TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – Fans of the King of Rock and Roll are in Tupelo from across the United States for that city’s festival honoring its most famous native son.
And among the crowd, one teenage fan, who is following a dream to become a tribute artist honoring the original American idol.
Seventeen-year-old Nevan Castaneda spent his first day at his first-ever Tupelo Elvis festival, learning some of the singer’s stage moves, from the pros.
Nevan discovered Elvis a few years ago through a YouTube video, and he was an instant fan.
“Just that strut, and the lip and swagger, it hooked me and I said something is different about this guy,” Nevan said.
Not long after that, Nevan and his family traveled from their Colorado home to their first Elvis festival in Memphis, where he saw tribute artists performing and knew that’s what he wanted to do.
Nevan along with his mom and dad, travel around the country now, where he performs for Elvis fans. He says he’s made a lot of friends in the Elvis world.
“They embrace you, our first five minutes walking in Memphis, I was about to start singing, people give you a hug right away, it’s a connection,” he said.
Nevan’s mom was always an Elvis fan, but after that first festival, the entire family wanted more. Nicole Castaneda says it’s a joy to see her son doing something he loves.
“Anytime you can see your child just light up and love everything they do and to put so much work and effort into, it, I don’t have to ask him to practice, which I love that, he just does it, and honestly, we have to tell him to be quiet, he sings everywhere all the time,” Nicole said.
Nevan says he’s not surprised there are Elvis fans, in their teens, and even younger.
“If we knew what Elvis had, he wouldn’t be Elvis anymore, if he didn’t have that mystery that what’s kept him since he started till over 44 years now since he passed away, no matter what we do we still can’t capture what it is, that he had, something God only makes once and God only gave it to him, that’s the thing a lot of kids notice,” he said.
Nevan is looking forward to perfecting his tribute to the King of rock throughout the rest of this year and he plans on returning to Tupelo next year when he turns 18, to take the stage in the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Competition.
On Friday, the first round of the Ultimate competition takes place and in the afternoon, Elvis’ former girlfriend, Linda Thompson will talk about her time with Elvis.