The Elvis Presley bug bit Chad Jervis when he was 8, and he’s never been the same since.
Now a rising senior attending Cab Calloway School of the Arts, Jervis, 17, of Wilmington, is on a voyage to becoming a singing sensation. The singer-songwriter recently portrayed Corny Collins, a lead character, in Delaware All-State Theatre’s musical “Hairspray.” But that’s not the end of Jervis’ summer performances.
Next, he’ll showcase his polished sound at the Kennett Flash on Saturday.
Q What was the first Elvis album you heard?
A It was “ELV1S: 30 #1 Hits” and I listened to that CD almost everyday. It was basically my bible from when I was 8 to basically 11 [laughs]. I was a really big Elvis fan when I was younger: I think that really inspired me to sing and play the guitar.
Q Have you performed at the Kennett Flash?
A This is my first solo gig at the Kennett Flash. I’ve done a talent competition there a few years ago, but this is my first solo gig.
Q Will you be performing original songs, covers or a combination of the two?
A I’ll be doing a mix of originals and covers. I usually take really poppy songs and I just mellow them down and make them more acoustic. I have this version of “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele that I cover; I usually play a more laidback version of it. And I also do a lot of Simon & Garfunkel, and Mumford & Sons.
Q How would you describe your original music? And how would you categorize those tunes?
A Acoustic rock, acoustic pop — somewhere around there. It sort of has a Jason Mraz feel.
Q What are some of the stories you tell in your original songs?
A The very first original I ever wrote was a song called “Raise Your Hand” and I wrote it a few years back during the recession and everything. It’s about how everything didn’t look, too, well for America at the time. That song was about just keep looking forward and things will eventually get better. One of my other, better, songs is a song called “Run.” That song is basically a love song about no matter where you are, no matter how far you go, I’m always going to be running back towards you. You know, it’s the typical love song [laughs]. I recently just wrote a song about 9/11 and on June 25 a good friend of mine — who goes to the Savannah College of Art and Design, he goes there for filming — shot a music video for it. I thought that was really cool.
Page 2 of 2 - Q What’s the name of the song?
A It’s called “I Am America.”
Q I’ve head a number of local guys from bands mention it’s difficult finding venues where they can perform originals in the Wilmington-area because crowds mostly want to hear covers. What’s your perspective on playing originals in this area?
A I feel like it’s really important to get your original music out there, especially in this scene. But I also feel it’s important to do some covers as well so that you get the people listening to who you are and the kind of music you play. So if you play a cover that a lot of people wouldn’t know, that will just get people listening and into what you’re playing at the time. That will also get people listening to your originals as well. I feel it’s really important to have a few covers everyone knows and to put them in your set and just make them your own.