Lisa Marie Presley: An Icon in the Making

Her name is not just Lisa, but rather as her daddy proclaimed by emblazoning it on his personal jet, Lisa Marie Presley. And, as she proves in the release of her second CD by Capitol, Now What, she is a rising talent not merely because of her famous moniker.

After living thirty-seven years, Lisa Marie seems to have hit her stride in the boot prints she was destined to follow. Her distinctive low register tone defies tradition in a world too full of imitations.

She is her father’s daughter; down to the sculptured nose ending in flaring nostril, expressive eyebrows, sultry gaze, even the occasional slur as if attempting to defy her intelligence.

Even her closest inner-circle which she agrees is somewhat like her father’s Memphis Mafia, consider her to be beyond stubborn, fiercely intense in devotion, and almost smothering in the love for her two children. Dedications listed on her first CD: “To Whom It May Concern”, are lengthy and cite Riley and Benjamin as “the true loves of my life”. Though she garnered a recording contract before her youngest was born, she decided to forgo in order to raise a second child.

She stared down criticism recently when the public and press blasted her after selling off 85% of the family business, which she and mother, Priscilla, assert is merely a re-organization. Guard dog to the Elvis legacy must be a massive task she would no doubt rather lay on someone else’s shoulders, but rest assured, the integrity of Elvis’s persona will continue to be well protected under her care.

In her first, CD: To Whom It May Concern, also released by Capitol in 2003, Lisa Marie tells her own tale. One of a hard lived past, yet one lived with no regrets. With lyrics written exclusively by her, the words are so compelling you can’t turn away.

In her Lights Out video, from her first release, Lisa appears head to toe black clad, seemingly paying homage to her father and the legacy he left her. Down to the trademark snarl and gyrations, Lisa belts out her first hit describing the life she once lived. In the song she professes that although she lives in California, she keeps her watch set for Memphis time.

Quoting directly from her liner notes, she haunts us with the words: “Someone turned the lights out there in Memphis. That’s where my family’s buried and gone. Last time I was there I noticed a space left. Next to them there in Memphis. In the damn back lawn.” When you realize what you’ve you just heard, the words, in their searing honesty, leave you stunned and somewhat disturbed.

Her work is straight-ahead rock and roll, at times raw and bare, often featuring simple rhythm and a single electric guitar backing her, as in the final hidden track, “Excuse Me”. The fifth track, “Nobody Noticed It”, makes a parent only wish their daughter could possibly love them as much as Lisa Marie obviously cherished her father. In her own words: “All that you had to endure. I guess nobody noticed it. I know your resemblance. It’s out there walking. And I wanted you to now that I haven’t forgotten. Well, they tried to make you look broken. But not while I’m living.”

Hitting every market available as she promotes her second release, Now What, Lisa Marie seems more at ease in the searing spotlight her father so craved. Her appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show was unprecedented. Ms. Winfrey was so captivated and intrigued by Lisa Marie’s past and present, a second show was taped in order to complete the interview that also featured Ms. Presley’s mother Priscilla.

As in her first CD, all lyrics from Now What are originally penned with the exception of the bonus track and the first release from the recording. “Dirty Laundry”, made famous originally by Don Henley, makes a certain statement about her views of the press and its portrayal and intrusion into our daily lives. The lyrics hit home harder now with her at the helm than in 1982 when Henley first presented it on his “I Can’t Stand Still” recording.

Though there is a Parental Advisory tag warning of its explicit content on the Now What cover, it is tame in comparison to some of the lyrics in her first release. It is slicker in production and lacks a bit of the raw undertones that helped turn “To Whom It May Concern” into gold in sales. Nevertheless, it is a gutsy full-throttle delight in its honesty.

There is a touching tribute to Johnny Ramone on the hidden track of her latest recording. Prior to Mr. Ramone’s death, Ms. Presley promised she would feature his “Here Today Gone Tomorrow” on Now What. He had hoped to play guitar on the cut, but died the day they were scheduled to record.

Lisa Marie’s fan base is growing and although her live concert appearances in the past have been scheduled for smaller venues, they are often sold-out. On her official personal Web site, one of her forum pages touts over 239,000 posts in its short life.

As far as promotion goes, her simple logo on T-shirts and hoodies merely have the letters LMP stenciled favoring a less in-the-spotlight persona. As her touring schedule begins to ramp-up, look for her to appear in larger arenas and bigger cities as CD sales and her star value rise.

There is one thing certain in this market flooded with wannabes and regurgitation, Lisa Marie Presley is a talent that’s not going away–unless SHE wants to.

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