By Justin Morris
The path to success, fame and fortune in the entertainment industry is paved with great and many different things for a great and many different people. Some by famous parents, some by association, some by hard work and determination and others by pure luck have found their way to their respective spotlight. Some, however, defy convention both in what they do and in how they get there.
One such individual is a performer from the Dallas area who not only found his way to that spotlight but had to win the hearts of an American television audience in order to do so. That man is Terry Fator, who, with his singing puppets in tow, shocked everyone from Piers, Sharon and the Hoff on down and walked away as the season 2 America’s Got Talent winner. Having had the chance to chat with him for a few minutes recently I found myself very taken with this man’s enthusiasm, positivity and values within the creative process that spoke to me very personally, leading me to share this with the JMLC readers here today.
THAT, and we got to talk about Lake Charles, Sha!
Friends In Low Places…
JM: So to get started, I wanna go way back. Back before Vegas, before the million dollars, before the show, even… I want to go back to Lake Charles.
Terry Fator (laughs)
JM: This place is not unfamiliar to you, is it?
TF: No it’s certainly not (laughs). I’ve been there many, many times! I did school performances for a very long time and I was a guest at a lot of schools there. I also did Contraband Days with my band Texas the Band several times over the years and we always had a ball! And, you know, I’m from Dallas so its always been a place I was familiar with but it was always a great place to be, as well. I’ve got a lot of friends from home coming down to see me and I’ll even get to have lunch with some, so that’s gonna be great. And we’re doing two shows, which I don’t do very often because it can be so taxing on my voice, but we’ll have two shows so everyone can come out and just have a great time.
JM: Well, welcome back, brother! I do have to ask you something. Having studied vocal music, I try to think about all the technical aspects of how to sing and what all makes a singer sound good. How on earth do you not only capture humor and characterizations flawlessly but… how the hell do you sing like that??
TF: Honestly, I have no idea. You know its very odd that I can actually do what it is I do. It’s a very strange thing and I don’t understand it any more than you do(laughs). My voice doctor tells me that what I do is physically impossible. He can’t figure it out because I break all the rules of singing because your mouth is supposed to be open! I’m just very grateful for the gifts I was given and I try to use it to do good in the world and make the world a better place. I hope I can. I’m trying my hardest, anyway (laughs).
JM: So going into America’s Got Talent, how did you feel about walking in to that as a ventriloquist? Even the judges were visibly and audibly crushed at the sight of a puppet, but they were even more dynamically blown away when the first notes of “At Last” rang through the theater. It literally brought them to their feet. Did you think that you were going to win them and the viewers over like that?
TF: Oh, I never thought I’d win it, I mean that just wasn’t gonna happen. Winning wasn’t even in my thought process. Truthfully, I thought I was gonna get on there, be on a few episodes and raise my prices in schools. That was my goal. I’d never thought I’d win it and become a headliner in Vegas and a multi-millionaire. Honest to God, that was so far beyond even my wildest fantasies. I guess sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. I really am just an ordinary person. God just gave me some extraordinary gifts and I’m incredibly grateful for that.
JM: Well, you’ve had a great run in Vegas so far. How does your Vegas show and your touring show differ?
TF: I’ve been in Vegas now for eight years and we just signed for another five, so it’s working very well. My Vegas show is where I debut the new puppets. My road show changes to keep it fresh, so my fans can keep coming to see my shows over the years and always see new material. It’s a commitment that I’ve made to myself and my fans because I don’t want to get bored either. With the road show, not only are you REALLY, REALLY going to enjoy yourselves, but you are also going to leave inspired. You’re gonna leave feeling on top of the world and you’re gonna leave wanting to pick up your favorite guitar or get back to the piano or start writing again. You’re gonna leave feeling great and that’s what my show is about. I’m a very positive person and I don’t go to the negative. I want to make people feel happy and my show focuses on that.
JM: Well I, for one, can’t wait to see the show live at Golden Nugget Casino on Sunday, September 4. Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today!
TF: Absolutely! I’m so looking forward to getting back in that neck of the woods and seeing my friends and family again. I hope that everyone comes out to support the show. My promise to you that you’re gonna have fun and see some stuff that you’re never gonna get to see anywhere else! You’re gonna leave on top of the world!
What A Wonderful World…
Having watched his AGT run and plenty of content since, I have long been amazed as this guy’s talent and his stage persona. His positivity and his enthusiasm for his craft spoke to me personally and his passion for wanting to drive creativity and bring positivity and happiness to people is something that I think would behoove all artists to take for their own. In a day where the news is often less than good, putting our respective creative passions out their in a spirit of goodwill is something that can only serve us well. I want to thank Terry for the fact that, despite his fairy tale story, he still remembers who he is, where he is from and the values that made him who he was long before the great spotlight found its way to him. Keep the light shining, brother! The world is a funnier and happier place with you in it. Many thanks!
Something Is Happening Here…
Labor Day Weekend is on the horizon and there are plenty of great things to get out and to see and do before it’s gone!
Saturday, September 3
An Evening With STYX at L’Auberge Casino Resort
Forty-four years of STYX comes to the L’Auberge Event Center with a show that I can promise you will take you straight back to the days when their hits were burning up the charts! Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com. Having seem them recently, I can tell ya GO SEE THIS SHOW!!!
Sunday, September 4
Terry Fator – Golden Nugget Lake Charles
Yes, I know I talked all about this above, but I wanted to add that there will be TWO SHOWS: one at 6 p.m. that is open to ages 14 and up and the 9 p.m. show that is 21 and up only. If I didn’t stress it enough above…. GO SEE THIS SHOW!!!!
Monday, September 5
Boozoo’s Labor Day Fest – Knights of Columbus Hall, 503 E. Hwy 90, Iowa
The annual Chavis Family tradition returns to the Lake Charles Civic Center for another year of Zydeco, dancing and great SWLA food. Musical guests include Chris Ardoin, Keith Frank, Geno Delafosse, the Chavis Family’s Dog Hill Stompers and more! Doors open at 10 a.m.,, music kicks off at 11, and the party goes all day and evening long. If you ready to Zydeco, GO SEE THIS SHOW!!!
Only cause its time to go for yet another issue. A HUGE thanks to Terry Fator and the good folk at the Golden Nugget for helping put us together. I am really looking forward to the show!
Until our next issue in THREE weeks time… I’LL SEE YOU AT THE SHOW!!!