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Living The Dream as an Elvis Tribute Artist

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November 17, 2017 By Tyler James as Elvis

Tyler James wanted to be an Elvis Presley tribute artist (impersonator) since he was five years old.

“My parents took me to Graceland,” James said. “I was enamored by everything about him. I told my mom right then that's what I wanted to do.”

While his peers spent their weekends at the mall, James spent his watching videos of Elvis and practicing.

“I started entering contests when I was 15 [years old],” James said.

Soon he started booking his first shows at nursing homes and weddings, and by age 16 he landed a starring role in an Elvis showcase show in Branson, Missouri.

“But I knew exactly what I wanted when I first started,” James said. “That was to have my own show in Las Vegas.”

His dream came true in 2013 when the entertainment director for the Fremont Street Experience offered him a job as its official Elvis. James was living in Hawaii at the time and had traveled to Las Vegas for an Elvis impersonator competition.

 “I can't thank him enough for taking a chance on me,” James said. “I'm not sure he will ever know what he did for me.”

James, now 29, performs two nights a week on Fremont Street. His showed is called Tyler James as Elvis and The Memphis Experience, performing Sundays and Mondays on the 1st Street Stage for free, with no admission charged.

He's also playing a show at the Casablanca Showroom in Mesquite, NV on Dec. 16. Times and tickets are available on at www.startickets.com.

Readers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal recently recognized James' performances as one of the Best Impersonators in town. It's a distinction that left James feeling both honored and humbled.

He thinks part of the reason people prefer his show over other impersonators is that it's not scripted.

Elvis recorded more than 700 songs, and James prides himself on changing up the music from show to show.

“You'll hear songs you probably would never hear in another Elvis show,” James said. “Who would think thousands of people would love hearing 'How Great Thou Art' in the middle of Fremont Street Experience on a night out in Vegas, but they do.”

He also incorporates comedy into his routine.

“Elvis was known to be a jokester,” James said. “He loved to joke around with his audience as well as his band members.”

The fun he and his band have on stage makes an impression on his audiences.

James also isn't afraid to put his own spin on things. The show is not scripted and James performs with some of the best musicians in Las Vegas in an entertaining and authentic show.

“In certain songs we put emphasis on the blues and the rock, it's just the right amount and really appeals to the crowd,” James said. “A friend once told me we are like Elvis with a bite.”

His goal is to show people how great an entertainer Elvis was and get them to fall in love with his music the way James' did when he was a kid.

“When I was 16 I was interviewed by a newspaper, they asked me what I wanted to do with my tribute to Elvis my response was, 'I want to have my own show in Las Vegas,'” James said. “I am truly living my dream.”


This article was presented and sponsored by Tyler James as Elvis. For more information, go to tylerjamesaselvis.com


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