As if the look and the music aren't enough, Whited also
peppers his show with Elvis facts, trivia, and biographical
information that gives audience members a fuller understanding
of the cultural icon who changed the American music scene
forever. "I want them to concentrate on me, on my performance,
but at the same time, I want them to remember that this is a
tribute show to honor a great artist," Whited said.
His Friday and Saturday night performances are each
unique, featuring different songs and biographical notes. That
means there's a great opportunity for double the enjoyment for
diehard Elvis fans that are fortunate enough to take in both a
Friday and Saturday show.
A versatile performer, Whited is highly respected not only
as a singer but also as an actor in amateur theatre in both
Grays Harbor and Pacific County. Whited has performed a wide
range of characters in many productions with the Driftwood,
Grayland and especially the Willapa Players over the past 15
Lip sync beginning
A Raymond native and 1992 graduate of Raymond High School,
Jason says he "...grew up on Elvis and music from the Grand Ole'
Opry. It's just always been part of my life."
Whited started singing seriously and performing his Elvis
material at private parties after high school graduation. Up
until then, most of his 'performing' was in front of the mirror
in his bedroom or among a select group of friends who shared his
love of the 'King'.
In the early 1990s, he twice entered lip-sync contests at
the Pacific County Fair, miming Elvis, of course. He placed the
first time around and took home the winner's prize the next
year. Responding to the enthusiastic response of the judges and
audiences in those competitions, Whited set out to learn how to
effectively sing Presley songs on his own.
Since then, he has performed at many festivals, community
events, and charity fundraisers in both Pacific and Grays Harbor
counties, developing a very loyal following. Locally, he's
headlined at the Shoalwater Bay Casino. He also won the Elvis
look-alike competition at the Emerald Queen Casino in 2004.
Whited has continued to hone his Elvis tribute material,
not only by improving his vocal interpretations and onstage
persona but also moving from a ready-made wardrobe consisting of
combinations of whatever he could find in department stores to
his current custom-designed costumes that are historically
accurate from the fabrics used to the beading and glitter. Just
one jumpsuit with a cape and belt can cost as much as $1,500.
But Whited says that while replica costuming is an integral part
of the whole package, "It's important to remember, that I don't
go up on a stage and pretend to be Elvis. My whole act is a
tribute to the artist, the point is to honor his memory and the
incredible impact he had on American culture," he says.
That includes staying true to the different musical
interpretation of songs Elvis performed during his 23-year
career prior to his death in 1977. "If you watch and listen to
his performances of the same songs a decade or 20 years apart,
you'll notice that there are definite changes in the way Elvis
interpreted the lyrics and costumed for his shows. It's
important to stay true to that for historical accuracy," Whited
Jason, his wife Desaraye, and their daughter Eden, 6, make
their home in Aberdeen, Desaraye is a veterinary technician at
Companion Animal Hospital, while Jason commutes to Raymond where
he works as a waiter at Slater's Diner, Jason's cousin, Tammy,
and her husband David own the 50s-theme eatery. Prior to opening
the restaurant in December 1999, the Slaters operated the Pizza
Loft in downtown Raymond, where Jason also worked.
Whited has also traveled to Memphis three times in order
to enter the "Images of the king" World championship Tournament.
He made it into the finals in 2004 and 2006, competing against
hundreds of other Elvis impersonators. Jason will miss the trip
this year however, because he and Desaraye are expecting their
second child, another girl, in July, the same month as the
"Its really too bad I can't go this time around. This year
is the 30th anniversary of Elvis' death, and it's going to be a
spectacular event this time around but that's O.K. I'm excited
about our own major happing right here at home," he said.
The curtain goes up at 7:30 p.m. at the Driftwood
Playhouse every Friday and Saturday this month. Tickets are $10
and are available at City Drug, Top Food & Drug and Captain's
Cove Aberdeen, Harbor Drug Hoquiam, Valu-Drug Montesano and Our
Place Ocean Shores, as well as at the door on a space available