Lisa Marie Presley has been in the crosshairs of the media since the day she was born. Being The King's daughter provided fodder enough to satisfy media hounds during his lifetime, but Lisa Marie managed to stir up enough dust on her own to keep the press on her trail. The world knows probably more than it needs to about the Jackson union, and has plenty to chew on what hasn't been said about the Cage affair.
But now Lisa Marie has created a stir that has nothing to do with scandal. With the release of her first album, To Whom It May Concern, she reveals herself fully for the first time. "It's scary," says Presley of her first public outing. "This tour is based on me finding my way with the whole thing, so I'm not headlining or anything. I'm just trying to get my chops."
Lisa Marie has none of her father's soft Memphis drawl. There's a slight trace of Valley Girl in her speech, but it goes by so fast you just catch a glimmer as it flashes past. The words tumble out in chunks, spat out in machine gun fashion She pauses a couple of times during the phone interview to deal with a hacking cough she says is "rip-roaring bronchitis. I'm trying to deal with that so that I don't have a coughing attack on stage." But the tour, she thinks, is going well. "Every night it's a different crowd, and it's a different energy and it's something that I'm very sensitive to, so that's scary. But it's been really good so far."
The record is being marketed as pop, but Lisa Marie's punky snarl and prickly subject matter put it on the jagged outer edges of that genre. "Honestly, it's not a pop record," Presley affirms, "and I never intended it to be, so I didn't know where it was going to fall. I hear a lot of different things. I hear (it called) country-rock, I hear rock, I hear all kinds of stuff. I don't hear any of that."
Other people's ears also hear a variety of singers living in Lisa Marie, from Cher to Courtney Love to Sheryl Crow. She admits to sounding a little Crow-ey on "Lights Out," the controversial song about the space in the ground waiting for her in the backyard of Graceland beside her father's grave. But as for the rest of the voices, Lisa Marie says she's been asking that for five years of people who have heard the record being recorded, and no one has been able to give her a comparison. "I found it very interesting that they compared me to Cher," Presley says, "because she's got a baritone voice, and sings high, in the upper register, sometimes almost sounding a little like an influence of my father, in there with her voice. It just goes right around back in a circle, you know what I'm saying? I don't know shit about this mess," she confesses, breaking into gales of laughter.
Despite her professed ignorance of the business, it seems like her natural instincts will carry her through the five-week tour. Presley has said that she'll do this for a while then turn into a recluse. Asked when she'll know when it's time and what she'll use as a yardstick, she confesses that she doesn't have the answers right now. "I don't know. We'll see very soon, won't we?" she says. "Honestly, I kind of am a homebody, I like structure, and being all over the place is really an experience and it's fun, but I need both," Presley says. "I need to have both, so I need to figure that out when the time comes."