I love my job!
I get to do what I love…and that is the true career.
DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?
I get to travel and meet new friends. I also get to spend all my time with my lovely wife, Haley and my beautiful daughter, Gracelyn as they basically travel everywhere with me. We have a lot of fun together. My daughter is only 20 months old and she shares the stage with me on at least one song every show. It is great! Now, with that said, I would like to tell you how I became a Professional Elvis Impersonator.
I first became interested in Elvis Presley when I was only three years old. Of course at three, you do not really know that much but, all I knew was that I liked what I heard. I was in a local department store with my mother and I was looking around the music section of the store. I picked up a cassette tape…the artist, Elvis Presley. Later on that day, after mom and I got home, I listened to my new tape. Little did I know that the man behind the voice would influence me so much.
ALL THAT I AM
I was brought up in a Christian home and music was always a part of my life. My mother was the pianist at our church where my father was also Pastor for almost 25 years. It was at this church where I began singing. I was in the children’s choir, the youth choir, and finally, I reached my calling. At the age of sixteen, I became Minister of Music at this same church where I grew up and was a member since I was twelve. I loved gospel music! (I am now the Minister of Music at Shandy Baptist Church right down the road from where I live.) At this point in my life, I was really just an admirer, listener, and committed fan of Elvis. I liked singing the songs and trying to recreate the voice I heard. I liked him so much I even fixed my hair like his. Try doing this while being in high school. I just had this attitude that I did not care what people said about me…this was the way I wanted to be and this was the image that seemed to fit me. Flashy clothes, slicked back hair, that curl falling down my forehead…oh yeah, that definitely sounded like me. I listened to music that other people my age did not. I was influenced by a different range of artists such as Conway Twitty, Marty Robbins, Roy Orbison, and, of course, Elvis Presley.
With Elvis having the greatest pull on me musically, I started studying his life. I wanted to learn more about this amazing, world changing man. I researched every detail of his life pertaining to each song, each era, and each movie. I have accumulated massive amounts of Elvis memorabilia, books, and records from family and friends. I even have an Elvis Encyclopedia which I read from front to back and I have pretty much remembered everything in it. It was so easy to learn because I really wanted to know the facts. Not to mention, I also love history so, I had no problem absorbing the information.
AM I READY
In 2003, I married my wife. She is also a huge Elvis fan and she knew that I liked performing his music. I would sing at the house every day and we would listen to it as we traveled down the road. After a year of marriage, my wife placed in me the confidence to pursue my dream. It was because of her that I am able to do this today. “Could I really be a successful Elvis Impersonator,” I thought. “Sure you can,” she said, “I will love to help you and together, we can make it happen.” I could not even dance and I had absolutely no rhythm. Being raised up by a preacher, dancing was not a big thing around our home. I had no one to teach me…until now. My wife taught me and helped me to recreate the moves I had always seen Elvis do. We put together a list of songs, I performed them for her, and she graded me. Yes, that is what I said. She graded me for accuracy. Now, remember what I stated earlier…she is a huge Elvis fan, too. She knew the words to every song better than I did. We agreed that until I performed the list of songs perfect, without missing a word or a move, I was not ready. This went on for about a month. We came up with an appropriate name for our business which tells exactly what I am doing when I perform. Here is where “Bringing It Back” Productions was founded. Along with this, we also needed to title the show. It had to be something that would fit the story I was telling in my show. We then came up with the perfect pitch…“Pieces Of My Life.” Most people may not know this but, both of these titles (“Bringing It Back” and “Pieces Of My Life”) were taken from two Elvis songs from the 1970s. We then worked toward achieving the complete image from the ’50s to the ’70s. We decided to make our show different, something that reflects Elvis’s entire legacy. If you have ever seen an Elvis Impersonator, it is safe to say that it was most likely a 1970s Jumpsuit Impersonator. Well, being the fans that we are, we love all of Elvis’s music and styles. I worked to obtain the voice and moves for each significant phase, while we worked on wardrobe change ideas to depict each set. Finally, one day, I was done. On May 6, 2004, I did my first show at an elementary school in Hornsby, Tennessee. It was a free show, of course, and I performed with backing tracks but, it was “my” show. I was so nervous and kind of scared to look up. I felt stiff and everything seemed to be in slow motion but, I got through it. They loved me and I felt like a star. The rest is history!
BECAUSE OF LOVE
From that day on, my wife became my Manager. I have been an Elvis Impersonator for 11 years, 10 of which have been full-time. As I sit today, I know almost 600 Elvis songs from memory and have developed a five-octave vocal range just as Elvis had. I like to talk to my fans, hearing them share what they liked about the show, answering any questions they may have, and even hearing their Elvis stories. We have over 40 variations of shows and appearances offered and I have over 30 outfit combinations to keep your eyes entertained. It is amazing that a three year old boy, who was not even born when Elvis was alive, can be influenced so much by just one man. God put him here for a reason, to touch everyone with his music. I think he did. For me, this is my career, this is what I love to do and, I get paid to do it. I will continue to bring back the memory of Elvis through the songs I sing, the smiles I bring, and the shows I perform. I will do what I love for as long as God allows me to do it. Look for me… wherever I am, I’ll be “Bringing It Back!”
Brian Lee Howell
Professional Elvis Impersonator
The Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation: He is my God…and I will exalt Him! Exodus 15:2 (KJV)