BWW Interviews: MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET'S Cody Slaughter as Elvis
Cody Ray Slaughter has been tagged as one of the most talented, young Elvis Tribute Artist's in the country. Born and raised in Harrison, Arkansas, gateway to the beautiful Ozark Mountains, Cody Slaughter began entertaining at the young age of 13. A true Southern boy, Cody's true passion for Elvis' music and memory has directed his career path.
How did you get started playing Elvis? Did you do it when you were young?
I did it when I was in 2nd grade and then in 3rd grade talent shows. When I was little, my dad had cassettes. I would always listen to him so it just kept going throughout my whole life. It really worked and I enjoyed it. So, I've done a lot of Elvis shows. I'm from a very small town in Arkansas so he's always been around.
How did you end up in Million Dollar Quartet?
I always had a dream of being an actor and I was in Memphis playing the Orpheum and people there told us that the producers of Million Dollar Quartet were going to be there so be on your best. They saw me there and I think they had some interest in me. I went and auditioned for them almost a year later and then I got the part. It was pretty awesome the way it worked out. And I've been doing it ever since 2011.
What was the audition process like for you?
I went in there and I wasn't very up on my guitar skills or acting or anything. I went in there not trying to fool anybody letting them know that I can do it. They were really nice to me. I treated them with respect and they treated me with respect. We hit it off and I sang a song and it was ok. I was very nervous but they saw that they could work with me and I had enough. They called me about 2 days later and told my agent that I got the part. I was 20 years old when I got the part. I couldn't believe it.
I saw you on the David Letterman show. What was that experience like for you?
Oh man, that was a heck of an experience. I always wanted to be on TV when I was a little kid and I just had a dream that I would one day do this. To have that happen, it just blows my mind. Along the way, I've gotten to do MTV and now David Letterman, Access Hollywood and all these things. It just seems like it's happening and none of it's really hit me yet. I don't feel any different. I feel like the same person I've always been with just a little more experience and we got to do a lot of stuff. I did Time's Square and TV there and for the New Year this year. It's been a heck of a ride. I'm really thankful.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I'm really trying to pursue my acting career. I see myself in 5 years I think doing that if I keep it up and keep trying and working at it I think I'll be doing my own thing and maybe not even as Elvis. That's nothing against Elvis but I want to be my own person.
Are you afraid you are always going to be typecast?
You know I have been afraid of that but you just have to believe that it will work out and somebody will see you deeper than the Elvis thing and I think I can do that. I'm not trying to sound arrogant or anything like that. You have to believe in yourself to continue to do this. So, along the way, all these things I've wanted to do come true, I'm just lucky to get 'em out.
Tell us a little more about Million Dollar Quartet and the other cast members.
December 4, 1956, Elvis Presley was just coming back from the Ed Sullivan Show and Carl Perkins was having a recording session and Jerry Lee Lewis was not even famous yet and he was working the piano. Johnny Cash was in town, in Memphis. All these guys got together pretty much like a jam session seeing each other again. We recreate that night. We sing all the hits and everybody plays live music so our show is live. There's no track or anything like that. So we recreate that night. So we have Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins who wrote Blue Suede Shoes. Myself as Elvis. Then we have the man that all the people that brought it together which was Sam Phillips who was the producer at Sun Records in Memphis. We recreate that. We try to give everyone idea of those people.
If you had not become a singer what do you think you would have done?
If I had not started doing this, I think, me being from Arkansas and very small town, raised to say yes, ma'am and all that stuff, I probably would have just been a country boy and just stayed in Arkansas. I'd probably be doing some odd jobs in Arkansas and living the simple life. There's nothing wrong with just living and enjoying life.
Do you have any advice for others who are trying to get into show business?
I really do. I got my GED in 10th grade and I never went to college. I wasn't very good in school and I never took acting classes or singing classes. I was in choir and got kicked out. I wasn't really much good and I couldn't get into it. The whole time I just had a dream. I knew what I had to do just keep that dream alive and never give up. I enjoy anytime I can do anything. I think the best advice for people wanting to get into this is never ever ever give up and never lose that dream. As a kid, we always have dreams and life goes on. The day to day world and surviving in this world. It's hard to keep that dream alive and if you can just hold onto it and wholeheartedly believe that that's what you're supposed to do and you can do it; that's the best thing I can say. Always believe in yourself and never give up. Don't worry about what other people say and if it gets hard just try and hold on 'cause it'll all pay off. At some point it will pay off and you'll end up doing with you're supposed to do. Don't rush it. Let it happen.
MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET plays at the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio from April 2-7. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to www.majesticempire.com.