Arts and Entertainment People

Augustan carries on legacy of the King

(Featured photo of Liam Hewitt by Billy Clifton)

Although The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll had died many years before Liam Hewitt was born, the young Augustan wants to share Elvis Presley and his music to a new generation.

Photo credit: Billy Clifton

“I want to keep the music, memory and legacy of Elvis alive as long as I possibly can. He is no longer here to sing the music and interact with the fans,” said Hewitt, 21, an award-winning Elvis tribute artist. “Because of what I do, I can reach a completely new generation of future Elvis fans. I can give them a brief experience of what it was like to actually see Elvis.”

The Augusta resident who looks and sounds the part, has been an Elvis tribute artist for three years and started out with gigs which were, by comparison, a little smaller than The King’s. 

Hewitt’s success and accolades as well as the venues he performs in have grown considerably.  He will be opening for Cote Deonath, world champion Elvis tribute artist, Sept. 8 at the Miller Theater.

“My very first gig was a Sweet 16 party. From there, my business has continued to grow with senior living facilities, nursing home and private parties. I also perform in the evenings at various locations in and around Augusta,” he said.

Liam Hewitt singing “Bridge Over Troubled Water” June 9, 2023. Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Competition, First Round, Tupelo Elvis Festival.

He’s won several awards for his performances.

“I won the King of Memphis Contest last summer and have won four People’s Choice/Fan Favorite Awards in the last year or so. The Fan Favorite Award is particularly important to me because it is voted on by the fans. I am actually quite humbled each time I win it. I have great fans,” Hewitt said.

He most recently won the People’s Choice Award in Elvis’s birthplace of Tupelo, Miss. in June, and has placed in the Finals/top 5 of almost every competition he has entered.

In 2023 alone, he has been in five competitions, placing second, third and fourth in various ones.

Also, Hewitt, who claims to have never taken a singing lesson, said he has improved exponentially through practice.

Photo courtesy Liam Hewitt

“My stage presence and timing of songs has improved leaps and bounds compared to where I was only a few years ago. I’m constantly working on every part of my tribute to make it as authentic as possible. It’s a constant work in progress,” Hewitt said.

And it’s an expensive endeavor to emulate The King.

“Between the jumpsuits, sideburns, jewelry, clothes, sound equipment, and guitars, etc., I’ve invested thousands of dollars into the business,” he said.

The jumpsuits alone are a costly investment.

“My jumpsuits are made by B&K Enterprises. They are custom fitted and each stud placed by hand. They are exact replicas of Elvis suits and are quite expensive to purchase,” he said.

But Hewitt believes the investment is worth it. Hewitt doesn’t just work on his performances or perform for awards, though. He likes to use his gift to help others.

“Fundraisers and charities are important to me, and even more rewarding,” he said.

Photo by Betty Rosenblatt

One event is the Rockin’ 4 Boobies fundraiser this fall at Sole Augusta,

He’s also looking forward to Sept. 8 when he is the opening act for Deonath.

“Cote Deonath is an internationally acclaimed World Champion Elvis Tribute Artist. He travels across the country with his company, ETAFESTIVALS.COM, putting on weekend festivals showcasing different ETA’s (Elvis Tribute Artists) and eras of Elvis,” Hewitt said.

Elvis Tribute Artists have formed a brotherhood of sorts, according to Hewitt.

They have a common bond — “to continue the legacy of Elvis Presley. We compete together, do shows together, we support each other, and we treat each other as family. Cote is going on a tour of several cities and is collaborating with a local ETA from each area. He’s a brother and a friend. Knowing I’m from Augusta, he reached out to me to open his show at the Miller Theatre. Needless to say, I am thrilled for the opportunity,” Hewitt said.

After the concert in September, Hewitt plans on a few Christmas shows. He also has some solo shows in the works for next year.

“I’ve been invited and will perform in Tony Howard and the Motown Revue on (Saturday,) Feb. 10, 2024, at the Columbia County Performing Arts Center,” he said.

Hewitt said the interest in Elvis Presley has not waned since the release of the Elvis biopic last year.

“It’s booming. The number of fans grows year after year. The movie took it to a new level. We are seeing younger fans at the shows and festivals. Elvis’s music is timeless…I believe it’s only going to get bigger,” he said.

Correspondent Ron Baxley Jr. is a veteran journalist who has worked with multiple news organizations in his career. Subscribe to the Augusta Good News’ newsletter here.

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