Drake Milligan recalls how playing Elvis Presley on TV changed his life

21 March 2024, 12:27

Drake Milligan played Elvis Presley in Sun Records
Drake Milligan played Elvis Presley in Sun Records. Picture: Smooth/Global/CMT

By Tom Eames

Drake Milligan had quite the journey to becoming a successful country star.

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Drake Milligan first found his love for music after watching an Elvis Presley impersonator at a diner, and soon started dabbling in Elvis impersonations himself.

This led him to audition for CMT's TV series Sun Records in 2017, landing the role of Elvis. This opportunity saw him relocate from Texas to Nashville, during his final year of high school.

In 2018, Milligan ventured onto the American Idol stage but withdrew, realizing he wasn't quite prepared for the platform. Instead, he opted to focus on honing his musical craft in Nashville.

His journey took another exciting turn when he and his band graced the stage of America's Got Talent in 2022, wowing the judges with their original song, 'Sounds Like Something I'd Do'. Finishing third in the season, he made a memorable return to AGT in 2023, delivering a captivating performance of his latest single, 'I Got A Problem'.

His debut album, Dallas/Fort Worth, came out in 2022, and later that year he also made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry.

Smooth Country's Eamonn Kelly caught up with Drake when he was in the UK performing at this year's Country 2 Country (C2C) Festival. Drake talked about his career so far, as well as his new music.

  • Watch the interview on Global Player or below:

Drake Milligan recalls how playing Elvis Presley on TV changed his life

Talking about his Elvis journey, he explained: "I've been an Elvis fan since I was seven years old. And I discovered Elvis through an Elvis impersonator back totally by accident, I was out eating with my family. And there was an Elvis impersonator there. He had the big jumpsuit. He was still friends with him.

"His name is Carlin Hurdle and he's about six foot eight, has the beautiful big jumpsuits. And I just thought, what is this? And went home and started watching every Elvis video I can and just kind of studied Elvis for a lot of years to get that role.

"And I got casted in Sun Records when I was 17, I was still in high school, and through an open call audition, me and my mum drove up. We found out on Facebook about these open call audition for this TV show. And I thought, well, why not?

Drake Milligan - Sounds Like Something I'd Do (Official Music Video)

"And we drove up and I had to kind of fight my way in there. I was too young to really audition and fought my way in there still. And then got a call two weeks later that I had the part and left high school. And I was applied to college, and I kind of just said, 'hey, I'm going to treat this as my college experience'.

"And I went and did that show. It definitely changed my life. I think that was really my breaking point as far as kind of getting my foot in the door, especially in Nashville. And then went to Nashville and started putting the work in and then a number of years later got AGT."