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• QUICK BIO: William Stiles, Elvis Presley, Graceland Tribute Impersonator Impressionist King Rock Roll Memphis Charlie Hodge
6/28/2016 9:46:49 PM
William Stiles as Elvis
Memphis TN - United States
• Performer [Elvis Tribute Artist]
• INFLUENCES: Elvis Presley, Charlie Hodge, Tom Jones, Otis Redding, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, B.B. King, Willy Nelson, Waylon Jennings,
Chris Woodward-Lead guitarist, vocals
Randy Nash-Drummer, vocals
Kevin Synan-Bass Guitar, vocals
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When asked the question what made you decide to do this kind of work William Stiles, a top ranking world champion Elvis Tribute Artist, responded in a very relaxed southern delta drawl with, "First off this isn't my definition of work, this is fun and secondly there's nothing better that I'd rather be doing than paying an authentic and true tribute to Elvis.
William was raised around the Mississippi Delta within spitting distance to Tupelo, MS., a stroll away from B.B. King's hometown of Clarksdale, MS. and always close by was the most infamous street in the south known as Beale Street located in the home of the blues, Memphis, TN.
Being raised around Memphis afforded William an actual encounter with the King of Rock. William's parents had friends that lived on the street running parallel to Graceland and also close by where Vernon Presley lived. While visiting they would see Elvis strolling the grounds and on a few occasions they even talked with him about common interests in the music field. During one of those times, as fate would have it, a ten month old William was lucky enough to have gotten the King's attention. "While walking around signing autographs Elvis came to where my folks were and I reached out. My mom was alright with it so Elvis took me and carried me around while he signed autographs for about twenty minutes or so. Thank God for cheap Kodak cameras otherwise we might not have any pictures of that day. Years later my parents released a couple of the pictures to a friend of theirs putting together a picture book of candid photos of Elvis. Since then I've seen that very picture in documentaries and books."
Being brought up by two professional musicians afforded William a rare opportunity to experience all genre's of music which also influenced a young Elvis Presley, a man who would become the most famous entertainer the world has ever known. From classical music, blues, country, jazz, classic rock, and that good ole time gospel music played from a small Pentecostal church where William and Elvis both were raised up in gave William a well rounded appreciation for the different styles of music very early on. "Music was a major factor in our household while growing up and because of being around it since I was born that today it's about as natural to me as the nose on my face. I even enjoyed learning about the different classical composers lives with their "artist mentality" which made them very interesting individuals. Elvis had a lot in common with those famous classical composers in many ways like in his creativity and the drive to see that the music in his head reached the people in the audience."
"While most kids didn't get into classical or opera I actually enjoyed it. My dad studied under Leonard Bernstein and conducted many Warfield concerts in big auditoriums with huge orchestras. I was able to experience up close the dynamics of the music and being able to get an idea of what the composer was feeling at the time he wrote that masterpiece which was always intriguing. In listening to the different styles of music on Elvis's stage you could see he too had a great love for many styles of music as well by adding a blend of big band swing style music, classical, rock, blues, jazz, country, and gospel. Elvis was the only entertainer to get every style on stage at once to give that well rounded feel. For someone having no formal education in music Elvis was a genius and his orchestrations of the cover songs he sang, in my opinion, were better than the original orchestrations. So I have a huge respect and admiration for him as well as his works. Like Elvis I love the ballads, the harmonies involved, and the impact certain songs can bring to an audience because they give a message we can all relate to in some way."
While serving in the Army, William was stationed in Germany on the same base as Elvis, "No matter where I went it seemed like the Elvis connection was always there so for the time I was away from home I traded Graceland for the base Elvis was also stationed on. Another plus was just around the corner was the house he lived in too. When other soldiers were homesick I had a piece of home right there in Friedburg, Germany which was thousands of miles away from Memphis but in a sense I never really left home."
Fast forwarding to William today as the entertainer it is very apparent that his talent, good looks, sensuality, charisma, charm, and humor endear him to thousands of his loyal fans, as does the humility and kindness he demonstrates. William credits this to a solid Christian upbringing the old fashioned southern way.
"My mother was determined to make me a southern gentleman in a time when that kind of upbringing in most homes all over was dying off. She accomplished her goal with a strong foundation in the church and swift discipline, as needed. One of the many important lessons I learned along the way is that respect is earned and not freely given. if you want respect it's never enough to only give 50%. If you can't give 100% then you can't expect to gain the respect of anyone in whatever it is you're doing. Having said that if you're going to portray someone as great as Elvis it's wise to give his memory full respect otherwise all you're doing is walking all over him. Paying a tribute to Elvis, to me, is serious business. If you don't keep it as real to form as humanly possible then the disrespect you give will also be what you get back. The end result is that Elvis will recover fine but the insult you gave to his memory will also leave a lasting negative memory of you on millions of Elvis's fans everywhere. In short if you ain't gonna do it right then don't do it at all. It's a fact that Elvis can never be recreated or out done by anyone no matter who they are or how big of a star they may be. Still as a tribute artist studying his life on and off the stage can add enough authenticity to a performance to give the fans a flashback to the man himself. If an Elvis Tribute Artist can give that flashback then he's done his job. Paying a very respectful tribute to someone like that is the only way I know how to thank him for the music he's given us."
Charlie Hodge, who was Elvis's best friend and who also lived at Graceland for 17 years, was Elvis's sideman onstage, sang harmony with Elvis while playing his guitar, he also handed Elvis his water, and scarves. Things he did that weren't publicized was helping Elvis build his vocal range to prepare for his return to the stage after making movies, making his onstage song sets. Charlie also helped Elvis with the auditioning and the hiring of his musicians as well as his backup singers. He was an important member of the infamous "Memphis Mafia" from 1960 to 1977 and was known as a member of "The Imperial Council" when it came to helping Elvis decide what songs he would record.
In the 1950's Charlie was a television star before his career began with Elvis having appeared regularly on Red Foley's Ozark Jubilee as a tenor singer in a televised gospel quartet, The Foggy River Boys, which was a group he formed with childhood friend Bill Gaither. Through Charlie, Elvis was introduced to the many jubilee spirituals he would later record and win three Grammy awards. Charlie was also the only known male singer to have recorded a duet with Elvis entitled "I Will Be Home Again." Charlie shares a writers credit for the song "You'll Be Gone" with Red West and Elvis which is the only known song that Elvis participated in writing song lyrics. Charlie also appeared in several of Elvis's television specials and movies spanning from 1960 to 1977.
William was mentored by Charlie Hodge for five years both onstage and off where he taught William how to present the most authentic performances to that of Elvis's live concert performances over any other Elvis tribute around. William performed as Elvis with Charlie nightly at Memories Theatre in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee in a legends show. Along with guiding William to become the best Elvis tribute act around Charlie would also sing harmony, play guitar, and give William scarves the very same way he did in every one of the 2000 sold out concerts he performed onstage with Elvis. William comments on his friend, "Charlie was a great friend, mentor, and very much like my own dad in how he critiqued my performances. Any improvement in my shows are a direct result of his guidance. I was blessed to have been in his company for the five years before he passed away."
Before his passing Charlie complimented William's talent as an Elvis Tribute Artist by saying, "The first time I heard William, I was very impressed. His voice took me by surprise in such a way that I had to step back and listen again. William is the closest sounding to Elvis's voice out of any ETA that I have ever heard or worked with and he's got an impressive vocal range."
To date William is a World Champion holding two international titles in Elvis competitions in Memphis. He's been filmed in Elvis documentaries, talk shows, commercials, major magazines, and performed his tribute to Elvis all over the world. He was even selected by celebrity actors Matt and Kevin Dillon for a private show at their family home where other celebrity guests were in attendance. In March 2014 William was CNN's first choice to appear as Elvis for their travel segment which was filmed in his hometown of Memphis, TN.
William stands above the rest. Those who worked and lived with Elvis, fans, musicians who back up other tribute artists, as well as other ETA's revere William as one of the best in the business.
We can format our show to meet the needs of any client in any size venue. The band can also double as an opening act playing hits from the last 60 years. We do not provide sound or lighting equipment.
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