By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal
MEMPHIS – Cody Slaughter has always been the ultimate Elvis fan and now he is the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist contest winner.
The 20-year-old Arkansas resident beat out 25 other Elvis acts from all over the world to win the title and the $20,000 cash prize that went with it.
Slaughter won the 2011 Elvis Tribute competition at the Elvis Presley Festival in Tupelo in June, which was a preliminary contest to earn the right to perform in Memphis.
Winning in Tupelo in June was a shock to Cody being up against so many seasoned Elvis performers, but nothing was more shocking to him then his Memphis victory.
“When I heard my name as the winner it hit me hard,” said Slaughter. “It was unreal, it’s still unreal. I was so nervous during the whole four rounds because there were so many great singers there. I’m just amazed and happy that I won it all.”
Slaughter’s winning song was “Mean Woman Blues,” a song that he describes as great for competitions.
Despite his surprise with his latest victory, Slaughter is no stranger to the Elvis circuit. He placed in the top 10 last year during UETAC. In July, he was honored with the “Horizon Award for best new ETA” at the 2011 Las Vegas Heart of the King Elvis Fest. For the past few years Cody has traveled and performed all over the United States.
Debbie Brangenberg, executive director of the Tupelo Elvis Festival and the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, said she is proud to have Slaughter representing Tupelo.
“Not only is Cody an incredibly talented young man, his personality and demeanor reflect the essence of what we know of Elvis – a kind, humble and fun-loving person,” she said.
Being younger than most of the other contestants, many have asked how Slaughter has been able to conjure up the essence of the King.
“I can’t ever remember not loving Elvis,” he said. “I’ve been singing Elvis music since I was 4 years old and I just love it. I’m young but I’ve just been a lifelong Elvis fan and I will always be.”