Interview with Mike Slater
~ Tribute to Elvis
Lamitschka: What kind of songs do you like to record the
Mike Slater: Well being an Elvis
Tribute Artist for 17 years now my favorite songs to record would
have to be Elvis songs . Elvis had such an amazing range to his voice
that carried him over to many genres of music Gospel, Country, Rythem
and Blues to name a few. I think perhaps my favorite music to record
would have to be Gospel. Love the feeling it gives me when I sing it
and the emotions my audience have when they hear me belt it out.
Lamitschka: What is your favorite song among all the
songs you have recorded and what’s the story behind it?
Mike Slater: I’m gonna have to
fall back again on Elvis Gospel and go with “How Great Though Art“.
This was one of Elvis’s most beloved of all the Gospel songs, he
performed it in every concert from 1972 till his passing in 1977.
This song really shows the strength of my voice, as well as the
range, and I believe I do it justice .
Lamitschka: Do you have any interesting stories about how
fans have been affected by your music?
Mike Slater: What amazes me about
my Career as an Elvis Tribute Artist is that its never ending. Elvis
has such devoted fans we are talking about a man who died in 1977,
Thirty-five years ago and his home is the most visited home in the
United States, next to the white house. I did a performance a few
years back for the police department of a local town in Massachusetts
and was blown away at the age demographics that attendeed. I had
children ranging in age from 6 on up mouthing the words to songs that
are over 40 years old? Incredible that one man has touched so many
generatioins of music lovers.
Lamitschka: Who inspires you musically and how deep do
your musical roots run?
Mike Slater: I’ve been an Elvis
fan singe I was 6 years old and I’m now 45, so I would have to say
Elvis tops that list. Since a very young age I’ve also listened to
artist such as Jerry Vale, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis
Junior, Sergio Frankie, Tom Jones and all the heavy crooners of that
period. Men with unbeliavable range of vocal abilities, that’s what
inspired me. I remember thinking as a kid listening and saying,
“Wow, if I only could sing like that!“
Lamitschka: What do you think about today’s music scene
versus its post and where do you see it going in the future?
Mike Slater: Honestly todays music
is more synthesized and computer generated voices for my taste. I am
all about the vocals. The music industry has changed so much with the
computer generation and technology. It’s sad to hear that most of
the schools in the United States are dropping music classes, why
learn an instrument when you can just play one on a computer and tell
it what notes to play.
Lamitschka: If you had the chance to change something
about the music industry, what would it be?
Mike Slater: To get back to basics
of real instrumentation, and to bring back the music for our
children. I’d also like to see some more vocalists for a change,
instead of all the computerized and synthesized music we hear today.
Lamitschka: As an artist, you so many tasks such as
recording, touring, interviews. What do you like best, what’s your
Mike Slater: I would have to say as
an Elvis Tribute Artist, performing in front of a live audience.
Elvis himself always loved to please the crowd, he fed off of the
excitement and the energy of it. I love to watch the facial
expressions of the audience, to see the smiles, and sometimes it gets
very emotional, especially if your able to hit home for someone who
loved Elvis. I was once given a hundred dollar tip from a man who
said I made his wife cry her eyes out when I sang for her. He added,
“I’ve never see her cry before, and I’ve been with her over 20
years, you touched her soul, and you earned every cent of this one
hundered dollar bill, thank you so much for a wonderful night, it was
truly amazing!“ So Performing Live, and seeing something like this
happen, is definately the BEST feeling for me!
Lamitschka: What was your big break that got you into the
Mike Slater: To be honest I really
have not had that Big Break yet. As an Elvis Tribute Artist it’s
all about being in the right place at the right time, there are over
33,000 Elvis Tribute Artists in the world today, and over 20,000 are
in the United States alone, so you can imagine the competition we
face. I do my performing part time at the moment and I would love to
be out there doing it full time, but until that certain person sees
me and gives me that break the financial aspect of being an Elvis
Tribute Artist is not that profitable and almost impossible without
Lamitschka: What inspired you to become an artist?
Mike Slater: I’ve been singing
along with Elvis records since I was six years old and at twenty-five
my family and friends pushed me into going out and singing
professionally. What better encouragement than having fans who have
seen Elvis live when he was alive, telling you to keep his memory
alive. So I do dinner shows, private functions, and cruise ship
parties, and as long as the fans keep liking it I’ll keep doing it,
because it is Elvis’s Fans who inspire me the most!
Lamitschka: What does it take to be a music icon?
Mike Slater: Practice! Practice!
Practice! And you have to love what you do. It’s one thing to be
an Icon like Elvis was, but it’s a totally different thing to
Impersonate an Icon. You almost have to strive to be better than the
original, but keep your head in the right place and respect the
original. The hardest part for me is to keeping in shape. Elvis
from 1968-1973, which is the Elvis period that I want to portray, he
was still in great shape. I am forty-five years old and Elvis died
at forty-two, luckily I have been blessed with good genes and I look
much younger than I am. I have done many shows with fans that have
seen Elvis live and gotten white silk scarves from him, coming up to
me at the end of my show and praising me for what I do, and comparing
me to the King himself, and saying I’m the best tribute artist that
they have ever seen. It definately makes me feel great, that I am
acomplishing this for them, but at the same time you have to keep
your perspective and stay true to who you are. On stage I am for all
intensive purposes trying my hardest to fill Elvis’s shoes for his
fans, but when I’m off that stage, I’m back to being myeslf, Mike
Slater. An Image is one thing, an Icon is another, Elvis was an Icon
and there will never be another! He was an amzing entertainer and
individual and I am happy that I have been blessed these past
seventeen years to pay tribute to such a man …
Slater ~ Tribute to Elvis
Christian Lamitschka (