Saturday, November 15, 2014

Jimmy PresLee: Singapore's Elvis Tribute Artiste: (新加坡猫王)

Kat King On The Prowl Within Our Midst:

We met within the confines of a Burger King restaurant. Looking as cool as the Cat himself, Jimmy PresLee resplendently dressed in a black Elvis shirt, waited for 2 hours because he completed an earlier appointment way before time.
"Good afternoon, Mr Lim." We shook hands as he introduced himself politely and addressing me using the same salutation throughout. Jimmy reminds me of Elvis who used to call people he met either, Sir or M'am.


I told him I had always been a fan of The Pelvis but had never met an ETA, especially a Singapore one. As far as I can remember singers who performed on stage singing Elvis numbers were known as Elvis Presley impersonators or simply, Singapore's Elvis or Malaysia's Elvis. 

And there were many of them these past 50 years, from the original Johnny Aroozoo and Wilson David in Singapore, to Rocky Teoh and H.T. Long in Malaysia.

"You have the stature, you have the looks and definitely the charisma of The King. I have watched your video on FB and I think you have impressed me as an Elvis tribute artiste. I hope to see and hear you perform live soon."           
Nighthawks and Purple Hearts:

"Why did you decide to be an Elvis tribute artiste?" I asked. According to Jimmy (67), he had never been on stage singing any number, let alone Elvis ones. He had only been following Singapore pop bands through the years and listening to songs from the west.

But it was 4 years ago in 2009 that he and his wife Judy (61) decided to join the Singapore Elvis And Country Group (SEACG) for weekly karaoke singing at Thomson CC. They struck a high note and eventually joined  the Nighthawks singing weekly with a live band at Tanglin CC. 
One year later feeling more confident about his singing, Jimmy assembled his own live band called Purple Hearts and performed his first gig at Bishan North CC.  He wore his first Elvis customised jumpsuit and Jimmy PresLee, Elvis tribute artiste (ETA) was born. 

Jumpsuits and Elvis Presley Alliance of Asia:

"These jumpsuits cost a bomb," he volunteered, "as they are customised and made to order and cost as much as S$3,000 each." If you checkout his FB, you would probably realise that he has many suits. 
Because of his various performances at CCs, private club functions and charity concerts he was posted on You Tube, and when they became known, Jimmy's Facebook friend base soon enlarged.  

As a result Elvis fans from all over the world wanted to add him on, including ETAS from many countries. Many of them became his personal friends.   

Within a few years he was invited to attend an Elvis Presley Alliance of Asia event in Hong Kong where he got to sing alongside 12 ETAS from Asia.  This was followed by an invitation to Manila to perform with 8 ETAS. 
Seeing how good these ETAS are, Jimmy thought it would be a treat for Elvis fans in Singapore to be able to watch a mega concert paying tribute to Elvis Presley,  the king of rock 'n roll.   
Family and Memorabilia:

So with his very supportive wife (who is cousin to Malaysia's Elvis, Rocky Teoh's wife Jacqueline) and 3 daughters, he became the show agent and organised this inaugural event out of passion and purpose to bring back exciting memories for the baby boomers and the pioneer generation. 
All they want is for the people who love Elvis and his music to come and watch the show. They promise it will be great entertainment.  
                   Jimmy with his wife and three pretty daughters.
I thanked Jimmy for taking time with me as we said our good-byes. He confided that because of his frequent trips he has been collecting Elvis Presley memorabilia from all over and now wants to give them away because he has too many."
"Sounds good. I might pick up on that offer." I told him. "Thanks again. I'll see you at the concert..."

Elvis Presley Tribute Artists at, Elvis Is In The Building Concert, on 21 August at  D' Marquee Downtown East Singapore.

These ETA shows are big overseas and such concerts happened all the time throughout the calendar year.  The gigs hot up when it was around Elvis' birthday in January or near his death anniversary in August. Whatever it is, to his fans, Elvis has never left the building.

When I wrote to Jimmy later in the day I mentioned I was glad to have met him and appreciated how he had given me a personal introduction to the special world of Elvis.

Images/Article: Jimmy PresLee Private Collection. 

The largest gathering of Elvis impersonators is 895, achieved by Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort (USA) in Cherokee, North Carolina, USA, on 12 July 2014.



People Who Read and Like This Posting:

Peter Lai
Terry Ip
Michael Cw Ng
Hanche Presley
Chew Yang Hua
Karen Tan
Rustee Blu
Linda Ng
Willie Wong
TweetyTweety Tang
Linda Goh
Paul Sambrano


I met Mr Andy Lim through FBand it was a privilege and honour to meet him personally. He is so knowledgeable of the 60s and 70s local music scene. Thank you Mr Lim for sharing my passion in your blog.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

That's him alright. Calls me Mr Lim all the time. Thank you Jimmy. Been a pleasure

WILIE WONG said...


RC said...

He now has a new add on prefix to make it sound nearer to the legend. That's great.


Friends who affirmed Jimmy on FB:

Alvin Lee
Rose Najudain
Victoria Masuda
Douglas Masuda
Richard Ng
Masami Shinohara
Ann Jumpsuit Maker
Ruth Nomnomnom
Michael Tay
Noemi Constantino
Linda Ngui

chakap chakap said...

For 10 days each August, thousands of fans flock to the city of Memphis and the famous Graceland estate to take part in the annual festival honoring one of the most iconic musicians and pop culture legends of all time: Elvis Presley.

On July 12, 2014, clad in the white jumpsuits, wigs and gold sunglasses of the 1970s Presley vintage, 895 participants joined together at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in Cherokee, North Carolina, USA, to break a mark that had stood for nearly four years. What did the group do once they assembled? Sang a group version of "Can't Help Falling in Love" a cappella of course.

From: Guinness World Record Website


Thanks to Dick Yip and Doris Lim for blog support.


People Who Read and Like This Posting:

Iwan Presley
Alfred Boy Sanchez
Lee Tracy
Kok Wai Lee
David Mitchell
Rose Nadujain
David Lim


People who read and like this posting and affirmed Jimmy on FB:

HT Long
Kok Wai Lee
Lim David
Lee Tracy
Arthur Husain
David Mitchell


Thank you sir for info. Credit to him for his Elvis gig. As for me I've actually retired from my Elvis gigs except on rare occasions for a charity event.


I had the pleasure to see and hear Jimmy Preslee performed in SRC .He has a good voice and can sing pop songs well

DAISY KOH said...

Seen the Thai Elvis at the clubs ...younger version ...sings well