Quote of the day:

He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
~Proverbs 13:20

“Breaking In reminds aspiring artists that some things will never change; that real success will always be the domain of those who both work harder and work smarter.”

Kristin Chenoweth

“If you want to ‘make it’ in this business, you need to read this book!”

Robert Attermann, Vice President of Abrams Artists Agency

“I encourage everyone to focus on Evan’s chapter ‘Get Rich and Stay Rich’ which provides practical tips for preserving and growing your wealth.”

Lisa Harless, Senior Vice President, Regions Bank

“Evan Farmer offers an incredibly valuable, realistic, and insightful road-map for anyone pursuing success in the entertainment field.”

David Bourgeois, President & Creative Director, Voice Coaches

“Imperative Advice for Aspiring Entertainers!”

Krista Darting, Owner, www.RockOnTogether.com

” ‘Breaking In’ is one of the most informative and inspirational books I’ve ever read. Really well done.”

Troy Shafer

“[This Book is] a life tool, and it’s worth delving into. Personally, mine is all marked up and highlighted!”

Cat Grieve

“I’ll most likely read the book again so I can fully soak in everything he has to say. Awesome read!”

Allison Windom

“Breaking In: Break Out your Wallet and Get Two!”

George Grieve, Parent of Aspiring Artist

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Bio Of The Month

Elvis Presley

 

  “Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine.” – Elvis Presley

 

  Drive was not something Elvis Presley was lacking. He envisioned exactly what he wanted at a very early age.

 

  “When I was a boy, I always saw myself as a hero in comic books and in movies,” Presley said. “I grew up believing this dream.”

 

  The future King of rock ‘n’ roll was only 4-years-old when he told his parents he would eventually buy two Cadillacs…one for him and one for them. It was not long after that statement, Elvis began his journey down the road toward success…one that was filled with doubters, critics and roadblocks. If he had succumbed to any of the three, music and the world as we know it would not be the same.

 

  STARTING THE ENGINE

Elvis was born on January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi to Vernon and Gladys Presley. His young life was not easy. The family was poor and forced to move often due to the financial strain. Elvis was called “sweet and average” by a teacher at East Tupelo Consolidated School and the future hip shaker’s shyness would contribute to his loner status and perceived awkwardness.

And then came the Mississippi-Alabama Dairy Show…

A teacher encouraged the emerging artist to enter a singing contest at the fair. The 10-year-old earned 5th place. That’s right. Four other kids placed higher the first time Elvis competed with that iconic voice. However, that is also where Elvis started his music career. Soon after, his first guitar was purchased.

Two years later, Elvis seized another opportunity. He was a huge fan of Mississippi Slim’s radio show and got to spend a lot of time at the Tupelo station. He was only 12-years-old when Slim gave him the chance to perform on-air. Stage fright got in the way. Shyness was his roadblock and it knocked the car off of the road at the first curve. However, Elvis got back in the driver’s seat, faced his fears and did not falter when given a second chance.

And then there was Memphis…

 

  SECOND GEAR

At the end of 1948, the Presley family moved to Memphis. Up until that point, Elvis had received mainly positive reinforcement when it came to his musical ability. However, the new city and school delivered the future Grammy winner’s first taste of criticism…criticism that would grow exponentially with his success. Elvis earned a “C” in music his 8th grade year. The teacher told the future King he had no aptitude for singing. Elvis did not back down and brought his guitar to school the next day to play and sing for her. Needless to say, it did not change the educator’s mind. Thankfully, the teenaged Elvis did not let one opinion halt his dream.

Elvis continued to work hard and play music around Memphis. A few high school friends, who also had an aptitude and passion for music, joined him. The budding guitarist never learned to read music and played completely by ear. He was a music junkie…spending hours in record store listening booths. His taste was diverse…country, gospel, blues and R&B. The future icon was starting to form a musical style that melded all of those genres together. However, the guy who was constantly working and practicing his craft actually failed music class in high school. And he kept on driving anyway.

Elvis continued to live as a shy loner for most of his teenage years. The fashion-forward teen had already begun to develop a signature style. The trademark sideburns were grown and his clothes became more and more flashy. As a teenager, “different” does not translate well. Elvis was bullied and seen as awkward.

Until Humes’s High School Annual Minstrel Show…It was there his classmates discovered the shy senior sang…and really well.

 

  “…When I came onstage, I heard people kind of rumbling and whispering and so forth, ’cause nobody knew I even sang,” he said. “It was amazing how popular I became after that.”

 

  THIRD GEAR

After graduation, Elvis drove in two directions. He took the realistic route…driving a truck by day and studying to become an electrician. He also took the dreamers path…auditioning and playing whenever and wherever he had the chance. And the roadblocks started popping up everywhere.

Elvis auditioned for a local quartet and failed. They told Elvis Presley he couldn’t sing. Shortly after that, he tried again…this time as a vocalist for a popular local band. After that audition, he was told to continue truck driving “because you’re never going to make it as a singer.”

While many people would take feedback like that as a reason to quit, Elvis just saw it as a detour sign. He kept working and trying other options.

It was only months later that he got a call from the office of Sam Phillips. The record executive was already building a giant reputation in the music industry for the artists he was discovering and producing. Sun Records was a fledgling record label and Elvis needed a break. That first day of recording, produced nothing that Phillips thought would work. Elvis was molding himself into what he thought the producer wanted. Late that evening, the Elvis and the other musicians were having some fun during a break. They were singing a cover of “That’s All Right” in a very Presley way. It was exactly what Phillips wanted and Sam Phillips was rarely wrong when it came to music.

Soon after, Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips played the recorded version of the song. The DJ received so many requests; he played “That’s All Right” continuously for the final two hours of his show. Elvis was something completely different…and the singer was acutely aware of that fact.

 

  “I happened to come along in the music business when there was no trend,” Presley said. “People were looking for something different and I was lucky. I came along just in time.”

 

  The record made an immediate impact in the South and it wasn’t long until Elvis was invited to play the Grand Ole Opry…a place he had always dreamed of performing. It was the first and only time. The singer was told he “wasn’t bad,” but didn’t suit the program. Even with success, came roadblocks.

 

  FOURTH GEAR

It only took two years for RCA to come calling. They bought Elvis’ contract from Phillips in 1956 and he immediately began recording his first album for them. The eventual phenomenon’s debut single, “Heartbreak Hotel,” went #1. It was around that time Elvis returned to the place where it all started…the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy show. Only this time it would take nearly 100 National Guardsmen to control the screaming fans. The crowd reaction was something that would become a consistent “problem” throughout the singer’s career. And at the time, Elvis was worried.

 

  “I’ll never make it,” he said. “It will never happen, because they’re never going to hear me ’cause they’re screaming all the time.”

 

  Elvis continued to pick up speed by starring in his first movie, “Love Me Tender,” and making numerous TV appearances. And the criticism began to gain momentum. After an appearance on the Milton Berle Show, Jack Gould, a New York Times critic, wrote, “Mr. Presley has no discernible singing ability…His phrasing, if it can be called that, consists of the stereotyped variations that go with a beginner’s aria in a bathtub. … His one specialty is an accented movement of the body … primarily identified with the repertoire of the blond bombshells of the burlesque runway.”

But Elvis didn’t change a thing. The fan-base kept growing and the cheers kept getting louder.

Ed Sullivan had declared Elvis “unfit for family viewing.” When the Milton Berle episode with Elvis beat Sullivan in ratings (for the first time ever), Sullivan had a change of heart. He booked Elvis for three episodes. The September 9, 1956 Ed Sullivan Show was seen by 60 million people…82.6% of the television audience. That’s not a typo. The controversy and criticism continued. Religious leaders were protesting Elvis’s movement when he sang and the negative implications it could have on teenagers. This always baffled the star, because the movement had always been a natural extension of his music.

 

  “I enjoy what I’m doing and I put my heart, soul and body into it. I guess one of the reasons people have liked it was because it was a little something different.”

 

  And music business people had no idea how to classify the star. He was topping almost every genre’s chart. There was no box that could hold him…unless they created one. Roy Orbison explained it best.

 

  “His energy was incredible, his instinct was just amazing,” Orbison said. “…I just didn’t know what to make of it. There was just no reference point in the culture to compare it.”

 

  CRUISE CONTROL

Elvis continued to gain fans in parts of the world where his music wasn’t even officially released…prior to the internet-era. When the singer was drafted and forced to halt his career for two years, he still managed to chart 10 Top 40 hits during that time.

After he returned from serving, Elvis decided to conquer another craft…acting. The entertainer spent a majority of the 60’s becoming a movie star…starring in 33 feature films. He was criticized for his acting ability and the cheesy movies. However, his movies were commercially successful as were the soundtracks that accompanied them.

When doubters said his music career was probably over because of the long acting break, Elvis got back onstage and proved them wrong again. Jon Landau of “Eye” magazine explained.

 

  “There is something magical about watching a man who has lost himself find his way back home,” Landau said. “He sang with the kind of power people no longer expect of rock ‘n’ roll singers. He moved his body with a lack of pretension and effort that must have made Jim Morrison green with envy.”

 

  The legend never wavered in what he wanted and who he was. The awards are far too many to mention. Among them, was the Grammy Lifetime Achievement award he received…at age 36. He is the best-selling solo artist in the history of popular music and Graceland is now the second most-visited home in the United States…after the White House.

Elvis worked hard to drive a memorable race. He drove hard and fast through life, but down a meaningful and inspirational road. One of his greatest career achievements was fulfilling the promise he made as a four-year-old. He did indeed buy two Cadillacs…and a few more.

The entertainer loved music until the end and it was always so obvious. Even one of his most noted speeches quotes a song (“Without a Song”)…

 

  “I learned very early in life that: ‘Without a song, the day would never end; without a song, a man ain’t got a friend; without a song, the road would never bend – without a song.’ So I keep singing a song.”

 

  Although Elvis finished the race on August 16, 1977, both his memory and music will forever endure.

 

  “There are several unbelievable things about Elvis, but the most incredible is his staying power in a world where meteoric careers fade like shooting stars.” – Newsweek, 1969 Review

 

  Krista is a contributing writer for www.breakinginthebook.com. For more music insight from Krista, check out Rock On Together at www.rockontogether.com. Remember…It’s a mindset, not a genre.

 

 

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