MIAMI — Some people take a lifetime to find their true calling. Others, like Dezmond Meeks, discover what they are here to do in their formative years.
Since his grandparents, who were missionaries, had him sing a song in church and his 4-year voice soared over the adults in the choir, Meeks has known that show business would be his life.
The 29-year old with a five-octave range will appear as legendary Sammy Davis Jr. in Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show on Feb. 3 and 4 at Fort Lauderdale’s Parker Playhouse.
The show plays homage to famed Rat Pack performers Davis, Joey Bishop (played by Sandy Hackett) and Frank Sinatra (played by David DeCosta). The group included actors/singers Dean Martin and Peter Lawford, with Davis, Sinatra and Martin considered the group’s leaders.
Meeks said that although he knew nothing about the late singer prior to landing the role, he has learned that in addition to having a love of performing in common, the two also share another special connection.
“Sammy learned from Fred Astaire and my idol, Michael Jackson idolized Fred Astaire,” said Meeks, who appeared on two of the country’s most popular talent shows, the 2004 season of American Idol and seven years later on America’s
“Very few people know that I was on American Idol,” he said.
Although judges Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson did not think Meeks was right for the show, Paula Abdul was so impressed that she persuaded Jackson to support Meeks’ progression to the Hollywood round, where he was later eliminated.
On America’s Got Talent, his performance of Ray Charles’ Georgia On My Mind impressed the judges. He lasted until the quarterfinal round of that show.
Home base is Pineville, La., which, despite a hectic travel schedule, he gets to visit frequently.
“Ironically, even though I’m so busy, I get to go home more often now,” he said, adding it gives his mother a chance to “spoil” him, although he does his fair share of spoiling her too.
Meeks said the Rat Pack audience is in for a night of riveting song, dance and a wonderful trip down memory lane.
Meeks, a skilled pianist, said he’s honored to be a part of a performance where “real music” is an ingredient. He has also released his first CD, the extended play Prince of Soul, which is available on Amazon.com, iTunes and CD Baby.
He envisions a long career with substance fueled by his talents and his embrace of positive thinking.
“I have seen firsthand how thoughts affect what happens in my life.”
Photo: COURTESY OF PARKER PLAYHOUSE
CHANNELING SAMMY DAVIS JR.: Dezmond Meeks, 29, said he knew nothing about the late singer prior to landing the role.