Gary Lawyer is back to do what he does best — paying a tribute to Elvis Presley. The singer will perform in the city on September 15
Gary Lawyer has done many Elvis Presley tribute concerts — for good reason. He played Presley in a musical Are You Lonesome Tonight (AYLT) by Bombay band Rock Machine — now called Indus Creed — and newspaper reviews gushed about his performance.
Ever since, he has made time for Presley tribute concerts. The majority of them performed in Mumbai and Pune, they are marathon efforts at presenting the legend, from the start of his career to its finish. At “Rewind. Pause. Save.”, at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall in Chetpet on September 15 (from 7.30 p.m.), Lawyer will again honour Presley. As the concert also pays tribute to the Doors, Lawyer will stick to the best of Presley. Having decided not to carry a pre-selected list of hits, the singer plans to play it by the ear. “We’ll get on the stage and decide what to offer the audience — be assured you will get the very best of Presley and Doors.”
Lawyer instinctively gauges the mood of his audience and gives what they want. It was this ability that gave him a firm footing in India’s western music industry of the 1980s, when “a family emergency forced me to return to India from America”. The move appeared to have cut short a singing career forged in the United States. Rather than meeting with a tame end, his career took an unexpected and robust turn.
Recalls Lawyer, “It was a concert by the band ‘People’ in Mumbai and I was among the audience. After the interval, the band members, including Ronnie Desai, asked me to get on the stage and sing. ‘Come on, Gary!’ they said. These guys were my friends and they knew I could sing. I sang, and the next day I got a call from HMV. A top official of the company had been in the audience and I was signed on for an album, my first. Two days later, I received a call from advertising agency Genesis with the offer of a jingles assignment.”
For Lawyer, this string of unexpected events confirmed what he had felt from an early age — “I was born with a soul of music and I knew I would become a singer.” Being academically qualified in economics and politics and the likelihood of succeeding in the corporate world did not suppress this inner calling. The reason is simple: Lawyer inherited a love for music from both parents. “My mother (Dhun Lawyer), who passed away when I was very young, left behind a rich Western music collection,” says the singer and recollects how he would go with his father Rustom Lawyer every week to Rhythm House (Bombay) to pick music records.
Considering these beginnings, it is little surprise that, at 65, Lawyer is as mesmerising a performer as ever.
For details about “Rewind. Pause. Save” and tickets, call 9940099227.