A CHANCE meeting outside Halifax’s Victoria Theatre in 2007 transformed the life of 44-year-old Darren Lee.
The former builder is now in demand as an Elvis Presley tribute act.
Darren, of Ripponden, recalled the day fate came calling.
“I was walking past the theatre and a chap was standing there dressed as Elvis,” he said.
“He was there to audition for Elvis UK 2007 and said if I fancied it to go round the back where the lads were waiting to audition.”
Dressed in building boots and work clothes, Darren took his chance among 14 other hopefuls.
A few hours later he received a call asking him to be back at the theatre for 7pm to sing in front of a packed Elvis on Tour audience.
He rushed to Asda and bought a cheap black suit and along with other short-listed singers was asked to sing Blue Suede Shoes.
The audience voted him the winner and he went on to the finals at Blackpool Opera House and made the final five from a line-up of 19.
“Then the phone started ringing. I put an act together and I’m out singing four times a week now,” said Darren.
He became a fan of Elvis aged about seven when he heard Hound Dog on the jukebox at his dad’s pub, The Shepherd’s Rest, Bolton Brow, Sowerby Bridge.
Darren later learned to play guitar and wanted to make his own way in the music business and toured working men’s clubs as Arren D Lee, singing songs from various artists.
His father unsuccessfully tried to encourage him to sing Elvis songs as his tone was very similar.
“I lost my dad in 2006 and I packed in singing altogether as he used to go everywhere with me,” said Darren.
His dad finally got his wish through a twist of fate and next year Darren intends taking up an option to sing in Memphis.
His partner, Carolyn Clarke, and their children – Spencer 15, and Terri, 13 – are fully supportive of his new career.
“I just want to be good at what I do and make people happy,” said Darren.
But it can be a lonely job and to keep himself around people he works part-time during the day as a maintenance man at Savile Park Care Home, Halifax.
That has provided him with a new audience as he has now been asked to tour all 22 homes owned by Ideal Care Homes.