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It was not very long ago that I spoke with Lisa Marie Presley for the first time. She was backstage after a show at the Bowery Ballroom in Nashville, TN, in a small dressing room, wearing a large, orange hooded sweatshirt. She was awaiting the fans lined up outside the door for that evenings “meet and greet”, and their chance to score a coveted autograph from Lisa Marie. After the high- energy, high-impact performance she had just given (she’s improved her stage show tremendously since she appeared 2 years ago, as Chris Isaac’s opening act), she appeared small, smaller than I expected, standing there so quietly, and almost…can I say…meek or perhaps, humble might be a better word.

When I introduced myself, she seemed pleased to meet me. She referred to something we had discussed a week earlier, when I spoke to her by phone from NYC. In fact, she seemed completely different than I had imagined she would be, since during our conversation she was often abrupt, almost combative, if she didn't like a question. Now, here in my presence, she seemed warm, open, almost, can I say, sweet. It must be tough to be Lisa Marie, I caught myself thinking, only daughter of the King of Rock & Roll who died much too soon, the ex-wife of Danny Keough, Nicholas Cage, and most notoriously, Michael Jackson- and always in the public eye.

With all her fame and pedigree, and wealth, Lisa Marie Presley does not have to work. But it appears, she does have something to prove. So you must give her credit at age 37 for daring to put herself on the line for a second time as a musical artist-songwriter and singer- by releasing her intriguing 2nd cd What Now. Mother Priscilla has said, “I was afraid for her to sing. Absolutely. And she was so naïve and innocent about the bigness…the bigness of the shoes she had to fill.” Still, Lisa Marie has proved she’s willing to work-and work hard-to prove herself to her fans while exploring the relevance of her music.

On What Now Lisa Marie appears to have gained focus and a lot more confidence in general. That may be because so many things in her life have changed in the last few years. First of all, she has some experience now, and has learned that she does have an audience for her music, and not just because she’s Elvis Presley’s daughter. The moment she realized this came while she was touring behind To Whom It May Concern. It had been a whirlwind experience, flying constantly on a hectic promotional schedule, putting a band together, making her public performance debuts in front of millions on national television and, of course, fielding intensely personal questions from media both tabloid and mainstream.

In her official bio, she explains what happened. One day, she found herself on stage at the famed Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey, her first real headline show. “I didn’t know that I had fans, to be honest,” she says, looking back on that breakthrough night. “And this was a sold-out night, which shocked the holy hell out of me. And then it was, ‘Jesus, they’re singing my songs!’ They knew all of them and when I screwed up the lyrics they knew them! I felt that energy for the first time, moving people somehow. I’d kind of got lost in the whooped-di-do of interviews and explosion after explosion.” Soon she found the experience repeated night after night as she continued her tour.

“I got re-inspired,” she says. “I realized this is what this is for – not me talking everywhere and being all over the place. It’s what I was originally doing, being a music lover and putting out music and hoping people would hear it and it would help someone somewhere.”

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 45 - September 1688
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