SANTA MONICA — Toki, Japan’s premier Elvis impersonator, will make his L.A.-area debut on Thursday, June 8, at TR!P Santa Monica, 2101 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica.
Toki Toyokazu, with a repertoire of 36 songs, will do three sets at 8:30, 9:30 and 10:30 p.m. No cover charge. One-drink minimum. For reservations, call (310) 396-9010 or visit www.tripsantamonica.com. Guaranteed to leave you “All Shook Up.”
Toki discovered his love for performing at the age of 14. A lunch break while working construction jobs at the age of 21 proved pivotal to his career as it was then that he fell in love with the King of Rock & Roll. Toki often spent his break at Tower Records and one day, Elvis ’56 ruled the store’s TVs. So mesmerized was Toki that he only returned to his job when the foreman bought him the VHS tape so he would leave the store.
Tens of thousands of views later, and on to his second version of the concert as he’d long since worn out the original tape, Toki hit the stage with the goal of bringing an American icon to Japanese stages across the country. From his first contest in Tokyo, to this year’s official Branson Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, where he became the first foreigner to ever win at official Ultimate Tribute Artist event in the U.S., Toki has been a finalist in every competition he’s entered.
He has been crowned King three times – first in Dallas, next in 2020 when he became Elvis Enterprises’ official representative for Australia at the Parkes, Australia 2020 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, and his most recent victory in Branson. This has allowed Toki to play at the holy house of Elvis – Graceland. He first graced the stage there in 2021 and returns this coming August.
Toki has been featured in The New York Times, in Erin Feinberg’s book on Elvis Impersonators, “King for a Day,” as a DJ on Sendai’s airwaves for a BMW-sponsored Elvis radio show, and on various local TV shows. He has released two CDs and owns a music venue in Aomori close to Misawa Air Base, where years ago the military police would shoo him away after countless renditions of “Baby, Let’s Play House.”
Now focused on keeping Elvis’ memory alive across the globe, Toki may not speak English, but he can sing the hell out of some Elvis.
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