Taylor Hicks, the silver-haired soulman and winner of Season five American Idol can be proud. His CD, "Do I Make You Proud", is now the number one selling single riding the Billboard Charts. Idol winners are contracted to release a CD single for the show, written by the writers in the A.I. camp historically notorious for creating some version of drippy pop shlock.
Taylor Hicks' single, "Do I Make You Proud", with the flip-side, "Taking It to the Streets", released by Arista Records on June 13, engenders some surprise carrying not a bad title tune, but the flip-side rendition of the Doobie Brothers' tune is really enjoyable and completely in-line with Taylor's sound.
I love the jazzy instrumental riffs and the way Taylor's voice is so well suited to the saxophone accompaniment. As far as Taylor following Michael McDonald, who is undeniably endowed with one of the most recognizable voices in music, I compare it to the Elvis' song, "In the Ghetto", Hicks performed during the Idol competition. Taylor takes a well-known song and works it to a new creative level giving it a fresh life.
Sales of this CD mirrored Taylor's ascent to win on the American Idol program. It was slower to rise than some of the previous contestants' CDs, but as word got out about the tone of the tunes on the CD, it built momentum. "Do I Make You Proud" now soaring in the numero uno slot, has put the stop on pretty much every pop ranking single in sight as of the June 22, 2006 results. The single has simultaneously hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the Billboard Single Sales chart, and the Billboard Pop 100 chart making it the best selling song in the country with over 190,000 copies sold in its first week of release. "Do I Make You Proud", has also upset the two-week reign of Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" featuring Wyclef Jean, which falls to No. 2 on both the Hot 100 and Pop 100.
Checking out standard CD sales, and to cast enlightenment regarding the real world of music, Idol standards are downright stratospheric when comparing the statistics with the flow of sales with other musical artists. One prime example, Nelly Furtado's, latest CD, although drawing positive critical reviews, the single, "Promiscuous", reflects sales in the 6,000 range.
"Do I Make You Proud" ladels more gravy over the top of the list of accomplishments the Soulman has racked up since winning American Idol. Since his win, Taylor Hicks has signed the record deal with Arista Records, shot a smoking hot Ford commercial, and was then featured in People Magazine as this year's current Hottest Bachelor. Not only did Taylor Hicks score the cover, People gave him an eight page interview and a glorious pictoral spread.
Reviewing the Ford commercial and the song "Possibilities" written for the promotion, Hicks does a dynamic job, believably belting out the tune. Interestingly, there is some on-line buzz being generated for the song to be recorded outside the bounds of the Ford pitch. The song was written and produced by Harvest Music and Sound Design. Three folks from the Lansing, Michigan company created the tune. They are Julie Magsig, Mark Miller, and Steve Curran. Music houses from around the country were asked to pitch songs and Harvest drew the long straw, had the best tune, and won.
Ford had already tapped Idol for the winner to do the commercial but the execs had their eye on him throughout the season. Following Taylor Hicks' win the song was then adapted musically to fit his style. This is not the first song that Harvest has had featured in other national commercials, but it is the first one in which they had a singer that could draw instant attention. An interesting combination, an Alabama singer and some Michigan songwriters combined with the drive of Ford, the song is heard everywhere. "It's been an exciting time for us," Curran said.
Magsig added, referring to Taylor Hicks and the fact their song was chosen, "That's what the song is about, anything is possible."
I'm proud to watching the Soul Patrollman ride his wave of destiny. I'm proud to add my name to the list of Soul Patrollers and I'm a reluctant "joiner." Proud to have begun writing about the man when this past season of American Idol began. Proud to remember the quiet man in a polo shirt belting out Sam Cooke, accapella in the Idol auditions. Proud to watch him metamorphose from the Idol chrysalis, emerging into the person he was meant to be – and now flying with a number one single on the Billboard charts.
Taylor has said in numerous interviews, "I've been a hard working musician for the past ten years trying to become the best singer and harmonica player I could be and I'm thrilled that I can now focus entirely on my music." Says Hicks, "Having a number one single is only the beginning."
Life is full of beginnings. Ask the next butterfly that flies by.
Following in the tradition of the American Idol CD's, sales of "Do I Make You Proud," benefit the American Red Cross. For every CD sold, $0.25 goes to the charity, as well as $0.15 for every digital download sold, and $0.20 for every ringtone and ringback. This marks the fourth "American Idol" single to provide financial support to the mission of the American Red Cross and the people it serves. Sales of the past three recordings generated more than a quarter million dollars in donations. The songs on this CD will be featured by Hicks in the American Idol Tour which begins July 5 in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Groove on Soulman.