by Liam Doyle
Elvis may have left the building, but Liam is keeping the King’s legend alive with heart and style. At just 16 years old, Liam has already traveled the country performing as a bona fide Elvis Tribute Artist, or ETA. He may have a big pair of blue suede shoes to fill, but Liam is up for the challenge!
How did you become interested in Elvis?
I learned about Elvis from Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) on the TV show Full House. When I was 12 or 13, I found an Elvis jumpsuit, black wig, sideburns, and aviator sunglasses at Party City for Halloween. Then I started watching Elvis’ Las Vegas concerts on YouTube and learning his dance moves. In 2017 I met Jake Slater, an ETA from Bellaire, Michigan. My mom and I went to several of his outdoor performances and he let me sing and dance with him. I was hooked.
Where have you performed?
I have performed many places: assisted living homes; with ETA friend Jake Slater for my 16th birthday party; a wedding reception; a company Christmas party; my parish fall festival; a retirement party; the Alto Lion’s Club; several talent shows including Camp Sunshine, Family Tree Therapy, Kent County 4-H Youth Fair, and the Kellogg’s & DSAWM Member Talent Show; 5/3 Ballpark for the DSAWM Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk; an Elvis birthday party at Brody’s Be Café where I work as a BErista; the Elvis Fantasy Fest in Portage, Indiana; the National Association for Down Syndrome Fashion Show in Chicago; Lakewood, Colorado where friend and world famous ETA Cody Slaughter invited me on stage to perform a song with him; and last month another friend and world famous ETA Dean Z invited me to dance to “Jailhouse Rock” with him on an Elvis Tribute Cruise.
Why do you like to perform like Elvis?
I believe God has given me this desire to perform like Elvis to make people happy, especially when singing Gospel, Christmas, and love songs. Elvis’ music is in my blood and I want to keep his legacy alive with other ETAs because Elvis was such an amazing performer. I also enjoy performing because I love it when I get a standing ovation and people want my autograph and their picture with me.
Have you ever been to Graceland where Elvis lived?
Yes, my Aunt Merlene and Uncle Mike live near Graceland, so we go there at least twice a year. I also went to the first ever Graceland Performing Arts Camp for kids in 2018, again in 2019, and I’m going again this summer. This camp helps kids learn how to sing, dance, and act with a lot of inspiration from Elvis.
What are some challenges you’ve had becoming an ETA?
All ETAs have a huge challenge performing like Elvis because he was one of the greatest entertainers ever. I have many extra challenges, but I don’t let that stop me because I am determined to “Follow That Dream” of being an ETA. I have had years of speech therapy, orthodontic work, voice lessons, dance lessons, and Tae Kwon Do.
Why is Tae Kwon Do important for you as an ETA?
Tae Kwon Do helps me with balance, strength, and focus when performing. ¬¬Elvis earned an 8th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and one in Kenpo. He used martial arts moves in his performances on stage in Las Vegas. Also, his famous jumpsuits were designed after martial arts uniforms to give him more room to perform those energetic moves on stage.
What are your plans/goals for your future as an ETA?
For now, it is a fun adventure and hobby to be an ETA and meet other ETAs from around the world. I never know what is going to come up next, but there is always another opportunity to perform just around the corner. Also, I hope some day there will be a Special Olympics event for ETAs like me to compete for the title of “Special Olympics Ultimate ETA”!