By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – For Cody Slaughter, everything began in Tupelo, just like it did for Elvis.
In 2011, the Arkansas native took home the prize at the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist preliminary competition in Tupelo. He won again in the final round in Memphis shortly after.
He went on the road just a few months after that, starring as the King himself in the traveling production of the hit Broadway musical, “Million Dollar Quartet,”
Now, the champ returns to Tupelo to pay respect to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and the fans who have supported him on his journey.
“It’s been a big blur since Tupelo,” he said, recalling appearances on David Letterman, “Access Hollywood” and more. “That’s why I love going back: It was such a good time in life. It’s good to get back to Tupelo.”
Playing Elvis Presley in “Million Dollar Quartet” was a dream come true.
“The whole experience was more awesome than I realized. I always wanted to be an actor, and now I am an actor,” he said. “I got this role in a Tony-award winning Broadway show that toured across America. I never thought I’d get to do that.”
He enjoys being a tribute artist, but he loves to act. He hopes to have a career in Hollywood.
“You meet some of these actors and they get so into character. They go through the strategy on how to get in the mode and feel the music. Somebody said, ‘Don’t ever control the music; let the music control you,’” Slaughter said. “You want that one moment on stage where (the audience) gets kinda spooked or something. You made them remember. You’ve gotta go for that split second, and when it’s all said and done, they were moved by it.”
Slaughter will perform in Tupelo, as well as join in on a panel about what it means to be the ultimate tribute artist.
After that, he hits the road again – this time for Australia, Brazil and England, and hopefully, Hollywood.
He’ll put on a show in Tupelo, where it all started, for those fans who want to be reminded of the King.
“We’ve got each other for two hours. We’re gonna have some fun. Leave everything at the door and let’s get lost,” he said. “Let’s make believe for a little while.”
Honoring the King
7 p.m. June 6: Bill Cherry, Sonny Burgess and the Pacers with DJ Fontana and Victor Trevino
9 a.m. June 7: Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Preliminary Competition, round 1
7 p.m. June 7: Brandon Bennett and Kevin Mills
10 a.m. June 8: Conversations on The Ultimate with Tom Brown, Brandon Bennett, Bill Cherry and Cody Slaughter
1 p.m. June 8: UETA Preliminary Competiton, round 2
7 p.m. June 8: UETA Preliminary Competition, final round; Cody Slaughter, David Lee, Tyler Hunter
10 a.m. June 9: Ultimate Gospel for the Soul Brunch featuring Tupelo Unity Choir, The Landmarks, Shawn Klush, Joe Moscheo, the Blackwood Quartet. Tickets are $25.
All events at The Lyric are sold out except for the gospel concert.
Fans can watch a live simulcast of all of the Lyric shows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday in an air-cooled tent on Court Street beside the Lyric. Tickets to the simulcast are $10/each day or $25/all three.
Tickets for the live simulcast are available by calling (662) 841-6598.
For a complete schedule of events, including the Fairpark concerts, visit tupeloelvisfestival.com.