Elvis tribute artist Gabe Phoenix of Karragarra Island has returned triumphant, gaining a first place in the Gospel Elis pro division in the Lake George New York Elvis competition for 2019.
The competition is the second largest Elvis tribute artist competition in the world and comprises five days of Elvis Prelsey related festivities including performances on cruises on the lake, a classic car parade and Elvis themed parties.
It attracts tribute artists around the world. Phoenix performed the gospel song Stand By Me and said he believed the win was about establishing an audience connection.
"It was a truly exhilarating experience, and, to be honest, a surprising outcome. While I had never been to lake George, New York, before, there was still a familiar sense of camaraderie - a mutual bond with the audience," he said.
"They were there for the same reason we had found ourselves on the other side of the globe and that was Elvis Presley who I believe is the greatest entertainer who ever breathed. It was both humbling and thrilling at the same time - a true honour in every sense."
Gabe has been working as a tribute artist locally, interstate and overseas for many years.
He is currently rehearsing an Elvis gospel inspired show that he plans on performing locally in coming months. He will also be competing in the Ultimate Elvis Competition at Viva Surfers Paradise festival, from July 12 to 21.
"In the end, a competition is really about pushing yourself to be the best you can be. Not to be Elvis, but rather be better than your best. It's about paying homage and it's about making a connection," he said.
"There is only one Elvis. If you can be respectful and gain the respect of others via music, then you have done your job. Winning is not about being the best. It's about doing your best at what Elvis did best and that is to entertain and connect with an audience."