Sweet Isabella keeps faith in her icon
Demographically speaking, a girl like Isabella Scott ought to be obsessed with the likes of Justin Bieber. But her heart belongs to Elvis Presley.
In her bright cotton dress and cowboy boots, the 13-year-old from Bonifay, Florida, stands out among the significantly older crowd at Elvis Week, the annual jamboree in Memphis dedicated to the king of rock ‘n’ roll.
But as the youngest president of any Elvis Presley fan club anywhere in the world, Isabella clearly knows her stuff.
“With his music, he has so many songs that you can connect with – like, if you’re having a bad day, his songs can pick you up,” she said on Tuesday at Presley’s suburban Graceland estate, which she first visited in 2010.
“And I just love his life story,” she explained in an engaging southern lilt.
“You know he liked to give and to be generous to people.”
Presley died 22 years before Isabella was born – and well before the internet technology that enabled her to bond with other Elvis aficionados worldwide. Her web-based Elvis Aaron Presley-TCB 4EVR Official Fan Club (“TCB” meaning Taking Care of Business) has 1,470 members, plus a Facebook page and a Twitter account (@GracelandGal) that she updates several times a day.
“Found the security guard who calls me, ‘Pres!’ I love being an #ElvisFan club president. #ElvisWeek #elvis,” she tweeted from Graceland earlier this week.
“Basically, I just post things going on that are happening here at Graceland and I try to keep my members updated with all things Elvis,” said Isabella, who spends about two to three hours a week maintaining her virtual fan club.
But it is not entirely about Elvis.
For her YouTube channel, Isabella chose Start Me Up by the Rolling Stones as the soundtrack for a video mash-up of her Graceland snapshots, betraying a precocious taste for classic rock.
“I listen basically to anything new on the radio,” she replied when asked to share her favourite tunes. “I like oldies. I like country. I like any kind (of music), really.”
Isabella vividly remembers being introduced to Presley’s music during a family road trip when she was five years old.
“My dad had made a CD for us to listen to on the way ... and it had a lot of Elvis hits on it like Kentucky Rain, In the Ghetto and Suspicious Minds, and I really liked it,” she recalled.
“I kept wanting (my parents) to replay it and that’s how I started loving Elvis.”
But what do her peers at school make of her Presley obsession?
“They sort of think it’s weird that I like Elvis,” she said. “They wonder why I’m such a big Elvis fan and a fan club president when Justin Bieber is going out on tour and stuff.”
And what does she tell them in response?
“Elvis is the best... His legacy lives on today.”