Elvis Tribute Artists Radio

_________interview with Dan Lentino


One of the first questions asked of Dan is how he finds ETA’s or how do they find him? He says that he receives a number of unsolicited promo packs each week (i.e. ETA’s sending in material in the hopes that they will be contacted). As far as finding ETA’s at contests, he says he shies away from the contests and doesn’t attend them, but keeps his ear to the ground so that he’s informed about any ETA who might seem to have good potential.

Dan advises ETA’s to concentrate on developing their own talents...and to develop each of “voice,” “look,” “moves,” and “attitude.” He explains that “look” is important when it comes to any entertainer and he emphasizes that “70% of what people hear is what they see.” So, the look is very important, but to carry that further and to be able to produce on stage, ETA’s must also have “the voice,” and the talent to be able to stylize their voice so they sound like Elvis. He notes that Elvis had an incredible vocal range and that ETA’s must develop their “high voice” and their “low voice. They should also concentrate on improving their weaker areas.

Dan has been connected to the “Elvis market” and to top ETA’s since the early 70's. He’s also been connected to Legends in Concert. In addition, he is a long-time musician and guitarist, who plays in his own showband ,The Fabulous Ambassadors. He says that being on stage performing behind various ETA’s over the years, has been a tremendous advantage to him in managing and marketing ETA’s as he’s been able to see how the audience reacts, what it is they react to, and what works and what doesn’t. He has also seen how different artists bring out emotional reactions from the audience.

This month’s interview between Dan Lentino and Joanna Johnson was originally broadcast in September 2000.

Dan Lentino, of Dan Lentino Management Group is one of the top “Elvis” agents, who books and manages some of the best ETA’s across the nation (as well as other entertainers).

A longtime musician and businessman, Dan hails from the Chicago area.

In this interview, Dan gives valuable insight as to what he looks for in an Elvis tribute artist. He also gives great advice to ETA’s related to promo packages, honing their talents, what audiences are looking for, and so on.

Dan in action hosting the Ottawa Elvis Fest 2003

When asked about tracks vs. live bands, Dan notes that up until the last 5-10 years, most ETA’s had great difficulty finding good bands that could play “Elvis music” as it should be played, and which would help them to get more into character on stage – also, most theatre settings wouldn’t accept tracks alone. But changes in technology and the development of good quality karaoke tracks, have made it much easier for ETA’s to find music to complement their performances, and to play in a wider range of venues without necessarily having a band.

When asked about the growing numbers of ETA’s, Dan says that he feels that although there are more ETA’s now than ever, there are actually fewer Elvis stylists than before of any quality. In other words, the number of “quality ETA’s” is diminishing --but, as he says, every now and then someone new comes along who has great potential and whose talent can be developed.

As far as promotional materials, Dan advises that it isn’t necessary to have a highly professional promo pack to mail to him. He looks for the “raw entertainer” and the “raw talent” when he’s viewing videos and listening to audio samples. He does say, however, that ETA’s should choose their photos carefully and only submit and use the photos that look the most like Elvis.

Dan also suggests that ETA’s get good
professional advice as to their talents and potential. He says that friends, family, and fans become, to a degree, “Yes people,” who will support you in what you are doing, but are too close to you to be objective and too afraid of hurting your feelings. They don’t provide good honest opinions and constructive criticism.

Dan’s complete answers can be heard in this live interview with Joanna Johnson. Many thanks to Dan Lentino for his informative comments and sound advice.

Dan Lentino in the Birthday Tour 2003

Live interview conducted by Joanna Johnson
Foreword written by Carol Hunter

Contact information:

Dan Lentino Management Group