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June 20, 2013

Man finds inspiration from the king of rock

CHICKASHA — When the office where Kraig Parker worked decided to throw an Elvis-themed party, there was just one question. Who would be the king?

Parker, who had always been a big Elvis fan, stepped up to the rock n' roll throne.

"It was nothing like I ever felt before," Parker said of the experience.

The reaction that Parker got from those attending the party was enough to launch him into a full time career as a world renowned artist, performing "from Los Vegas to London" complete with sideburns and rhinestones.

While Parker's Elvis personae was carefully developed, but it seems there was also some magic to it.

"It found me," Parker said.  

However, it's not just the hip shaking and lip curling that Parker has borrowed in his recreation of the larger than life rock legend.

After the office party, Parker started performing at restaurants and parties, but it wasn't until he met Charles Stone that he broke out of the small gigs and started touring worldwide. Stone worked with Elvis Presley as his tour director in the 1970s, Parker said.

Stone helped Parker make connections with some of Presley's original singers such as the Jordanaires, the Stamp Quartet and the Sweet Inspirations, according to Parker's website, thekinglives.com.

"They seem to like and represent what I do," Parker said.

Parker acknowledges that Elvis' draw is still strong, even decades after his death.

"I don't know how to explain it," Parker said. "It started a fire and it's still burning today," He added that Elvis changed American culture through his music, clothing and dancing.

Parker will be performing as Elvis at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 27 in the Chickasha High School Activity Center in a benefit concert in which 100% of the proceeds will go to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief.

Tickets are $25 at thekinglives.com, at Dunn's Food Center or by calling 817.691.3422.

"Oklahoma has always been one of our favorite places to stop and tour," Parker said. "I'm grateful for the chance to give back."

During the promotion of his tour, Kraig Parker will also be making a stop at Glenhaven Retirement Village. At 4 p.m. on July 26, Parker will visit Glenhaven in full Elvis regalia for a meet and greet with the residents. Kisha Mitchusson, LPN/Activity Director for Glenhaven Retirement Village, said she has been a fan of Parker since 2008 when she and her husband started attending his shows in Dallas.

When asked what differentiated him from other Elvis impersonators, Parker was careful not to step on any blue suede shoes and seemed reticent to call himself the best, instead giving credit to the audience.

"It's all a tribute to the fans," Parker said.

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