In response to Kimberly Crane’s request, “I would love to see my favourite ETA in your magazine,” it is with much pleasure that I introduce ETA Ryan E. Williams to SIDEBURNS Magazine readers. Although I have met neither Ryan nor Kimberly in person, I received such wonderful messages from Kim, and a great bio outline from Ryan, I do feel I know them quite well. Theirs is a familiar story: one about a young ETA with a great big voice and an exciting stage presence, and a manager who spots the potential in the fine young artist and wants to help him fulfill his dreams. I enjoyed putting together this post for ETA Ryan E. Williams, but also for Kimberly Crane, his manager. Kimberly’s enthusiasm for her favourite ETA is infectious. Thank you both for your part in this post. We all wish you much success as you pursue your dreams. C.M.
Ryan E. Williams, a 20 years old Elvis tribute artist from the small town of Lincoln Illinois, became interested in Elvis at an early age when he saw his dad, Terry Williams, perform in his own Elvis shows. Terry Williams performed as an ETA from the mid-80s, and was one of Doc Franklin’s Elvises with Images of the King contests through the 1990s. He was also one of the Las Vegas Elvises that performed and promoted Elvis. He starred in the movie "Honeymoon in Vegas" in the 90s. When Ryan was little, he stood at the stage and watched his dad perform.
Ryan’s love for Elvis continued to grow, and at the age of nine, he competed at a Graceland tent competition and won the youth contest in 2007. As he was growing up, Ryan became more involved in the Elvis business with his dad, and soon began performing his own shows. He went on to compete in 2016, when he was 17 years old, and placed in the semi-finals in Las Vegas and Memphis. Since then, he has competed in 10 competitions and placed or won in 8 out of the 10 times:
· 2018 – 2nd place, Lovis Foundation Rising Star
· 2018 – 1st place winner, Blue Suede Memories, Non-Pro Division
· 2018 – 4th place, Windy City ETA Competition, Chicago, IL
· 2018 – 2nd place, Bill Kelly’s Elvis Contest in Lexington, KY
· 2018 – 3rd place, My Way Competition in Romeoville
· 2018 – 3rd place, Bill Kelly’s Elvis Contest in Louisville, KY
· 2018 – top 5 Ultimate Preliminary, in the FANtasy Fest, Portage, IN
· 2019 – top 5, and the People’s Choice award winner, Windy City ETA Competition, Chicago, IL
Ryan will be competing in the Blue Suede Memories Contest in the Pro Division. As he pursues his career as an Elvis tribute artist, Ryan’s feels the greatest achievement in his ETA career would be to one day win the Ultimate Elvis Contest in Memphis.
Ryan loves being on stage and around fans. “I love putting smiles on peoples’ faces and seeing them light up when they hear me sing and see me perform. It brings back memories and happiness.”
Ryan’s next show will be at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Lincoln, IL on May 11th.
Kimberly Crane has been ETA Ryan E. Williams' manager for 3 years. As evident in her enthusiastic comments, she is also his biggest fan and supporter: “He eats, sleeps, and breathes ELVIS! I've had judges tell us when Ryan sings ”HURT”, they have never heard it done as well as Ryan does it. It gives them goose bumps. Everyone is saying he's a young Bill Cherry. And by the way, that’s his REAL hair and sideburns!!!”
In mutual admiration, Ryan says of his manager, “She has believed in me since day one. I was down on myself and about to give up singing, but she believed in me. She helped me at the Logan County Fair, and talked me into performing in my costume for a talent contest, which I won in 2017. Since then, we travel around quite a bit, performing at local nursing homes, bars and at many other events. My manager, Kimberly, always says that I have a big voice, but an even bigger heart. She loves that I am humble, and hopes that I stay grounded in such a tough industry. She’s simply my biggest cheerleader. Kimberly has nothing but high hopes for my career and wishes me nothing but success!”
In reply to Kimberly’s thank you note to a competition judge, she received the following reply (edited and paraphrased) regarding Ryan’s performance:
I felt his performance was VERY strong. Everyone "thinks" they can do Elvis...but very few actually can. During each performance, I close my eyes for a few seconds - just to block out any visual effect, and Ryan's rendition of "Hurt" was one of the best I have ever heard. There are a lot of vocal exercises going on in the song, and hitting the high notes at the end is where most performers falter...not Ryan. I admit I got a bit of a chill when he hit - and held - the high note for a few seconds. Good luck in the future - I know Ryan will be successful!
Editor’s Note: With permission from Ryan E. William via Kimberly Crane, I wrote the following addendum that contains information about former ETA Terry Williams that I would like to share with you:
Time has moved on since the early days when Ryan stood watching his dad on stage. In a reversal of roles, Ryan’s dad, Terry Williams, who has onset Alzheimer’s disease and now lives in an assisted living home, loves to go and watch Ryan perform at his shows now. Terry Williams still remembers the words to Elvis’s songs and from his wheelchair sings along with his son, Ryan.
We wish Ryan continued success in his ETA career, and send our appreciation and respect to Terry Williams for his years as an ETA. C.M.
Thank you to photographers, Jenny Paige (watermarked photos), William Strauss (three photos following Jenny Paige), Eva Brand (Aloha photo), and Kimberly Crane (1st photo, and last two b&w photos).