Once in a lifetime, an artist will create an image and a brand so strong, so disruptive, so intoxicating that their stage looks, album artwork, gaits, voices and habits will be lionised and copycatted for the rest of history. Bowie, Prince, Madonna – and of course, Elvis are amongst those hallowed few.
The Dax Wax do, the curled lip, the wibbly-wobbly legs, Elvis was the ultimate pop-icon; sex-infused, gender-bending and beautiful. In fact, he remains one of the best selling artists of all time. So where better to honour the immortal Tennessee icon that is Elvis Presley than at The Hilton Hotel in Birmingham, in January, at the Annual Elvis Tribute Convention.
We took a glimpse behind the spangled curtain of Elvis impersonators with photographer Carly Scott. “I’ve been an Elvis fan since a young age and found out about the contest and was intrigued by it” Scott explains. The event, which runs over three days at The Hilton, sees Elvis impersonators go head to head by performing two Elvis hits of their choice on stage to an ecstatic crowd.
Scott – who was backstage and capturing the Elvis’s before and after their performances – was most impressed by the transition of normal bloke into pop-star. “I was surprised by the transformation of these normal men into Elvis and their dedication to it with the make-up, wigs, and outfits. The costumes cost from £4k-10k for one jumpsuit and a few of them were in two looks a day for three days” Scott continues, “contestants would come and talk to me the next day out of costume and I had no idea which Elvis they had been.”