.
How did you come to be asked onto the top US TV talk show, The David Letterman Show ? And have you ever thought of moving to America to work?
Letterman did an Elvis week and he wanted the ultimate Elvis.
David Letterman and Al Pacino decided I should finish the climax of the week with Trilogy. Mariah Carey was on the bill but pulled out last minute. Bugger!
I've had bookings through the show - I'm the only Elvis to have a visa to legally work there (in the US). Everyone else I know takes a risk in appearing there. And, yes, I have considered living there.
"Taking Care Of Business" was Elvis’s manager Col Tom Parker’s catchphrase or slogan – there was a ring with the lightning bolt and initials TCB. Do you think the business got in the way of Elvis’s opportunities as a singer and performer –and do you have any TCB jewellery or carry the logo yourself?
Colonel Tom did good things for Elvis and maybe some bad things for Elvis. Only Elvis could have done something about it if he didn’t like it.
I have a TCB ring like Elvis wore.
Where are you originally from and how did you get into doing an Elvis tribute as a career – and talking of careers, would your careers teachers be surprised if they knew what you do now?
I derive from an ape from Africa then evolution took my lot to Berkshire - that's where I live now!
I always listen to Elvis at home and played my guitar along to the songs as a kid, learning the chords etc, I played session guitar for people in the music biz, but thought I prefer singing Elvis, so that's what I did. I'm sure my careers’ woman would think it different to the norm, but hey, who earns more money now?
Ben Portsmouth and the Taking Care Of Elvis band appear at Eden Court on Thursday, February 13.
To find out more, follow Ben on Twitter @BenPortsmouth1 or Facebook atwww.facebook.com/BenPortsmouthAndTheTakingCareOfElvisBand Ben’s also got his own YouTube link with loads of songs on there too:http://www.youtube.com/benp36 for all the videos...