Lisa Marie Presley: “I Don’t Have It In Me” To Be an American Idol Judge


Lisa Marie Presley has always had stardom in her blood — and now she's passed it on to her kids! Most notably, her daughter Riley Keough, 23, is making like her grandaddy Elvis and getting into movies (she's also reportedly engaged to actor Alex Pettyfer, 22).

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"I'm so proud!" says her mama, Lisa Marie, who just released her rootsy third CD, Storm & Grace (produced by T-Bone Burnett). I chatted with Presley recently about the effort, her growing three-year-old twins Finley and Harper and the one gig she just couldn't play. The new album has a dark, deep country sound, different than your past releases. What inspired it?

Lisa Marie Presley: I think I'm just kind of getting rid of everything and everyone that was around me and starting from ground zero again. People around you will either make or break you and I just think that I was previously surrounded with the wrong people and situations. I was quite angry as a result. I was constantly shadowboxing but I wasn't sure who to fight. It's been like a five-year process of unraveling and eye-opening of 'oh my God' moments of all these things that I was around and people that were doing things that I didn't know about. It was a real awakening and it was devastating but then at the same time it was incredibly productive to have to shed those things in my life, because then I kind of wrote the record as I was going through that process.

Us: Can you say specifically what you were going through?

LMP: It was just specifically waking up to a lot of people in my life that were doing things I didn't know they were doing and I was kind of bouncing my head off the walls not knowing what was going on.  Assistants and business people. Big mistake. It's the same old silly tale that goes on when you get someone high profile and then they get surrounded and things happen. I had to relearn that again.

Us: And part of that rebirth was moving to England to record the CD?

LMP: I did. I went there to write because I needed to get as far away as possible. No one was what I thought, nothing was what I thought. [Idol creator and Presley's manager] Simon Fuller has a base over in England, so he basically just allowed me the space and the freedom to go over there and write with whoever. It ended up being eight months and I wrote thirty-two songs.

Us: Why finally make a country album? Memphis is your roots, after all…

LMP: It's very funny because I know people were trying to push me there before and I refused. It's very ironic that I went to England and was put with so many different styles of songwriters and artists and singers and it just came as absolute and utter nature. The sound became very obvious and I wrote just from my soul, my heart.

Us: Do you worry about being compared to your dad? Living in his shadow?

LMP: At first I was really scared of it, which is why I was constantly fighting and having such an attitude about it. I was really defensive because I would fight, not who I am or him, but just what was going to happen. I was defensive. But once I got that out of my system — trying to fight to be that whole thing — what came out of my heart just came out. And I embrace it wholeheartedly now because you have to sort of just go through things and grow, and, throughout that process, I think that was what ended up happening.

Us: Are you a fan of any current pop stars like Lady Gaga or Katy Perry?

LMP: I listen to Neil Young. I listen to older stuff. I don't want to age myself but I appreciate all of them and I appreciate the artistry of the ladies. I kind of listen to a little more obscure material on my own. Like I listen to the "Coffee House" radio station on XM!

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Us: Switching to motherhood, how are your twins doing? Any milestones?

LMP: They are talking and telling me off and giving me time out regularly! And hands on hips, stomping feet, and basically reading me my rights. They're very animated and full of personality. They love music, especially Adele. They just blast the chorus to "Rolling in the Deep." I mean, full voice — both of them. They discovered a microphone one day and they just went and started singing every lyric of that song word-for-word.

Us: You definitely don’t look like a mother of four! How do you stay so youthful looking?

LMP: Having twins at 40 wasn't amazing on a woman's body. I eat organic. I watch proportions.  As you get older, you really have to stay on top of things. I exercise, watch what I eat, all that stuff. I quit smoking five-and-a-half years ago, which probably helped with the not looking older thing.

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Us: How are things with your rocker hubby, Michael Lockwood?

LMP: He's the one that introduced me to life in England, and he was super supportive of the album. He played on the record, and now he's musical directing my tour. That's how I met him. I was telling  my daugher, Riley, recently that we've been together nine years in October, and we've never spent a night apart. We are always together. We never fight. I don't know how this is possible. We're truly partners on every front. Now we're in music work mode, and then we go into mom and dad mode. We're switching hats and gears constantly.

Us: With Simon Fuller as your manager, are you an Idol fan?

LMP: Of course. In the beginning, it kills me to see people getting torn open when they're putting their hearts on the line and trying to sing and getting judged. At first it freaked me out, but then as things progressed and I saw how it really did make these incredible artists shine, like Carrie Underwood, Daughtry and Kelly Clarkson. When they started to really have careers, then I was completely behind it.

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Us: Would you ever be a judge?

LMP: I don't have it in me to want to or to be able to judge other people when they are trying to create or be creative or artistic. I don't know if I have the heart to do it. I would be more of an encouraging one if I did though. I'll tell you that.

Us: So how do you handle family and all that stuff when you're on the road?

LMP: If I don't have even my oldest children around or nearby, I feel like a limb is missing on me. I'm hoping that my son will come play with me. He plays bass and Riley is always nearby as well, coming and going. And the little ones are just going to have to be with me. It will be interesting because I've never done this with such little ones!

Us: Riley is doing great as an actress. Is it exciting for you to see that?

LMP: I'm so proud of her. She's got so many movies coming out and they're all so different and she really goes and stretches and plays parts that are so not her. She's playing everything from a cannibal to a stripper to a werewolf lesbian to a psychotic…. I'm super proud. She dives into these roles that are so unlike her really but she's really amazing. It's great to see her doing that. Every time I see a movie I'm on the floor crying. I'm that proud!

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