Quebec Elvis tribute artist heading to Graceland to compete in ultimate contest
It's been 45 years since Elvis Presley died at the young age of 42, but tribute artists from around the world continue to sing his songs.
Sylvain Leduc from Valleyfield, Quebec off the southwest tip of the Island of Montreal, is one of the best and is going to Graceland to compete for the ultimate tribute crown.
The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, sanctioned by Elvis Presley Enterprises, is the pinnacle for impersonators.
Leduc has been invited to compete for the third time in Memphis, Tennessee, at Graceland, where the King resided.
Hundreds of ETAs will be gathering at Graceland for the second week of August.
ETA stands for "Elvis Tribute Artist," and they're all professionals.
"When I perform, especially if I'm in character and I'm on stage, I feel like that man is there and watching over me," said Leduc.
Leduc grew up emulating his idol and turned pro as an ETA in 2015.
He has been touring full-time ever since.
He specializes in Elvis' concert years from the 70s.
"It was always the era that attracted me even when I was three or four years old," said Leduc. "It was the jumpsuits!"
Leduc has a lot of replica jumpsuits.
"Custom-fit for me, authentic to what Elvis wore," he said.
Leduc pays close attention to every detail, and only certain songs get performed in certain outfits.
Earning his way up the competitive ranks with a recent win in Penticton, B.C., Leduc said the first-place finish in the professional division got him the ticket to Memphis this year, where he'll try to be the first Canadian to win the ultimate competition.
"That's as high as you can get," said Leduc's manager Sharon Murray. "It's the biggest diploma you can get as a tribute artist. Performing there, and competing there, and hopefully winning there would be the highest accolade for Sylvain or any tribute artist that is honouring Elvis, absolutely."
"It would be the biggest accomplishment, and, after that, if Pricilla wants to meet with me, well, that would be nice too," said Leduc with a laugh.
Adding to the buzz, Baz Luhrman's blockbuster movie "ELVIS" is also introducing a new generation to Elvis Presley. Leduc loved the movie and thinks the excitement around the King is fantastic.