It’s soulful, bluesy, folky and Presley, 44, says she is no longer “hiding behind a lot of production” — the album is produced by T-Bone Burnett, in collaboration with British musicians, including members of Pulp and Travis.
Reviews have been mixed — but no matter what music she makes, her identity will always be as the daughter of Elvis.
The life of Lisa Marie — an ordinary, odd name for someone with her enormous Southern heritage — would make a fascinating biopic.
Her childhood was surreal – an American ‘princess’, she had a plane named after her while still a toddler.
There were never any rules when she was at her dad’s place, Graceland — nothing was forbidden, everything was allowed. Elvis hated rules, says Lisa Marie’s mother, Priscilla, which is one of the reasons they broke up. Lisa Marie was four then.
Priscilla was 14 when she met Elvis. She had their only child when she was 22, in 1968, at the height of the Graceland excess — she has described her experience of early parenthood as living inside a rock ’n’ roll hurricane. Lisa Marie’s dad was as high-maintenance as his baby daughter — he just wanted to have fun all the time. Priscilla was the one who enforced structure, and therefore became the bad guy.
Her life inside Graceland with baby Lisa Marie doesn’t sound like fun — she was isolated, alone with a husband who was hedonistic and nocturnal, and surrounded by a crowd of his male friends.
Priscilla says she became lonely after Lisa Marie was born, the difference between her and Elvis’s day-time and night-time lives becoming more pronounced. So she left Graceland for Beverly Hills, taking Lisa Marie with her.
When Lisa Marie visited her dad she was allowed to do as she liked. There were no boundaries, which made Priscilla’s job harder. Lisa Marie says it felt strange when Elvis died in 1977, because the outside world seemed to be mirroring her own grief with an even greater intensity. Her own grief didn’t come out until some years later. One trigger was watching the funeral of Princess Diana, and identifying with Diana’s two children — she says she cried and cried.
As Lisa Marie moved into her teens, her relationship with her mother deteriorated; the American princess was running amok, getting into drugs, hanging out with the wrong people. Her mother was worried.
Would her only daughter go the same way as her dead husband? “I knew she was getting in with the wrong crowd,” Priscilla told the Sunday Times recently. “Drugs were prevalent. Underage drinking. I was so fearful that I used to follow her when she went out at night … I used to drive her to school, just to make sure she was actually going to school. If I didn’t know where she was, I would go through her address book, until I found which party she was at and then I would go down there and bring her home.”
This was social death for a rebellious teenager, but what stopped Lisa Marie from becoming just another rich druggie was Scientology — she got into it in her teens, and says that it saved her by providing structure. However, lyrics from the fifth track, So Long, on her new album suggest she is no longer so keen on Scientology; there are rumours that she has left the church, disillusioned with its controlling ethos.
And things are much better between herself and Priscilla, who refers to her daughter as her best friend. Lisa Marie has a 23-year-old daughter, Riley, whom she had with her first husband, the musician Danny Keogh. The couple married in 1988, when Lisa Marie was 20, and had a second child, Benjamin, in 1992.
Keogh has remained good friends with Lisa Marie since their divorce, living in a guest house on Lisa Marie’s property, and was best man at his ex-wife’s fourth wedding 20 years later.
However, it was Lisa Marie’s second marriage that broke the celebrity sound barrier. The daughter of the King married the King of Pop just 20 days after her first divorce came through, in 1994, in what was one of the oddest couplings in showbiz; everyone had assumed Michael Jackson was asexual, or worse, yet here was this (relatively) normal woman telling the world, via Oprah, that he was her husband in every sense. But it didn’t really make any sense.
Biographer J Randy Tarborelli says the couple had a passionate private life, and considerable mutual empathy, given their odd childhoods and isolation at the mansions of Graceland and Neverland.
They were an odd couple, but Michael was odder, never allowing his wife to see him without make-up; also, this was when he was being pursued over allegations of paedophilia, which Lisa Marie insists were nonsense.
They divorced when he pressured her to have children, saying he would have them with his dermatology nurse if Lisa Marie didn’t step up; she walked away in 1996, and Jackson had two children with Debbie Rowe. Later, it emerged that his drug use was a major factor in their marriage break-up.
Her third marriage lasted less time that its divorce proceedings. In 2002, Lisa Marie married the actor and Elvis fanatic Nicolas Cage — apparently, he was the only non-family member ever admitted to Elvis’s bedroom. Lisa Marie says that even at the height of Elvis’s fame and the busiest, craziest times at Graceland, the only two rooms ever off limits from the public were his bedroom and hers — these rooms were sanctuaries away from the crowds of friends, the visitors, the gawpers.
Such access was not enough for Cage, however, who, after just 108 days of marriage, filed for divorce. According to her mother, Lisa Marie finally found her soulmate in 2006, when she married guitarist Michael Lockwood.
Priscilla says that both she and her daughter made a few bad choices over the years, but she approves wholeheartedly of husband number four, saying that he is perfect for her daughter in that he just lets her be who she is. They had twin girls, Harper and Finley, in 2008.
These days, Lisa Marie lives in a stately home in East Sussex, with Lockwood and their twins, having exchanged her life in LA for the English countryside.
She has just performed her first UK concert, which was reasonably — although not universally — well-received. She likes fish and chips and the odd Guinness, apparently. She has come a very long way from the insanity of her Graceland childhood.
* Lisa Marie Presley’s Storm & Grace, her first new record in 7 years, is released today.