Have you ever walked on stage in front of 20,000 people… as Elvis?
Take a minute to meet the star of our upcoming Reid Cabaret Theatre show, A Tribute to the King, Taylor Rodriguez.
You may have seen Taylor when he starred as Richie Valens in our 2019 production of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. Clearly he has a knack for stars with moves! Based in Lynchburg, VA, Taylor has quite the history as an Elvis tribute artist. He says he owes it all to his aunt. “When I was about 6 years old, my aunt would take care of me while my parents were at work. One day she decided to introduce me to the music of Elvis Presley. Blue Suede Shoes was the first song I ever heard. I immediately fell in love with his style of music.” Things took off from there – Taylor would watch Elvis videos each night on YouTube, while his aunt bought him CDs, books, movies and memorabilia dedicated to the King.
Then one day, Taylor’s aunt decided to take him to see an Elvis Tribute Artist at Legends in Concert in Myrtle Beach, SC, “I watched the entire show in awe. I turned to my parents and aunt saying, ‘That’s what I want to do when I grow up, and here I am today, doing what I love.”
Taylor has been in more competitions than he can count. His titles speak to the caliber of tribute artist he is, from starting out in 2017 in the top 5 of the UETAC contest to earning the title of Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Champion in 2019 with several awards in between.
Taylor’s aunt may be the reason for his Elvis obsession, however, his abilities as a performer also developed in high school. His sophomore year, he was pulled out of band class by his director to audition for Love Me Tender, where he was cast as Tito Merrelli. After that, he was hooked, starring in various plays and musicals throughout high school. In college, Rodriguez studied theatre at Lynchburg University. While there, he began acting professionally and starring in commercials. Some of his roles to date are from shows such as Annie Get Your Gun, Damn Yankees, Anything Goes, James and the Giant Peach and Million Dollar Quartet. He even has a performance in at Feinstein’s 54 Below in Manhattan under his belt!
Perhaps the best story of all of his experiences as an Elvis Tribute Artist (ETA), was at a competition on Collingwood, Ontario. Priscilla Presley was the guest of honor. Competitors were on strict orders to avoid Priscilla in public, especially if they were in costume. However, an accidental meeting occurred, and Taylor reports just how sweet she was. Don’t worry – he wasn’t disqualified!
While Taylor spends much of his time honoring the King as an ETA (Elvis Tribute Artist), he manages to get some free time now and then. When asked about the one thing he wished people knew about Elvis he answered, “Elvis changed the course of history for music. No, he didn’t write any of his songs, but his style changed the way we listen to music today.”
On anyone aspiring to be an ETA Taylor says, “Find all the information you can about Elvis and study him. Study footage from concerts and mimic his every move. If you want to sound more like Elvis, record yourself singing over [him] and match his tone and pronunciation of words.”
We’re thrilled he’ll be here in August to rock the Reid Cabaret Stage! Find tickets here: https://bit.ly/ATributetotheKing.