The modern day Elvis: Hugo Colin


Colin has ben performing Elvis tributes since third grade. (Photo courtesy of Alex Richards)

By Renato Arteaga, Editor-in-Chief

Hugo Colin, Div. 971, and his mother were both featured on the WBEZ Story Corps Chicago station on Nov. 2. During the show, the two shared Colin’s story of his journey as an Elvis Presley impersonator.

His tribute to the singer began back in kindergarten when his school needed students to perform in a school talent show.

Colin pays tribute to Presley by singing and dancing like the artist, performing notable songs such as “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Can’t Help falling in Love” and “It’s Now or Never.”

“I don’t say I am Elvis. I say I am giving a tribute to Elvis,” Colin said.

He started performing Elvis at the age of five, and was influenced his mother’s music taste as they often listened to the rock & roll icon’s music.

“It was like if someone was teaching their kid how to play sports or something,” Colin said. “My mom taught me about Elvis. We just listened to music, so I learned a lot of good songs.”

After another talent show in third grade, some singing lessons and more astonishment from parents, Colin continued to performed anywhere that gave him a chance to show off his skills, such as the Ronald McDonald Children’s Hospital, Shriners Children’s Hospital and even some car shows.

“Once I started performing, I realized I can perform at a nursing home or children’s hospital,” Colin said. “It would make them happy. It was something I enjoyed doing.”

Entering high school, Colin was challenged with balancing his Elvis act with all his other extracurricular activities, like football. Sometimes, he was even tasked with doing both activities in one day.

“When we had practice till 11, I had shows at noon,” Colin said. “For a few weeks, after I sprained my ankle, I went and performed at some places. I couldn’t really move. So I changed the songs to some more love songs, so the people could dance, and I could just be singing, not trying to move.”

The management behind the art is family-run, with his brother in charge of the sound, his dad in charge of equipment and his mother in charge of the role of his agent, booking private parties.

Here at Lane, Colin has been invited to perform his tribute at the last two open houses for potential incoming freshman to watch, and even performed at last year’s annual Unplugged concert.

Colin said he has decided that he will not pursue the act as a career, but for now, it is a hobby he does whenever he has free time.

He has also received the opportunity to perform at some establishments on a consistent basis, such as the White Eagle located in Niles and a local pizzeria, La Villa, located on Addison and Pulaski.

“I get a lot of people from La Villa who hear about it, and they’ll hire me to do a private party,” he said. “Last weekend, I performed at some small bowling alley for this 5-year-old girl. She was wearing a jumpsuit. It was adorable.”

He currently estimates that he performs about eight times a month during the school year and nearly eight times a week during the summer.

Colin is also working on getting a Chicago vendor license to perform more independently, but for now, his upcoming performances will take place Dec. 22 at La Villa and Jan. 4 at White Eagle.