BY STEFANIE JACKSON, Eastern Shore Post —
Long before he decided to run for election, Charles Elliott, the mayor of Wachapreague, was using his people skills to perform and make connections in the country music industry — and his dream is finally becoming a reality.
For as long as he can remember, the Michigan native wanted to be a professional singer and make it into the Grand Ole Opry, in Nashville.
His grandmother ran an elderly care home, where the 9-year-old Elvis Presley fan first performed for an audience.
Elliott went on to perform at fairs and carnivals, and his success gave him the opportunity to open for bigger acts, which came to include famous names like Randy Travis, Trace Adkins, Dierks Bentley, and the Gaithers.
Elliott is a versatile music artist who is at home whether he’s playing a country song onstage or leading worship music in church.
In addition to country and gospel, he performs pop and Top 40 hits and does impersonations of famous performers. Elliott has been known to don an Elvis costume and croon a few of The King’s tunes on occasion.
Over the course of the last 17 years, he has met and worked with many people in the music industry, including Rich Donahue, who is known for discovering 1980s teen pop sensation Tiffany.
Elliott also is a friend of Aaron Tippin, whose hits have included the Billboard Hot Country No. 1 song, “Kiss This,” and the 2002 album “Stars & Stripes.”
Elliott has worked with NUway Records and EPI Records and released two singles and a full-length album, “Delicious Love.”
His song of the same name and another called “Mobile Home” have been played on local radio.
But two different songs that Elliott wrote, “That Something” and “Life’s Too Short,” have resulted in him being nominated for two Josie Music Awards in the writer achievement category.
Elliott also has been nominated for a third Josie Music Award for independent country music vocalist of the year.
Of more than 59,000 submissions by music industry peers, only 2.5% were chosen as nominations.
Elliott will attend the Josie Music Awards ceremony in October in Nashville — at the Grand Ole Opry.
It was fitting that “Life’s Too Short” was one of the songs that got Elliott a ticket to the Grand Ole Opry.
He shared the news of his childhood dream coming true with his mother, Peggy Elliott, on the day before she died in May.
Family and community have always been important to Elliott. They influenced him when he decided to perform for the first time at the elderly care home, an experience that resonated with him.
Now he sings for the residents of Commonwealth Senior Living, in Onancock.
Family is what brought Elliott all the way from Michigan to the Eastern Shore. His father was a member of the Powell family — Wachapreague was temporarily renamed Powellton in the 1880s.
Community is what motivated Elliott to run for mayor of Wachapreague in 2022.
“I love being a part of the Eastern Shore,” said Elliott, who moved to the region seven years ago.
He said he had never been interested in politics, but when former Mayor Fred Janci said he would not seek re-election, Elliott decided to step up.
Janci wound up running for re-election, but Elliott won the race with nearly twice as many votes.
Wachapreague residents have dubbed him “the music mayor,” Elliott said.
He enjoys giving back to his community and volunteered to perform at the Wachapreague carnival to benefit the local fire company.
Elliott remains active in his music career and is excited about his upcoming trip to the Grand Ole Opry and the new opportunities it could bring.
“I believe I’m on the brink,” he said.
Elliott worked hard for many years to get to this point, and he isn’t planning to stop anytime soon.
“You never really know when something’s going to happen … so you just keep on going,” he said.
Or in other words, “Life’s Too Short.”