Lisa Marie Presley finds comfort in family, her own songs

Lisa Marie Presley holds down a two-night stand this Friday and Saturday at the Gold Strike Casino Resort in  Tunica.

Photo by Photographer:Troy Paul, Copyright:Studio Troy Paul 2009

Lisa Marie Presley holds down a two-night stand this Friday and Saturday at the Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica.

Lisa Marie Presley

9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Gold Strike Casino, 1010 Casino Center Drive in Tunica Resorts, Miss. Tickets: $24.95 and $29.95, available at the casino gift shop, by phone at 888-747-7711, and through Ticketmaster. For more information, call 662-357-1111, or visit goldstrike.com.

This Halloween, residents of one undisclosed Memphis neighborhood got a thrill when they opened their door for trick-or-treaters only to find the daughter of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, standing before them.

"I'm going dressed as a coroner," Lisa Marie Presley said earlier this week of her scheduled trip to her hometown to take her youngest daughters, twins Harper Vivienne Ann and Finley Aaron Love, trick-or-treating with their cousins, a bit of normalcy sandwiched into a schedule that also included appearances in Nashville at the BMI Awards (Tuesday) and the CMA Awards (Thursday), and the kickoff of her tour with shows Friday and Saturday at the Gold Strike Casino's Millennium Theater in Tunica.

Juxtaposing extremes — the warm glow of family life and the bright lights of celebrity, Memphis and Nashville — is nothing new for Presley, 44. Self-admittedly shy and reserved, she nevertheless has lived her entire life under the glaring eye of the public.

"I don't like attention on me," she said. "It's a strange dichotomy. When I'm singing and I'm doing my own music, that's one thing. … But if it's just talking and it's live television, I'm always a nervous wreck."

It is perhaps a good thing, then, that Presley finally did follow her father into music, where at least she could counterbalance the constant demands on her attention with the calm she experiences when she is onstage belting out one of her songs.

Presley was a relative latecomer to music, recording her first album, 2003's To Whom It May Concern, at age 35. In an effort to escape the shadow of her famous father, that record and its 2005 follow-up, Now What, were both cast in an aggressively contemporary, slick, modern rock sound, a decision Presley now says was born more out of insecurity than artistry.

"I was the one instigating all the production on those records to hide behind because I was terrified," she said. "I'm not critical of the songs. ... What I think I was critical of was the overproduction of them."

On her latest album, the May release Storm & Grace, Presley says she has found her true musical direction, a more relaxed, introspective, folksy sound that recalls her father in spirit. The change in direction was born out of eight months she spent in England in 2009 writing songs with tunesmiths like Jimmy Hogarth, Ed Harcourt and Richard Hawley, formerly of the band Pulp. Then, to help realize her new vision, Presley turned to one of the biggest producers working, T-Bone Burnett.

"He is incredibly inspiring. I'm even more in awe of him than I was before we met," Presley said. "He grants a lot of freedom. He's an incredible conductor and knows exactly what he's doing."

Presley recorded 16 songs live in the studio with Burnett, including the 11 originals that make up Storm & Grace. But for one song, Burnett had Presley dig all the way back to the beginning of Elvis' career. Presley was looking for something special to present at last August's FedExForum concert commemorating the 35th anniversary of her father's death, when Burnett suggested she perform a duet of "I Love You Because," a Leon Payne country ballad that Elvis recorded in his first Sun sessions in 1954.

Presleyassembled the track and an accompanying video, featuring family images that span three generations, in just four days. The song has been released as a single, and the video is online.

"I was drawn to how intimate and sweet it was," she said. "It seemed very appropriate. I wanted to focus on his spirit and his grandchildren. I was just trying to make a touching tribute."

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Comments » 4

carjo writes:

Now if she could only learn how to sing because she can't sing now. Any attention that is paid to her is because of her father plus a few who are Michael Jackson fanatics.

Her albums don't sell very well and her personal appearances and shows don't have any large size audiences.

There are so many more talented young people here in Memphis and the country who don't get the opportunities she's had just because her last name is Presley.

What a waste!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

EPfamily writes:

Not everyone likes Lisa's singing or voice. I think she sings beautifully. I love the meaning behind her music, it tells a story, her story. It's not fake like the pop and rap music out today.

Lisa's true fans love her for her, they may have started out with curiosity because of her father, but I believe that she has been in the music business long enough that her real fans love her for her talent and no one elses. Her albums sell great, especially in other countries, America doesn't know real talent. I could name a few performers but I won't. That wouldn't be very nice of me.

As for her audiences, Lisa prefers smaller audiences so that she can keep it more intimate.

Now Mr. Carjo, I would appreciate it if you would follow the Golden Rule: If you can't say or type something nice, don't say or type anything at all. We appreciate your opinion, but everyone gets by on their own merits.

Lisa is not the only person in the family with the last name Presley. But, she is the only performer. No one asked her or made her do it. She does not go out and sing her dad's songs, or shake her hips. She doesn't even sing in his style. HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT SHE GETS SPECIAL OPPORTUNITES JUST BECAUSE HER LAST NAME IS PRESLEY!!!! YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW HER! She has worked very hard to prove herself. She deserves everything she has and I for one, am very proud of her. AND NO, I am not rich!

OH, and if you have any talent, put it out there. I'm sure the world would love to see it. America is the land of opportunity. But you have to work for it, it's just not handed to you on a silver platter!

carjo writes:

in response to EPfamily:

Not everyone likes Lisa's singing or voice. I think she sings beautifully. I love the meaning behind her music, it tells a story, her story. It's not fake like the pop and rap music out today.

Lisa's true fans love her for her, they may have started out with curiosity because of her father, but I believe that she has been in the music business long enough that her real fans love her for her talent and no one elses. Her albums sell great, especially in other countries, America doesn't know real talent. I could name a few performers but I won't. That wouldn't be very nice of me.

As for her audiences, Lisa prefers smaller audiences so that she can keep it more intimate.

Now Mr. Carjo, I would appreciate it if you would follow the Golden Rule: If you can't say or type something nice, don't say or type anything at all. We appreciate your opinion, but everyone gets by on their own merits.

Lisa is not the only person in the family with the last name Presley. But, she is the only performer. No one asked her or made her do it. She does not go out and sing her dad's songs, or shake her hips. She doesn't even sing in his style. HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT SHE GETS SPECIAL OPPORTUNITES JUST BECAUSE HER LAST NAME IS PRESLEY!!!! YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW HER! She has worked very hard to prove herself. She deserves everything she has and I for one, am very proud of her. AND NO, I am not rich!

OH, and if you have any talent, put it out there. I'm sure the world would love to see it. America is the land of opportunity. But you have to work for it, it's just not handed to you on a silver platter!

Thank you Priscilla, I expect tripe like that from you. It's either you or one of your EPE minions.

Fact is genius I was very successful in the National Music Industry for many years having discovered a number of hit making artists plus produced many hit records. I know talent and others who also do share my opinion of her. SHE CAN'T SING AND THE MAIN REASON THE FEW PEOPLE GO TO SEE HER PERFORM IS BECAUSE OF HER FATHER AND SOME BECAUSE SHE WAS MARRIED TO MICHAEL. MAYBE A HUNDRED OR SO GO TO SEE HER PERFORM OR BUY HER RECORDS BECAUSE THEY SHARE YOUR OPINION BUT THAT DOESN'T MAKE A HIT ARTIST OR ONE WHO CAN REALLY SING. SHE SOUNDS LIKE SHE'S MOANING IN A LOW VOICE WHEN SHE SINGS. THAT'S A SURE SIGN THAT SHE CAN'T SING, CHILDREN DO THE SAME THING. AND NO HER ALBUMS DON'T SELL WORTH A DAMN THAT'S WHY YOU DON'T SEE HER ON THE CHARTS.

It's very nice of you to allow me to have an opinion I really do appreciate it. In case you're ignorant of the fact everyone has the right to express their opinion and I have a feeling that you are a salad bar Golden Rule lover. You pick and choose which Golden Rule you adhere to.

You have your opinion and it's obvious that I and the hundreds of millions worldwide who don't enjoy or think she can sing have ours. Respect mine and I will respect yours.

EPfamily writes:

I am not Priscilla! I am the same age as Lisa. Doesn't sound like you we're very successful in your hobby since you put it in past tense.
Lisa's concerts are packed along with standing room. She has plenty of people at her concerts, and yes her records have made the charts!
I know that Lisa is an alto. So am I. Everyone has to work with the voice God has given them. I think she does wonderful! When I listen to her songs, I'm listening to the words and to the meaning of the words. Just like I do other artists. I want to know the story behind the song. If you are so shallow that you can't get past her voice to actually listen to her words, then maybe Pee Wee Herman is the man for you! END OF DISCUSION!

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