Taylor Hicks has kept very busy since winning American Idol in 2006. Despite speculation he might've faded into obscurity following his mutual split with Arista Records earlier this year, Hicks has been hard at work reestablishing himself as an artist. In addition to starting his own record label, Modern Whomp Records, he spent this past summer on Broadway playing the Teen Angel in Grease. And now, as he prepares to reprise the role in a national tour, Hicks is also finishing a new album for release early next year. Hicks took some time to chat with me about these exciting new developments in his career.
How did the upcoming Grease tour come about for you?
I think that after we had such great success on Broadway, they approached me with the idea of doing a national tour for Grease. I also have a brand new record coming out. We decided it would be a really cool and cutting edge thing to do, releasing a brand new record within the national theater tour.
So you will be cross-promoting the album within the tour?
How are you doing that? I heard you're performing a song as part of the show?
Yes. Once the album is finished, I will be doing a single off of the record. And then I will be doing a very intimate national club tour alongside the Grease tour, hopefully in each market we perform in. I'm pretty excited that the new music will start to grow legs from a live perspective. I'm actually going into really cool, intimate clubs across the country, performing new material before I go out on tour myself.
How will your fans know about those dates?
Well, they can go to my website [TaylorHicks.com]. Or they can go to Pollstar. In each of the markets I go to, I'll hopefully do some radio [promotion]. Being in a particular city during a lengthy stay, I'll be able to get the word out about the show. And about Grease, also!
When you took the Broadway role, did you know you were going to be able to add harmonica, blending the character with your own personality?
I think we all went in with an open mind. I mean, we thought about how can the part be "Taylor-made?" I knew that the setting was in the '50s. I took a lot of those different aspects, and they let me play harmonica with the song. The role is making sure Frenchie puts down her teasin' comb and goes back to high school. Any way we could get that point across, we would try it. And it's just been a great success. I think it's a great part for me to start learning how to act. It's a very good start for me in that particular field.