WHEN 15-year-old Andrew Carlin is around, Elvis (and Neil Diamond) are in the building.
For while his mates may be more interested in playing the latest XBox hit, the schoolboy is recreating the chart toppers by impersonating the singing superstars. It’s all the more impressive considering Andrew, from Livingston, has never had a singing lesson in his life but spends the majority of his free time imitating his heroes and performing at gigs all over the country – as well as starring in his own theatre shows.
He said: “I absolutely love it, performing is just brilliant and I hope to make a career of it one day.
“I know it’s quite unusual but the friends that matter to me think it’s awesome.
“I’ve listened to Elvis Presley and Neil Diamond for as long as I can remember – to be honest it’s all I can remember listening to as a child.
“I remember going to Alloa to see Johnny Lee Memphis, the world-famous Elvis impersonator, in concert for my 12th birthday with my mum.
“I was the youngest person dancing about in the audience, and I think he noticed me and then got me up on the stage to dance with him.
“The following year he asked me to support him at his concert, and things just went from there really.”
At the age of 13, the Deans Community High School pupil performed his first gig in Edinburgh at the Good Companions pub in Oxgangs, before going on to sing at a number of other venues around the city – including rugby clubs, bowling clubs, pubs and weddings.
In August last year, Andrew performed in his own show at the Regal Theatre in Bathgate, where hundreds of people gathered to hear him sing both Elvis and Neil Diamond classics.
Andrew said: “I was really nervous before I walked out on stage at my own show – it was a scary moment.
“I think my favourite thing about performing as Elvis and Neil Diamond are the crazy outfits I get to wear. My favourite song is Neil Diamond’s I Am, I Said.”
Andrew’s dad Neil, 46, said he and his wife Elaine, 47, said they were very proud of their son. He said: “It just started out as him singing and dancing around the house and now it’s grown arms and legs.
“He is unbelievably talented and he’s really hoping to make a career out of singing.”
Robert Brown, from Sighthill, was on holiday in Cyprus last year, when he met Andrew and his family for the first time. He said he was sitting in a bar one night when he heard Andrew singing and was “amazed by his talent”.
Robert said: “For his age he is absolutely amazing – the first time I seen and heard him I couldn’t believe it.”
Andrew is now represented by his own agent, Emkay Entertainments, and will be performing in his solo show this September at the Regal Theatre in Bathgate.