Taylor Hicks is a maverick, determined to carve his own path through the often daunting music industry. By his own admission, it hasn't been easy. His life changed forever in 2006, when he won American Idol during the show's fifth season. His Idol coronation single, "Do I Make You Proud," was an instant number one Billboard hit. His major label debut album, Taylor Hicks, sold nearly 300,000 copies in its first week, eventually receiving platinum certification from the RIAA.
Soon after the first flush of stardom, Taylor Hicks made the very brave decision to manage his career independently. He'd been toiling away at the lower rungs of the business for ten years prior to American Idol. During that time, he developed a very strong vision of himself as an artist. With his Idol victory validating the years of hard work, Hicks put his plans into action - even though it required swimming against the mainstream current.
With the spirit of a true entrepreneur, Hicks assumed complete control of his career and hasn't looked back. I was fortunate enough to catch up with him during a break in his busy schedule.
You're out on the road again. How's the tour going?
Going great. Obviously I enjoy touring or I wouldn't have been on tour for four and a half years. The Broadway tour with Grease was great, and I got to play a few shows here and there with my band. But this is getting back to a really good live music show for my record, The Distance.
Who's playing with you in your current band?
Brian Less is playing piano. Jeff Lopez is playing saxophone. A few people that have played on the last tour are with me on this tour.
Your appearance on Don't Forget the Lyrics airs October 12; what was that experience like?
That was really cool, the first game show I've ever been on. So I was really nervous, especially when you're talking about singing lyrics and stuff. But it was for a great charity, VH-1 Save the Music. I didn't realize how hard remembering lyrics could be! That's just a super fun show, and I was excited to do it.
Speaking of charities, you recently released a charity single "S.O.S. (Save My Body, Save My Soul)."
SOS Children's Villages is a great charity, for orphaned and abandoned children, that I'm working with. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, they've worked to bring awareness to SOS. It's one of the oldest charitable organizations in the world. I wanted to make sure to try and bring awareness to SOS here in the States. I worked closely with them and was really excited about putting out a song for that charity.