Kevin Hayes – MJ Footworkz Inc.

Laci Ollison | September 15th, 2020
Kevin Hayes (Todd Youngblood Photography)

Kevin Hayes (Todd Youngblood Photography)

In 2009, Michael Jackson tragically passed away, leaving the world distraught, shocked, and in disbelief. Dubbed the “King of Pop,” Jackson touched the lives of many through his invigorating music, electrifying dance moves, and engaging live performances. Although his untimely death left a void in the hearts of many, Kevin Hayes has found a way to keep MJ’s memory alive as a Michael Jackson impersonator.

Originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Kevin Hayes began his career as an impersonator after performing with a group called Rambo Productions. “We did shows and performances all over the East Coast,” said Kevin. “We traveled a lot from Georgia all the way to New York.”

Kevin says he was hesitant at first about fully becoming a Michael Jackson impersonator though. “A guy asked me had I thought about wearing the makeup and hair,” Kevin recalled. “At first I wasn’t going to do it but then something told me to do it.”

Although Kevin had already begun his career as an MJ impersonator, it wasn’t until the pop star passed that Kevin decided to fully become an impersonator, investing in hair, makeup, and outfits that resembled some of the most memorable styles from the King of Pop.

“I didn’t know the impact I would have,” Kevin said. “I have seen that I have an effect on children, elderly people, and handicapped people and it’s just amazing.”

Now, Kevin is bringing smiles to faces of all ages and rekindling memories of the pop star for fans who are missing his music and style. “I’ve done parties for kids from 3-years-old to elderly people up to 70-years-old,” said Kevin. “There are even kids who love Michael Jackson which is surprising to me sometimes. But it’s been an honor to be able to embody a legend.”

Kevin recalls being a Michael Jackson fan himself, even from an early age. Watching the King of Pop on television, he begged his mother for clothes that resembled MJ’s. “Back in 1978 Is when Motown 5 came on tv, I’ll never forget that’s the first time Michael Jackson did the moonwalk,” Kevin said. “Everyone was trying to do the moonwalk. And when Michael started wearing the beaded jacket, glove, and jerry curl, I told my mom that I wanted all of that. But she said no.”

But Kevin is proud that now as an impersonator, he is able to buy his own lookalike Michael Jackson attire. His favorite part of being an impersonator is being able to connect with a crowd and feeling the energy as he is performing.

“When I go to places it’s mind blowing,” said Kevin. “The crowd energy keeps me going and the minute I hit the stage, the energy is on another level. It feels good to be able to captivate someone.” Although Kevin replicates a lot of Michael’s signature moves, he says that incorporating his own style is what allows him to really connect with each song and show his own personality through his performances.

“You have to tweak each routine to make it your own,” said Kevin. “Yes, Michael had certain moves. When you’re an entertainer like him, you have to show people that you like to do what you do.” Kevin said that some other impersonators may like to copy Michael Jackson’s every single move, but he says that adding your own flare to your performance gives people a chance to know who you are as a performer. “Make it your own, it gives people a memory.”

For aspiring impersonators, he advises them to do the same, and utilize their imagination. “The best advice I can give to someone who wants to be a Michael Jackson impersonator is to enhance your imagination, because that’s what Michael had. He had a wild imagination but that’s what made people captivated.”

Kevin’s favorite MJ songs include “Heartbreak Hotel, Off the Wall, and Wanna Be Starting Something. When he’s not performing, Kevin enjoys meditating, exercising, and watching comedy movies.

Although Kevin is now a full-time Michael Jackson impersonator, it was his love for dance that sparked his career choice. His own style of dance is influenced and inspired by Boogaloo Shrimp, Chris Brown, Channing Tatum, Gregory Hines, James Brown, Janet Jackson, Levelle Smith Jr, Michael Jackson, Pavan Thimmiah, Shabba Doo, and Usher.

Kevin has danced for celebrity stars from the East Coast to the West Coast. He has opened up for the Busta Brown Summer Festival, CIAA Half-Time (1997), Doug E. Fresh, Kid n’Play, Ki Ki Sheppard (Tribute to Roger Troutman), Outkast and Wu-Tang Clan. He also auditioned for America’s Got Talent (2014), Beyonce World Tour (2006), 102 Jamz Crew, and became a backup dancer for N-Tyce and performed with Mr. Bill’s Productions.

He is also proud to have worked with performers such as Fantasia, Anthony Hamilton, and Sunshine Anderson. He has performed in places such as the Universoul Circus, North Carolina A&T Homecoming, Winston Salem State University Homecoming, and the Queen Charlotte Parade.

Kevin has won various dance titles and accolades for Best Dance Group – Dem Carolina Boyz & 85 South Boyz in 2006, 2010 and 2014. In 2014, Kevin became the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Footworkz, LLC. Kevin has positioned himself as one of the most in demand performers and choreographers in North Carolina. He is extremely talented both as a dancer and choreographer. He has a passion for dance and wants to bring that same energy to others.

Kevin is currently a Charlotte, North Carolina native and is known as “The World Famous MJ Impersonator.”

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