See How Elvis' Granddaughter Riley Keough Is Following in His Footsteps
The accomplished actor is now taking on another aspect of Elvis' legacy.
Growing up in a famous family comes with its plusses and minuses. And when that family's patriarch is Elvis Presley, it's impossible to escape the inevitable comparisons. However, without sharing his last name, Elvis' granddaughter Riley Keough has made a name for herself as a successful actor. After years starring in both indie movies like American Honey and big Hollywood films like Mad Max: Fury Road, Keough—the daughter of Lisa Marie Presley and Danny Keough—is now beginning to follow in her grandfather's footsteps in a new way. To see how Keough's next role channels Elvis, read on.
Keough is taking on the role of a musician on a new Amazon show.
You can now see 32-year-old Keough in the smash hit movie Zola, which arrived in theaters on June 30 and is already earning her critical acclaim. But next up, Keough will star on the Amazon show Daisy Jones & the Six, based on the beloved New York Times bestselling novel of the same name that follows the rise and fall of a fictitious Fleetwood Mac-esque '70s rock band. Fans of the book had been anticipating the casting of the titular character since it was announced that it was being adapted for TV. "I'm so honored to be your Daisy," Keough wrote on Instagram following the casting news in Nov. 2019.
The role will force Keough to try something she's never done before, sing and play guitar, just like Elvis, her mother, and her father, who's also a singer. During a recent interview with Vogue, Keough was asked if having so many musicians in her family made it easier or more challenging to play one on screen. "I'm still practicing my guitar. I don't have any history of singing and playing the guitar at all, so I was like, 'I don't know if this is for me, but let's try!'" said Keough. "I'm doing the best I can and the showrunners seem to think it's working, so I trust them. It's something very different for me and so fun." In July 2020, Keough shared a photo of her practicing guitar, seemingly for the upcoming role.
Keough said her voice is nothing like Elvis', but she does have one similarity to him.
In late June, Keough did an interview on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon and talked about her experience as a singer, or lack thereof. "I didn't [know if I could sing]," she admitted to host Jimmy Fallon. "I grew up singing quietly with other people when there was a guitar around, but I never have really tried to sing."
Keough also recently said her voice "isn't like Elvis" during an interview on the Just for Variety podcast. However, she said she noticed that her voice does harken back to her grandfather's roots. "I just realized recently that I do have kind of a country voice," she said. "I realized the other day in the studio—we've recorded a bunch of songs—I think I have a country voice." While Elvis might have been known as the "King of Rock and Roll," his influences in Memphis were undoubtedly country, gospel, and R&B.
Keough didn't grow up listening to Elvis' music because it made her mom upset.
While on the Just for Variety podcast, Keough said she doesn't usually listen to her grandfather's music. "I don't put it on. If it's on, I'll listen to it," she said, noting Elvis' music holds a lot of emotions for her family. "There was definitely a lot of grief around it growing up, especially seeing my mom and my grandmother [Priscilla Presley]. It was kind of a sad thing, tragic kind of a thing, so there was definitely that relationship to it, and I could see from a young age, it would make my mom sad, and so I could feel that."
She said that today, listening to Elvis' music is still "an emotional experience, especially if it's one of the more emotional songs," adding that "the more gospel or that kind of stuff definitely makes me emotional."
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Keough has actually released one song, but you may have missed it.
She may still be coming into her own as a singer and musician, but Keough recently lent her voice to country star Orville Peck's cover of "Born This Way" for Born This Way Reimagined: The Tenth Anniversary, celebrating Lady Gaga's original album and featuring LGBTQ artists and allies. (You can listen to the rendition here, which was just released in June for Pride Month.)
Keough was asked to record some vocals for the song, because her best friend's husband was producing it and "randomly one day just texted" her to sing background on the track, she said on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. "It was a totally random situation," she told Fallon. "I didn't know it was this huge thing that Lady Gaga was releasing [for] the 10-year anniversary, so I was very excited to be a part of it."