Lisa Marie Presley brought the tour for her recently released album, Storm & Grace, to her hometown of Los Angeles last week, delivering a confident set for a sold-out crowd at the Roxy Theatre. “It’s more nerve-racking for me because mostly it’s family, friends, industry, label,” she tells Rolling Stone. “It’s easier to play for a room full of people you don’t know, for me at least. Playing for my family and people I know, I can feel what they’re thinking and it throws me off.”
The daughter of Elvis is no stranger to high-presssure shows. “Once in New York, I came off the stage and my husband [Michael Lockwood] – who was not my husband at the time, still the musical director – said, ‘I’m glad you did a good show ’cause Bowie was in the audience tonight,'” she recalls of her first major tour. “And I was like, “‘Oh, my God!'” Presley says she received some comforting words from Bowie that evening. “He was so great. He just said, ‘I don’t want to see what happened to Julian Lennon happen to you, because it put him in things that were too big, too quick. I don’t want to see that happen to you. So make sure you do things that are comfortable for you.’ He lectured me in a really good, nice, paternal, productive way. I was doing one giant leap after another, and it was just making me less comfortable with the whole thing. He saw right through that and called it out.”
Presley has been dealing with her father’s legacy for years, but the scrutiny has been particularly high since the appearance of a certain Tupac hologram at Coachella. Unsurprisingly, there has been abundant interest in an Elvis hologram, but Presley says that as of now, there are no plans for one.
“If we want to do it, we’ve got the rights to do it, is basically all that’s happened,” she says. “There’s been nothing set, no prototypes. There’s nothing in the works at the moment.” She is, however, open to the idea if it is done properly, pointing to the virtual tour in which her dad plays onscreen while his band performs live. “That’s been touring for quite some time,” she says. “We’ve done that for so many years that the next level of that would, I guess, be – in a never-ending, growing technical world – a hologram. It just would have to be very, very tasteful.”
For now, Presley is putting all of her attention on building the audience for Storm & Grace. “When I went out and started this last tour, I realized, ‘This is not a Top 40 pop record, and it’s gonna take a lot of work and a lot of me just being out there and doing it every night, and proving myself every night to the next audience,'” she says. “I’m comfortable with that; I prefer that.”
To that end, she is excited about starting another round of touring in the States in November. For that round, she hopes to be out with one of her peers. “I’d love to co-headline,” she says. “My pedal steel player, Doug Pettibone, plays with Lucinda Williams and I thought that would be really cool.” Also on her list are Tracy Chapman and Shelby Lynne. “I’ve never met Tracy, but she’s always been a huge influence on me; I don’t even know if she knows that,” Presley adds. “From her first album until everything, she’s been such an influence on me as a singer-songwriter. And Shelby and I are friends. That would be fun.”
The most important part, she believes, is enjoying a newfound rapport with her crowds. “It’s just a much more intimate relationship with the audience now. You can really feel people really feeling and listening to me now, finally,” she says. “By the end of the show, I can see there’s a definite relationship at that point and I’ve usually done what I’ve set out to do. That feels really good afterwards.”