January 18, 2020
On the sixteenth of August 1977, the world was all shook up with the news of Elvis Presley’s death. Many of his fans had suspicious minds about whether or not Elvis had really departed. All of his fans were just about ready to check themselves into heartbreak hotel.
Elvis Presley is in fact dead, but his legacy is as alive as ever. Here at The Aesthete, we strive to bring our readers the very best content. Today we will be interviewing one of the most important Elvis Presley impersonators of our time. Like I said before, we bring you only the very best.
Shaky Russell is dedicated to preserving Elvis’s legacy. The second he steps onto the stage, he brings The King back to life with his smooth voice, enthusiasm and Elvis’s trademark dance moves. Shaky Russell has the ability to put a smile on the face of his audience with his eccentric attitude and authentic Elvis Presley outfits. It’s safe to say that Shaky can easily steal the spotlight and captivate everyone in his presence. Shaky Russell and I took some time to decode the essence of what he does.
Iman: So, Shaky. I’ve seen you perform live before. You exude Elvis’s charisma effortlessly, and you truly dedicate yourself to your performances. Where did your journey on commemorating Elvis begin?
Shaky: It started at the tender age of 5. That’s when I became an Elvis fan. My first performances were in school concerts. My late dad was an Elvis fanatic and at the age of 10 I entered a competition called Stairway To The Stars. I performed Elvis Presley’s hit song, “Blue Suede Shoes” and I ended up winning the competition. After I finished high school I began studying radio broadcasting and that’s what sort of pushed me into the art.
Iman: As an award winning Elvis Presley impersonator, you sing all of Elvis’s songs perfectly. Which song is your favorite to perform and why?
Shaky: My favorite song to perform is a song called “Always On My Mind” for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, it’s one of the most beautiful Elvis songs. When Elvis released it, he was going through problems with his best friend: his wife. It’s a sentimental song to me and I never leave it out any of my shows, because I lost my dad and my two brothers in such a short space of time. My three best friends. Life is rather short. Live your life and do what you love most.
Iman: When you step out onto the stage, you ooze confidence unapologetically. What are some of the things that you do to get yourself to that level of confidence?
Shaky: I put all of my faith and trust in the Lord above. I still get butterflies before I perform and I still get nervous, even after all this time. But it’s something I absolutely love doing. If you do something with love and passion you will succeed.
Iman: Music has changed dramatically since Elvis’s departure. How do you manage to curate and shepherd Elvis’s legacy in this day and age?
Shaky: That’s the great thing about about Elvis. His legacy is bigger than ever. You look at pop stars of today such as Justin Timberlake and Michael Bublé and they pay tribute to Elvis Presley in their shows. Elvis’s hits are evergreen. Elvis was unique and charismatic, and he is even bigger than ever before. Many people expect old people from retirement homes to come to my shows, but that’s certainly not the case. I see people of all ages at my shows and I think it’s amazing to see young people fall in love with Elvis’s music.
Iman: You’re very passionate about honoring Elvis and keeping his legacy alive, but what do you love most about what you do?
Shaky: Everything! Stepping out and making music. I love seeing the expressions on people’s faces when I perform. Just creating that kind of happiness is electrifying.
Iman: Now for the obligatory question. What advice do you have for young people who are just starting out and trying to establish themselves in the entertainment industry?
Shaky: Confidence is the key. I’m going to sound like a religious preacher when I say this, but talent isn’t as important as God’s blessings. You can be talented, but without the blessings, you cannot succeed. My advice for the younger generations would be to focus on faith and to align themselves with that. People find it odd that a Muslim man from South Africa is impersonating Elvis, but I love what I do.
Being an Elvis Presley enthusiast myself, Shaky is by far one of the most delightful people to talk to. Throughout our conversation he made jokes and even stopped to say “Thank you. Thank you very much” in Elvis’s voice. The parts you have read were the highlights of our discussion, but everything is a highlight with Shaky.
Well, there you have it ladies and gentleman: the fantastic Shaky Russell. If you’d like to see more of Shaky (who wouldn’t?) you can go ahead and check out his website to learn more about upcoming concerts, bookings, and contact information.
If you would like to see Shaky in action, you can go ahead and book your tickets for his next event now!
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