June 10, 2013 - Judith Yates
It is interesting to watch people’s reactions upon meeting Lisa Marie Presley. Some wipe tears. Some have a huge smile wrapped all the way around their head. Others merely stare slack jawed. It is nothing new to Presley. “No one’s really asked me anything weird today,” she says thoughtfully.
Presley takes it all in stride. At Fan Fare X 2013, she perched on a high stool, signing autographs and smiling into the cameras for over three hours. There were fans who were not even born when she burst into the music scene with her premier CD To Whom It May Concern, which went gold in 2003. There were fans that were dancing to music before she was born. And then there are folks in between: laborers, glam girls, moms and dads, the pierced and studded, GLBT, urban cowgirls, and suddenly shy males. This is what makes Presley so appealing; the fans are so diverse, and she likes it. She is down to earth, takes it all in, and shared a secret: “You have to learn to separate your family life from this, work” she spread her hands to entail it all – music, fans, and more. For those aspiring music hopefuls she advised, “Keep your personal life segregated. There’s you, your life, and then there is this.” She indicates the green room backstage, where everyone from Lee Greenwood to the Band Perry noticed her and walked up to chat. “Be professional. And stay the same person you were before. Then you have a normal life.”
It is sound advice from a woman who has grown up before the camera lens. She also practices her own advice. The day’s itinerary included Fan Fare X, several interviews, then time with “the babies” fraternal twins Harper and Finley, said husband Michael Lockhart. “Then a nice dinner with friends” he summarizes with a smile.
As fans waited patiently in line, Presley and Lockhart greeted them, smiling and shaking hands. A special needs little one was wheeled up to meet her, and Presley took time to hop off her stool, kneel slowly down next to the wheelchair, and speak softly. Then she gently took the boy’s hand and squeezed it. She ensured the family took the photos they wanted. Then she hopped back up on the stool, pen in hand, ready for a group of giggly girls. She met a lot of people claiming to be relatives. “I’m a third cousin removed” or “I’m the cousin to an uncle who married a sister to a Presley cousin.” Backstage, she shrugged and smiled. “They may be,” she said, ‘this is the south and we have a lot of people here.”
Nashville is “a comfortable place,” Presley’s smile widened. “The people are so warm, so friendly. I feel like no matter where I go I meet someone I know, or in the business, or I haven’t seen in a long time. I love it.” She explained this after a silver haired man in cowboy hat and boots had to give her a hug and remind her he was once her babysitter. Then this man introduced her to an established, well-known singer, who watched her every move in awe. She has an affinity for Music City. “It’s close to home (Memphis) and it feels like home.” Currently, she and her family divide their time between their home in England and home in Los Angeles.
People who meet her find she could easily be a neighbor or a pal; she loves Mexican food and sushi equally (“One is healthy, one is probably not so much”) true crime books, and the first thing she does in the morning is brush her teeth (“but no coffee. It makes me too hyped up”). Perhaps it is because Presley has followed her own advice and remains personable. Maybe since she is not a diva on a dais or an affected starlet with a little dog in a purse. Despite the stares and gawking, the hero worship and admiration, she remains, ultimately, Lisa. And people love her for that.