Name: Roberto (Rob) Picazo
Name of Edinburgh show: The Elvis Presley Story
Venue: theSpace @ Symposium Hall
Performance time: 21:35 (20:30 on the 12th & 19th of August)
Show length: 50 minutes
Ticket price: £13.00 (Concessions: £11.50)
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I was born in Madrid to a Spanish father and English mother, and we moved to England about 11 years ago. My dad is a huge record collector, so I’ve been into music nearly my whole life; at 15 I discovered Blues and Rhythm & Blues – Stax, Fame, Sun Records – all the great Southern 50s/60s labels and artists. I found my real passion in this music.
So, since I left university 4 years ago, I’ve been writing and performing original Blues and Soul throughout the UK. I crowd-funded and self-released my debut album Spanish Moss last year, and now I’m very excited to be working on these great projects for Night Owl Shows.
Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
The show explores the early career of Elvis Presley – from his first recordings at Sun Studios to his meteoric rise, and his importance within American music and culture. We have this fantastic live-documentary format that Night Owl Shows have been producing for the last few years, and we have a brilliant band to transport you to Memphis in the 50s.
How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
We’ve been researching and rehearsing this show for the past year, with the debut performance having taken place in February. I’m of the opinion that Elvis will never stop being relevant: he’s one of the biggest stars the world has ever seen; his music is timeless and paved the way for millions of artists; and his life story is an integral part of American history and culture.
Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
This is my first time at the Fringe… I was hoping you could give me some tips!
What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I was on stage and getting ready to play at a festival, and was having trouble with my guitar strap. Right before my name was announced, the strap came apart; dropping my guitar to the floor, taking it out of tune, and shattering the capo that was sitting on the headstock (also damaging the headstock in the process). It’s safe to say that this incident set the tone for the rest of the performance…
Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
I have many heroes to list, so I’ll try and keep it short. Sam Cooke is my main influence; his voice and phrasing was iconic, his songwriting inspired, and he had a real talent for the business side of music. My other influences include Ray Charles (he was also a pioneering jack-of-all-trades) and Solomon Burke, who had one of the finest voices around. And of course, Elvis Presley who, besides having that fantastic voice, also helped to popularise Rhythm & Blues and Rock n’ Roll.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
A lot of melodic humming, some pacing and every now and then, a pre-show whisky. I don’t necessarily encourage this last one, but Edinburgh is the right place for it…
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
There’s so many to see and so little time! First and foremost, I’m extremely excited to watch the other Night Owl productions and support these fantastic musicians.
Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
I think when a show tells the story of a figure as famous as Elvis, there’s the risk of it appearing to be a tribute – copying the style and mannerisms. We don’t aim to do this. We seek to tell his unique story, provide insight into his early life, and perform the iconic songs with the passion and energy that Elvis displayed.
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