Lisa Marie Presley was a daughter of the legendary Elvis Presley, who struggled in and out of the spotlight, yet managed to succeed on her own. As a celebrity child, she was frequently the target of media attention, especially when the celebrity is the subject of graphic tabloid stories. From a young age, Lisa Marie was well aware of this. She first noticed fans skulking in trees and breaking into her family’s house, Graceland, when she was only a young child. Her response to this was shrewd and resolute. She told Rolling Stone in 2003, “People would hand me cameras and I’d take money and say I was going to take a photo of my father, and then I’d throw the camera away.”
However, tragedy scarred Lisa Marie’s early life. She supposedly saw the failed attempts to save her father’s life as she was present at Graceland the day he passed away in 1977. She made it clear the day had a big impact on her in the same Rolling Stone interview. It is sad to imagine a nine-year-old experiencing anything so terrible, especially given that she was forced to gain notoriety. Lisa Marie frequently made news in the years after her father’s passing as a result of the litigation surrounding Elvis Presley’s inheritance. She was aware that her famous name came before her, despite Priscilla Presley’s efforts to protect her from the pressures of being Elvis Presley’s daughter.
“I’ve always had an intimidating strength,” she told Playboy in 2003. “It’s a defense mechanism. Every child in every school would dislike me and believe I was arrogant. However, I was not.” Presley, however, never shied away from her father’s music or legacy; she was always proud of him and made use of her notoriety to aid others. She founded the Presley Charitable Foundation, a non-profit organization that sponsors The Dream Factory, a charity akin to Make-A-Wish, and Presley Place-New Orleans, a residence for homeless families.
As a young child, Presley had a passion for music and even sang for her father. She admitted to liking his music and claimed she was drawn to “the melancholy [songs] that weren’t especially a blockbuster on the radio,” according to Rolling Stone. She thus made posthumous duets with her father on In the Ghetto and I Love You Because on multiple occasions around the anniversary of his passing.
However, Presley did not pursue a solo music career right away. “I didn’t want to learn the ropes in front of everyone; I couldn’t afford it,” she explained to Playboy. “I knew there would be more focus on me than anyone else releasing a debut record.” Despite pressure, she persisted in penning autobiographical songs for her 2003 album To Whom It May Concern. The modest pop ballad Lights Out mentioned Graceland’s cemetery and how she was “keeping [my] watch two hours behind” in memory of her father. The more reserved Nobody Noticed, the less they noticed. It was a moving ode, “All that you had to bear / I think nobody noticed.”
Presley matched these songs with frank assessments of her own life. “In this record, I walked back through a lot of the dark passages of my life,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “I wanted people to recognize me based on my music, not what they read in the newspapers.” She carved out her own path in music, working with pop-rock producers on To Whom It May Concern like Glen Ballard and Clif Magness, and co-writing a song with Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan. The CD consequently has a contemporary pop-rock vibe with hints of country and blues.