Drake Milligan burst onto the scene as a young Elvis in CMT’s ‘Sun Records’, a drama mini-series based on the musical ‘Million Dollar Quartet’. Milligan was just a schoolboy but his portrayal of the legend that is Elvis Presley garnered him a huge following. He has since appeared on America’s Got Talent and released his first album showcasing his original material towards the end of last year.
For Milligan, it was a dream role playing Elvis in the TV show in 2017 as, although he remembers the music of his childhood fondly, it was when he discovered the music of Elvis that he really began paying attention. “I grew up loving country music. I love the stories. My parents music was really like Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, George Strait, Alan Jackson, Randy Travis. But it wasn’t until I discovered who Elvis was, through an Elvis impersonator tribute artist who was performing at a local restaurant that I was like, this is the coolest thing ever. That’s when I realised you don’t just sing music, you perform it. Watching Elvis, that was an interactive experience. That’s where it all really began for me of wanting to be an entertainer and singer.”
Although ‘Sun Records’ presented itself as the perfect opportunity to Milligan, there was some thinking to do. Having just started the last year of high school and a college application submitted, was he ready to walk away from the future he’d planned to try a big adventure in acting and singing? “That really changed my my life. I was a senior in high school, and was planning on going to college. I found out about the open call audition for Sun Records, and ended up driving up to Memphis and ended up getting the part. I finished high school online and then worked on that TV show, and it opened a lot of doors for me.”
The experience was insightful and upon the conclusion of filming, he wasn’t ready to leave the industry just yet, “Shortly after that, I moved to Nashville and started pursuing music. I ended up withdrawing my college application and treated that show as my college experience. I was asking every question I could, I had a great mentor on the show, our musical director Chuck Mead who was in a group back in the day called BR549. He’s really just an Encyclopedia of music. Just getting to be around him and getting the bug for music history. I still treat everything I do in music, every opportunity I get, as a learning experience.”
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW IN THE LATEST ISSUE OF MAVERICK AVAILABLE HERE!
Zoe Hodges, Editor