Mike Elliott’s hobby brings Elvis to the community
Standing backstage at the Sun City Ballroom, Mike Elliott waited for his first chance to emulate the late musical legend Elvis Presley. Dressed in the classic attire of a one-piece jeweled bell-bottom jumpsuit, Mike took the stage while a trademark Elvis tribute version of “2001: A Space Odyssey” blared in front of a 400-member audience. “I was terrified,” Mike recalls. “But it was awesome. I thrive on challenges!”
Four years later, Mike’s hobby has become a full-scale, passionately perfected show in the Austin arena and beyond. His voice has developed. His moves are iconic, and he believes his stage presence is stronger than ever. Portraying Elvis in a way that does justice to his legacy is important to Mike.
By day, Mike serves as director of marketing and advertising for his family business, Texas Outdoor Power Equipment. But on evenings or weekends, Mike transforms into Elvis. Mike’s wife, Zelinda, who he says is his “rock and biggest fan,” manages makeup, costume, jewelry, and photography. Together, the couple works to give the community insight on the character and kindness of Elvis Presley. “He took care of his friends and family and gave millions of dollars to charity,” Mike says. “He always seemed bigger than life to me, and I grew up wanting to be like him.”
In college, Mike occasionally sang with a rockabilly band called “The Elvis Brothers,” and in 1996, Mike dabbled in acting, starring as Elvis in a production in Round Rock of a play called All Shook Up at Heartbreak Hotel. The play ran for 15 sold-out performances, and people started asking to book Mike for charity and corporate events.
Charity events, in fact, are at the heart of Mike’s hobby. Once, during a Make-A-Wish Foundation event, an elderly gentleman asked Mike if he would sing a song for his ill wife. Mike got on one knee, put a scarf around the woman’s neck, and held her hand as he sang “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Later, the gentleman explained to Mike that his wife had terminal cancer. The man had driven a hundred miles to bring his wife to see “Elvis,” her lifelong idol. With tears in his eyes, the man told Mike, “If she were to pass in her sleep tonight, she’d go with a smile on her face. Thank you.”
Moments like these occur often during Mike’s shows, which include fundraising concerts for The Caring Place, The Georgetown Project, and the Georgetown Police Department’s “Silver Bells” project, as well as for the Blue Santa program and numerous senior citizen events. Nationwide, Mike has performed for Facebook Corporate, Intel, the Army, Dell Children’s Hospital, the Austin Music Hall, and Harley Davidson. He’s the Austin Police Department’s Official Elvis for their Blue Santa Program, and two years ago Mike was chosen to perform with Wayne Newton at a USO Gala at Fort Hood.
“As Mike Elliott, there is only so much that I can do,” Mike explains. “But as Elvis, the possibilities are limitless as to what I can do for people. I feel that I was blessed with a gift and that my purpose is to share it and use it to the best of my abilities.”
For more information, check out Mike Elliott’s website at www.elvisaustin.net.