Local tribute artist Rick Wade has performed for almost 20 years.
Four months ago, he received a phone call from someone special to his line of work.
Wade performs as famed singers Elvis and Conway Twitty.
Four months ago, a woman who called praised his Conway Twitty act.
The woman was Kathy Twitty, Conway Twitty’s youngest daughter.
Now the two are coming together for a live concert on Saturday at Bill’s Music Shop & Pickin’ Parlor in West Columbia.
This will be the first time Twitty will perform with a Conway Twitty tribute artist, she said.
“He seemed like such a great guy who loves his family,” Twitty said about when she first found out about Wade.
Twitty has retired from singing.
However, she will be singing with Wade, as well as singing some of her father’s songs and some of her favorites, Wade said.
Also, she will tell stories about Conway.
“I wanted to show Dad through my eyes,” Twitty said. “He was an extraordinary human being.”
Wade will also perform his Elvis act.
“I’m a huge fan of Elvis, so it will be fun to see that, too,” Twitty said.
There will be a pre-show meet and greet from 3 to 5:30 p.m.
Here fans can meet Twitty and some buy some of the merchandise from her Glitter Creations business, Wade said.
The main show will start at 7 p.m.
Tickets for both are $30, while tickets for only the main performance are $20.
This show wouldn’t be possible without Wade’s wife Melissa.
She contacted Twitty on Facebook, talking about her husband’s work.
How Melissa spoke about Rick and Rick’s talent stood out to Twitty.
It was Melissa’s message that compelled Twitty to call.
“It was like wow,” Wade said. “I never got like Lisa Marie Presley calling me telling me I did a good Elvis show.”
Wade has performed as Elvis for the last 18 years, he said.
He got started when his dear friend Tommy Ingle, another Elvis tribute artist, became ill.
Ingle developed a brain tumor that left him blind and bedridden, Wade said.
Unable to perform his act, Ingle asked Wade to carry it on.
“I told him he was crazy,” Wade said, who was a paramedic at the time.
Wade, eventually, complied.
Before Ingle passed away in 2004, Wade helped put on one final show in Ingle’s honor.
“We rededicated his guitar back to him,” Wade said. “He couldn’t see the performance, but he could hear it.”
Using the supplies Ingle left behind, Wade had to face his newfound career.
He started out at nursing homes and private events. He got his name out there, he said.
A few years ago, he incorporated Conway Twitty into his act.
“A lot of people said, ‘You look like Conway more than you do Elvis,’” Wade said.
After hearing those comments enough, he started to delve into the world of Conway Twitty.
Now, he does both.
“Because I’ve done Elvis for so long, it’s fun to do something new,” he said. “Twitty is a scapegoat to Elvis.”
Kathy toured and opened shows for her father for 10 years.
She’s known as “daddy’s girl,” according to Wade.
Given the great love she has for her father, Twitty doesn’t have any problem with the tribute artists.
“It’s a wonderful thing,” she said. “It brings back Dad in a different way.”
She mainly upholds the ones who portray her father with respect and love.
Twitty went on her own to sing for 12 years.
Now, “I sing around the house,” she said, laughing.
She loves being at home, she said.
In addition to fixing up figurines for her business, she spends time with her husband, her mother, her three children, her four grandchildren and her four teacup dogs.
Wade is also a family man.
Melissa and he have two sons – one who turns 3 today – and four daughters. Melissa assists with his business, too.
“I love to be able to spend time with my family,” Wade said.
Bill’s Pickin’ is at 710 Meeting St., W. Columbia.
For more information on the concert, call 803-796-6477.
Stephanie Turner has a hand on all areas of production for the Aiken Standard, where she reports, edits and designs pages. She graduated in July 2012 with a journalism degree from Valdosta State University and lives with her family in Evans, Ga.
Rick Wade might perform as Elvis and Conway Twitty, but he use to be a big fan of bands like KISS, Journey and Foreigner.
In fact, his friends and he dressed up like KISS band members for a high school talent show. His art teacher helped with the props, and they used fire extinguishers to amp up their shows.
His mom was the main Elvis and Conway Twitty fan of the family.
Submitted Photo Kathy Twitty hugging her father, legendary performer Conway Twitty, at the grand opening of the entertainment complex Twitty City in 1982.×
Submitted Photo Conway Twitty performing with his daughters Kathy and Joni Twitty and Kathy’s son Charlie watching from the audience.×
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