"HIS VOICE IS THE HEART OF THE PROJECT"
VIVA ELVIS ALBUM PRODUCER ERICH VAN TOURNEAU TALKS ABOUT THE WORK INVOLVED
By Robin Leach For Vegas Deluxe
Cirque du Soleil’s Viva Elvis at MGM CityCenter’s Aria, Elvis Presley Enterprises and Legacy Recordings released 'Viva Elvis - The Album' yesterday to
commemorate the 75th birthday year of Elvis Presley.

The album, a celebration of Elvis and his music featuring his voice in a new context, was produced and arranged by Erich van Tourneau, Viva Elvis’ music
director and arranger at Aria.

The album includes re-imagined versions of
“Blue Suede Shoes”, “That’s Alright”, “Heartbreak Hotel”, “Love Me Tender”, “King Creole”, “Bossa
Nova Baby”
, “Burning Love”, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and “Suspicious Minds” as well as interludes based on “Memories” and “You’ll Never
Walk Alone (Piano Interlude).”

Erich, who performs on bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, piano and keyboards on the new album, told me that he spent 3,000 hours listening to 914
albums with Elvis songs and that more than 17,000 samples of Elvis songs were used to make the 12 “new” tracks.
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“His voice is the heart of this project,” Erich told me. “I was taking vocals he recorded 66
years ago back in 1954 and painting new colors on them to make it relevant in today’s music.
It was the most interesting project of my life and at the same time the most complicated.”

“A lot of his best material goes back to the ’50s when he was a dangerous rebel who created
a musical revolution. It was the ultimate technical technique to bring him back to life today. It
was like changing an old black and white movie into HD super sound. Remember when he
recorded ‘That’s Alright,’ it was in mono -- not even stereo!

“I used a state-of-the-art program, which in some way makes audio-engineering history, where
we took the heavenly choir of the Jordanaires, changed the key and transposed the vocals to
get the perfect note of the chords. You couldn’t have Elvis more modern if you ever tried to
beat what we did. It’s as if Elvis is here in the room with us because we wanted him living in
2010.

“We even have his first live recording when he was just 19 years old and showed his
distinctive style. It was recorded at the Louisiana Hay Ride. These are lost recordings -- little pieces of magic that we’
d sample from each one during editing to get the best Elvis voice possible. We worked with the original masters from
SUN Studios, which is really The Holy Grail.”

Erich explained that today’s new record in a sense becomes Viva Elvis’ soundtrack. “With so many variations, it’ll take
another couple of weeks before those modifications are worked into the show at Aria. It’s a case of where the egg
came before the chicken because we did our project first, and now the show will change to match it. That’s a first in
theater history.

“Sometimes I stripped out Elvis’ original musicians from back then to use our own musicians here at the Vegas show.
But I’d still use a guitar track from back then and mix with our own musicians.

Cirque du Soleil’s Viva Elvis, Cirque’s seventh spectacular on The Strip, fuses dance, acrobatics and live music in
the tribute to the life and music of the late King of Rock and Roll and had its world premiere in February in a specially
designed 1,800-seat theater at Aria.

“I gave my life to this project. I have no regrets, and I am very reverential toward Elvis. I gave a new lease of life to
the original superstar. Every track has the same energy he had back in 1954 but in a 2010 technological way.”

'Viva Elvis - The Album' is OUT NOW and available as a worldwide release.
Not Just Computers: Erich van Tourneau plays piano & other instruments on 'Viva Elvis - The Album'