Born and bred in Leeds with eight siblings, Memphis Pete has stayed true to his roots with countless outdoor events to cheer up the locals. Keeping himself active with online, street and care home garden shows for the communities he knows and loves.
Here is an abridged version of our conversation from 15th March 2021.
Deby: How do you describe your act?
Pete: I’ve got two acts one called Daddy Cool which is a Motown and Blues Brothers show. Then my other act is as an Elvis Tribute Artist (ETA).
Deby: What made you decide that Elvis was going to be your thing?
Pete: I’ve been an Elvis fan since I was 15 in 1977 when Elvis died and singing in bands since I was 19 years old. 35 years later, still singing, I decided I was going to do an Elvis tribute. The standard of tribute artists was much higher than it used to be. The competitions that were about were amazing. That made me decide to try it. Here I am seven years later still enjoying it.
Deby: What have you been up to during lockdown?
Pete: In the Elvis world, there’s a lot of live groups which started up on Facebook. The first one that I joined was called Elvis United. It started in March 2020, the week of the UK lockdown. Within four weeks, it went up to 25,000 members. Elvis Tribute Acts were singing live everyday 24-7, from Canada, Australia, every corner of the world. Over 1,000 acts were involved all with 1-hour time slots to perform. It kept its members entertained as well as being a lifeline for performers as we couldn’t do much else. The group raised over £20,000 for the NHS.
Deby: So, at any time of day, somebody could log into the group and watch Elvis from anywhere in the world?
Pete: Exactly, any day, anytime during lockdown, if you’re big Elvis fan you could enjoy a live act. During the lockdowns, online groups have grown a lot. To be honest, it’s kept myself and other entertainers sane really, because we couldn’t work. It’s affected our living. Doing a bit of live on Facebook has been brilliant.
Deby: A reason to get up and dye your hair?
Pete: Yeah. I’ve visited some care homes and performed outside in the gardens. The residents inside watching out, just entertaining them, and keeping them happy. The outdoor shows have raised money for St Gemma’s Hospice and for Cancer Research. I took part in Movember as well and grew a beard to shave off for charity, it’s been good.
Deby: What are you looking forward to?
Pete: I’m reading and recording a bedtime story for Back to Ours who are a Hull based community group, they do a bedtime story every week. I’m reading The Ugly Duckling for Easter. I’ve been working with Back to Ours for a few years, they bring entertainers out into the streets and shopping centres for everyone to enjoy. I’ve got my first gig since Christmas soon, outdoors of course, in Barnsley and then I’ve got some other gigs lined up. I’ve also got some jingles for adverts to do, which is great fun. Plus, I’ve just finished recording two albums for sale for all my fans, Love Letters and Memories.
Deby: Where can people find out more?
Pete: I do 2 live shows a week on Facebook, every Wednesday I do my Daddy Cool and every Friday I do the Elvis show. I keep it nice and casual and relaxed, singing some nice songs and stuff for people to enjoy.