Yukon’s Elvis Presley will fly to Toronto next month for a filmed encounter with the hosts of CBC’s Dragon’s Den.
There’s no guarantee the undoubtedly bizarre exchange will be broadcast nationally in the autumn. Slightly more than one-half of contestants who make it to filming actually end up on air, said Justine Lewkowicz, an associate producer with the show.
But Presley is convinced he’s about to finally get his big break.
“They’re going to get a blast of energy,” he said yesterday.
Most Yukoners will need no introduction to Presley, born Gilbert Nelles, who claims that ever since a UFO struck him with a beam of light in 1986 he has possessed the soul of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
He legally changed his name to Elvis Aaron Presley after the incident.
He has released two albums, performed with Chubby Checker in Los Vegas and has been the subject of a documentary film, The Elvis Project.
His peculiar brand of apocalyptic Christian hillbilly rock enjoys a small but loyal following in the territory. On the face of things, it seems a stretch to expect he will turn the snarky business titans who host Dragon’s Den into loyal followers.
But Presley, a 53-year-old resident of Ross River, figures he’ll be a shoe-in.
For $58,000, he plans to offer the Dragons a 15 per cent stake in his next two music albums.
The money would help him buy some new jumpsuits, spruce up his website and produce new music videos.
He’s also offering 40 per cent ownership of the Elvis Project, a documentary about himself, and a stake in the landscapes he paints on the side.
Success will be imminent, he said.
“They’ll get a return of $100 million or more,” he predicts.
It’s bound to be a publicity coup, at the least, if Presley gets on the show. Its last season drew nearly 2 million viewers.
He plans to perform one of his originals, Country Child. “I figure it suits it because it’s all about looking for money and fame and fortune,” he said.
He plans to bring along his two guitarists, Jesse Peter and Ray Ladue, to perform with him. The show is willing to pay for the airfare and hotel room for Presley and one guest, but the band will need to shell-out for the additional member.
Presley has seen his share of disappointments. Two years ago he was approached by a music company based in India that said it wanted to tour him around the Middle East. “It was a scam,” he said.
But Dragon’s Den will be different, he said. He expects he’s finally turned the corner.
“It’s a major achievement in my life,” he said. “It kind of exonerates me.
“These songs are going to go worldwide and touch somebody,” he said. “That’s all you can do, leave an imprint.”
Dragon’s Den’s producers visited Whitehorse in March and heard eight pitches. At least one other Yukoner has been invited to filming in Toronto, but, for now, it remains unclear who that is.
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