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Blue-eyed Soul on the Road
Topic Started: Jan 31 2008, 01:23 PM (644 Views)

posted at the Whomp Swamp by mouser


Source: National League of Junior Cotillions
Date Published: December 20, 2006

Taylor Hicks Heads 2006 Ten Best-Mannered List - Britney Spears Named Most Ill-ManneredBy Chris Simmons

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Dec. 20 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) -- Taylor Hicks, American Idol winner who was commended for being a role model to young people, heads the list of the "Ten Best-Mannered People of 2006," as named by the National League of Junior Cotillions, an etiquette and social training program that involves thousands of young people in the United States.

The 2006 list includes:

1. Taylor Hicks - for his example of humility and politeness.

2. Merideth Viera - for the warmth and kindness she extends to "Today Show" guests.

3. Ed Bradley - for the dignity he brought to broadcast journalism.

4. Emmitt Smith - for his positive influence in football and dance.

5. Elizabeth Hasselbeck - for her commitment to family values on "The View."

6. Glenn Beck - for demonstrating the art of disagreeing without being disagreeable.

7. Warren Buffett - for his generosity in helping those less fortunate.

8. Barack Obama - for keeping his poise under pressure.

9. Carrie Underwood - for the graciousness she shows to her fans.

10. LaDanian Tomlinson - for being a positive role model to young athletes.

In addition, Britney Spears received the dubious distinction of being named The Most Ill-Mannered Person of 2006, "for lowering the standards of morality and her negative influence on the behavior of young people."

Says Anne Colvin Winters, NLJC Executive Director, "The annual selections are based on the demonstration of honor, dignity and respect. Taylor Hicks, of American Idol fame, was chosen because of the courteous manner in which he treats his fellow performers and fans."

Nominations are from cotillion students and directors nationwide.

The National League of Junior Cotillions (1-800-633-7947) is headquartered in Charlotte, NC, and has licensed chapters throughout the United States. It hosts the popular website, "Etiquette for Today" (


Source: Associated Press/THE DECATUR DAILY
Date Published: December 21, 2006

Mardi Gras will feature Idol winner Taylor Hicks

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — American Idol winner Taylor Hicks will reign as the Krewe of Endymion's grand marshal for the 2007 Carnival season.

The gray-haired, 30-year-old soul singer from Birmingham captured audiences this year with his vocal performances and curious dancing style on the hit reality TV show.

Singer Al Green and the musical groups Journey and Styx also will ride in the parade.

Endymion Captain Ed Muniz said Hicks will be a great ambassador to show America and the world that New Orleans is open to visitors.

Hicks' journey from self-taught musician to TV star has a Louisiana connection. He was in New Orleans for a wedding just before Hurricane Katrina struck on Aug. 29, 2005, and with his flight out of town canceled, he took a cab to West Monroe and turned his free plane ticket into an Idol audition trip to Las Vegas.

Before ousting fellow Idol finalist Katherine McPhee in May, Hicks was a struggling musician unknown outside the small Southern clubs where he performed. His first single "Do I Make You Proud" sold more than 190,000 copies in the first week of release, according to Billboard magazine.

Endymion is among the city's largest Carnival groups.

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Date Published: December 21, 2006

Taylor Hicks performs for Sailors aboard Ronald Reagan
By MCC(SW/AW) Donnie Ryan / MC3(SW) Marc Rockwell-Pate

Hundreds of San Diego area Sailors and their family members made their way aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) to watch 2006 "American Idol" Taylor Hicks perform a special holiday concert on the ship's flight deck Dec. 19. The event, sponsored by the United Service Organizations (USO), also featured comedians Josh Blue and John Heffron. Both Blue and Heffron earned national attention after winning seasons of the hit NBC series "Last Comic Standing." American Idol Taylor Hicks said he was amazed at the size of the ship and considered it to be an honor to perform for military personnel.

"As a kid I saw the USO Bob Hope stuff and I always had the dream of being an entertainer and having my music get out to the world," said Hicks. "I think this is the beginning of a long tour for me and the USO. I look forward to going overseas and performing and I can start right here on the Ronald Reagan." In addition to the show on the flight deck, Sailors were also treated to free food and beverages in the ship's hangar bay as well as given special holiday gift bags courtesy of the USO.

According to Lt. Cmdr. Heidi Lenzini, Ronald Reagan's public affairs officer and event coordinator, the show was an excellent opportunity for the USO to pay tribute to military personnel who have worked hard over the past year. "Events like this help to give the crew a much-needed break from their daily routine," said Lenzini. "This special holiday show was also designed so that our Sailors could bring their families."


Source: Winston-Salem Journal
Date Published: December 28, 2006

Bowl Bound: 'Idol' success takes Taylor Hicks to Miami for halftime show
By Janice Gaston

On Tuesday, when Wake Forest meets Louisville in the Orange Bowl in Miami, fans can expect a rollicking halftime show with a good dose of soul. Taylor Hicks, this year's American Idol winner, will join with Motown legend Gladys Knight to present a show that should have people "rocking and rolling in their seats," said Phillis Oeters. Oeters, the vice-chairwoman of the Orange Bowl and chairwoman of the halftime show, said that Hicks and Knight will be joined on the field by 500 marching-band performers and 150 dancers.

CeCe Winans will sing the national anthem, and the crowd can expect fireworks "before, during and after" the game, Oeters said.

Hicks will sing a song, "The Runaround," from his new CD, Taylor Hicks. Word has it that he and Knight will also team up for one of her biggest hits, "I Heard It Through the Grapevine."

The Orange Bowl prides itself on having a spectacular, family-friendly halftime show, Oeters said. When her committee started making a list of family-friendly performers, Hicks landed at the top.

Oeters asked a friend's 6-year-old son what he thought about having Hicks perform, and he told her he would buy a ticket to see Hicks at the Orange Bowl.

"He's a great artist, and he really covers the spectrum of the audience which we have," she said.

Hicks, a college football fan, said that he hopes to capture some touchdowns on his new camera, which he will bring to the game.

"I keep up with college football quite extensively," said Hicks by phone from San Diego. "Being from Alabama, I can't help it." He doesn't favor either team in the Orange Bowl, he said, but he is familiar with Wake Forest.

"Demon Deacons!" he said.

Hicks visited North Carolina recently when, on a whim, he attended the annual Christmas Jam in Asheville and appeared on stage with John Popper, the founder of Blues Traveler, to wail on the harmonica.

Since he won Idol, Hicks' life has been filled with moments like that.

In a two-day span, he said, he sang to President Bush and hung garlands with Martha Stewart. He has flown in a private plane. At the Orange Bowl, he will sing live in front of 73,000 people, plus millions more watching on TV.

"I'll just be thrilled to be there and see the Orange Bowl," he said.

He said he felt honored and flattered to sing with Gladys Knight, who has served as an American Idol guest judge and is known for such hits as "Midnight Train to Georgia" and "If I Were Your Woman"

Hicks will stick around after his brief performance - he and Knight will perform for 7 or 8 minutes, Oeters said - to watch the game. He requested tickets for himself and his band.

He will be fresh off a holiday visit with his family. Before Christmas, he talked about how excited he was about the prospect of going back to Birmingham.

Since he won Idol, he said, "I've probably been home about 45 minutes." His pets - two goldfish - remain with his family.

The new season of Idol begins in January. After a new winner is crowned, Hicks will regain control of his career. Then, he said, "I just want to keep being the artist that I've always been - keep learning and working, being more creative."

His higher profile may help make some of his dream duets come true. He would like to sing with Bob Seger, Aretha Franklin and Paul Simon. Simon is a great songwriter, Hicks said.

"I just like his soul."

Constant travel and being more active have melted 20 pounds off Hicks' frame since he won Idol. But Hicks might trade a pound or two if he could stay in one place for a while. He doesn't care where.

"I'd just like to settle down, period," he said.

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Date Published: December 31, 2006

Certified Gold Has Taken Taylor Hicks To ‘The Right Place’ By Chelena Blount

Finally, I can breathe a sigh of relief.

Being impossible to plop him solely into the pop genre, Hicks’s CD needed solid collaboration in order to build a realistic world around his already-molded signature sound and fortunately, he is now one of the Idols to have been successfully marketed.

The quality of this CD is superb, which enhances the overall richness of Hicks’s voice that has an unforced, naturally enjoyable timbre that comes from years of performing on the Birmingham club circuit. There are also many quirks, licks and signatures from musical legends Hicks has picked up over the years but unfortunately, adopting traits from performers who have done it right in the past can be frowned upon in the music industry. Personally, I see it as each of these traits representing an ingredient in Hicks’s unique musical recipe, and with this CD he’s managed to mix them together to serve up a brand new dish that I’ve found to be quite satisfying.

The album opens with the upbeat 80s-esque “Runaround” that gets listeners off to a hip-gyrating start. “Dream Myself Awake”, penned by Rob Thomas, surprisingly allows Hicks to pull off a pop song that will be great for radio airplay, which in itself is a major accomplishment since radio has not been kind to most idol winners in the past.

The moment “Heaven Knows” begins I’m transported to the old days when music was a beautiful experience. I instantly coined this to be my favorite upbeat song on the album but it has since been vying for that spot with ‘The Maze’, which I feel is more Hicks’s style as he goes for that ‘just different enough’ sound that could attract a new audience of listeners.

Unfortunately for me, “Give Me Tonight” did not make the ‘just different enough’ cut.

Though I am an avid Hicks fan, this is the song that starts me humming that little ditty from Sesame Street, ‘one of these things is not like the other…’ Taylor Hicks is no disco singer, but I do understand that any freshman music project (though this is Hicks’s third CD, it is his first on a major record label) strives to please everyone’s palette and while the song is well sung, it is simply ‘not Taylor’.

From Hicks independent CD Under the Radar he’s given us “Soul Thing” and “The Deal”. I loved the original recordings and now the ‘prettied up’ renditions as well. My favorite of the two is “The Deal”, this song instantly clears my head with a calming melody and lyrics that only prove Taylor Hicks was an accomplished artist way before his Season Five Idol jaunt plastered him all over the map.

Again introducing this generation to much-loved legends, “Wherever I Lay My Hat” lends the CD that old Marvin Gaye sound and even though this song has been recorded in most every genre, Hicks has only added another smooth rendition to the list. And while some may lament about “Places I’ve Been” being typical Diane Warren, I feel there’s a place in heaven for a songwriter who can successfully bring the sweet, vulnerable, romantic side of Taylor Hicks to the forefront without making him sound forced or cheesy. It is wonderful to hear a love song simply about ‘love’—pardon me for giving kudos to soppy-sweetness. I get the same vulnerable, tender vibe with the powerful ballad “Just To Feel That Way”…I know, I’m a sucker for soppy-sweetness. Sue me.

Catchy, gospel-feel “Gonna Move” comes pretty close to telling Hicks’s life story. I for one am glad he decided to express what he feels by taking the musical road and not selling real estate as his grandmother Joni suggested—can you imagine that horrible loss to the music world?

Lastly, Bryan Adams deserves a kiss hard on the mouth for handing the future classic “The Right Place” over to Hicks. If he were still here I’m sure Ray Charles would agree there could be no better pick to record this song originally penned for the legend himself.

I met up with Hicks in New York this December and contrary to the uninhibited energy the performer gives on stage, Taylor Hicks the man is quiet, a bit shy and a total gentleman. Usually rushed through throngs of fans with no time for one-on-ones, I captured a rare moment where he was able to kick back and talk with me for a few minutes. I remember imagining how he must feel to catapult from performing in honky-tonk steak and ales to the notoriety he experiences today, especially now that he has landed the number two spot on the Billboard 200 by selling almost 300,000 CDs during its first week of release—with no single from the album being circulated for radio airplay. Top that off with his CD going gold only in its second week of release, having over 500,000 unit sales in the United States alone, and it makes Idol tyrant Simon Cowell’s comment—‘this is a guy who should be singing backgrounds, not in the spotlight’— completely irrelevant, doesn’t it?

The quick success of this CD is only the beginning for this 30-year old Birmingham native, whose dues-paying years are finally launching him into much-deserved success and respect in the music industry. And while listening to this CD, with its compelling lyrics and infectious beats, you can’t help but catch the spirit of ‘modern whomp’ that has become and will always remain, a signature of Taylor Hicks.


Source: Orlando Sentinel
Date Published: February 2, 2007

Taylor Hicks and fans: 'Soul' mates at Mardi Gras
By Jim Abbott

With the Soul Patrol, his rabid, Internet-connected fan base, Taylor Hicks is armed with perhaps the most formidable grassroots support ever inspired by an American Idol.

It's open to speculation whether Hicks' fans, who can see the current Idol winner Feb. 24 at Mardi Gras at Universal Studios, could take Clay Aiken's loyal ClayMates in a back-alley brawl. Either way, it would be a good fight.

Hicks, speaking by phone from Los Angeles, wisely won't take odds on how his fans would do. He's just happy for the support.

"I'm very happy that I have a great fan base with the Soul Patrol," he says, speaking at a deliberate, thoughtful pace that's more reserved than his exuberant persona on the show.

"I'm hoping that the Soul Patrol can draw some similarities to the Parrot Heads. That's the mentality that I have, to make each show an event and a gathering, like a Jimmy Buffett concert. It's about the music and the camaraderie of the people that go. That's what a good concert's all about."

Benefits of experience

Unlike some other American Idols, Hicks knew a little something about live music before being thrust into the Idol spotlight. As a teenager in Birmingham, Ala., Hicks, now 30, started playing harmonica and guitar in bars, eventually paying his dues with years of club dates that stretched from Alabama into Florida.

Those shows never took him to the Florida Theatre in Jacksonville or the Tampa Theatre, two lovely, renovated 1920s movie houses where Hicks will kick off the new leg of a headlining tour that starts on Feb. 21. Nor did his pre-Idol itinerary include a stop at a world-class theme park.

"It's gonna be great," Hicks says. "This is what I've done my whole life, touring and live music. I am thrilled to be getting to take a band like this on the road and start my career in some of these smaller theaters across the country."

Another side effect of all that hard time on the road: Hicks is perhaps more determined than the typical Idol winner to shape his own musical vision. For instance, the show's producers usually handpick an Idol's debut single, but Hicks rejected the first recommendation, holding out for the pop-gospel "Do I Make You Proud."

He incurred chat-room criticism from his fans for turning up at a Snoop Dogg concert to play harmonica on "Gin & Juice." Named People's hottest bachelor of 2006, his love life is a topic of intense interest, too. ("I'm just trying to love every day, like the next person," Hicks says.)

His music, his way

In making his self-titled debut album with producer Matt Serletic (Rob Thomas, matchbox twenty, Aerosmith) Hicks displayed more of his creative individualism. He calls the sound Modern Whomp, a combination of soul, blues, jazz, funk and Cajun styles.

"I was very stubborn when it came to the music that I wanted to put on the album," he says. "That prolonged the process, if you can consider three more weeks being prolonged in the recording business. But I felt right with every song."

Left in the vaults were collaborations with John Mayer and Sacred Steel star Robert Randolph, which is a decent start for a sophomore release.

Whether he's recording, touring or songwriting, Hicks relies on his instincts, no matter what kind of positive or negative advice he gets from anyone else.

"Because of all the hard work and paying dues for 10 years, working in clubs and places like that, you really figure out who you are as an artist," he says. "I think all those dreams and all that work really tests your character, and it builds character. That's something that nobody can really take away from you."

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Source: antiMusic
Date Published: February 5, 2007


(PR) For two decades, the SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas has been the industry’s best kept secret for breaking new acts such as Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs and James Blunt. That’s all about to change as DIRECTV, the nation’s leading satellite television service provider, teams up with music/entertainment guru Blaze TV to bring the nation’s biggest music showcase to national television for the first time in DIRECTV Presents SXSW Live. Exclusively on DIRECTV’s Channel 101 (The 101), the special will be broadcast live March 15-17 and feature unprecedented access with upfront performances and behind-the-scenes footage from the three day musical extravaganza.

Last year’s event featured more than 1,400 bands played at 60 venues in downtown Austin, Texas. This year proves to provide more action with appearances by Pete Townshend and Rachel Fuller, The Stooges (with Iggy Pop), David Byrne, Ozomatli, Taylor Hicks, Amy Winehouse, Buzzcocks, Interpol, Razorlight, Hot Hot Heat, The Bravery and Booker T.

Blaze TV is working with SXSW to custom-build two state-of-the-art venues exclusively for the SXSW special on The 101. The Lone Star Lounge, with a traditional Texas feel, and modern music club The Bat Bar will be built from the ground up in Austin solely for the live televised performances. Each venue will be filmed using the most up-to-date technology, including multi-camera HD with 5.1 surround sound.

February 2007

By Larry Getlen

Taylor Hicks is, at this point, almost a household name. After winning American Idol – the most watched television show of our time – with over 63 million votes, Hicks released a single that shot to number one, and then an album that debuted at number two and has since gone platinum. He has also appeared on virtually every talk show and magazine cover in the media landscape, and was named “Hottest Bachelor” by no less an authority on the subject then People Magazine.

So what was this smoking hot star doing exactly one year ago today?

“I was probably playing with my band The Little Memphis Blues Orchestra to about 30 or 40 people,” says Hicks.

Yes, all this fame has miraculously come to Hicks in just the last nine months, a seemingly astounding rise of the sort that has become less and less shocking in the era of YouTube and American Idol. But for Hicks, as for many of Idol’s overnight stars, the journey has not been exactly as quick as it has appeared.

Hicks, who has been playing guitar and harmonica since childhood, was a regular performer in Birmingham, Alabama, where he played at beach bars and VFW halls and opened for the likes of James Brown, Tom Petty, and Robert Randolph. He also released two independent CDs – In Your Time and the appropriately titled (at the time) Under the Radar.

So after paying over a decade’s worth of dues, how is Hicks’s adapting to his sudden good fortune? Like it’s where he was meant to be all along. “All my life, I’ve had this dream of being a musician and an entertainer,” Hicks tells City Link. “All those years of being on the road at night and visualizing the dream coming true, and really putting yourself in the position mentally for when it comes true, really helped me to understand the whole process. It was easier for me because I always believed, and dreamed, and visualized it.”

Hicks penned three of the songs on his self-titled album and shares credit for a fourth, but the songs he didn't write came from the best, including Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, Rob Thomas, and Diane Warren. Considering his status as American Idol champ, Hicks had a wealth of songs to choose from, as over a hundred were considered. The greatest challenge was insuring that he chose the right ones. “Instinct played a part,” says Hicks. “I’ve been studying songwriting, so I know what a good song is, and I was very stubborn in the selection process.”

Not surprisingly for the “Soul Patrol” singer, soul music is well represented, including Marvin Gaye’s “Wherever I Lay My Hat,” and “The Right Place,” which was originally written by Adams and Vallance for Ray Charles. Hicks says that any album with his name on it would have to be heavily geared toward his beloved soul music. “I just connect with it emotionally,” he says. “In childhood, growing up, I gravitated toward the emotion that soul music, blues, and gospel had. It’s the place where I started my musical foundation, and I’m glad, because as long as the emotion’s there, no matter what genre it is, you can connect with an audience.”

It’s this belief that makes all the songs on his record equally special to him, with no “favorites” among those he wrote. “I look at all of them across the board as songs,” he says. “Ray Charles showed that if you can connect with a song emotionally, whether your own or somebody else’s, that’s the bottom line.”

With that foundation in place, Hicks has had some fantastic experiences, including being signed to his Arista label by the legendary Clive Davis, who took Hicks under his wing. “We talked a few times through the process,” says Hicks, “and he helped me in deciding the single, ‘Just to Feel that Way,’ which I thought was a great choice. He helped me understand the format of major label recording, how it works. He had a lot of encouraging words for me during the recording process.”

One who famously did not provide such encouragement, however, was Simon Cowell, who was less than impressed with Hicks during the singer’s early rounds on Idol. Despite his status as AI champ, Hicks never really had a chance to get to know the show’s famous judges – or to confront the one who felt he was lacking.

“During the competition, we weren’t allowed to speak to them,” he says, “so we never really had a big relationship. Then after I won, I was on a rocketship - I was doing this, doing publicity. But I did get to say hello and speak to them, and they’re all really great.” Hicks says that Simon’s stance did cause him concern at first. “I was worried. You just really have to stand up and keep doing your thing each week, and ultimately it wasn’t up to Simon, it was up to the American people. But he congratulated me, and he was a really nice guy - wink wink.” Hicks says this knowing that Simon will never be fully in his corner. “He came around a little bit, but not fully. Nor will he ever fully.”

But Hicks’ experience proves how far one can go on Idol even without the full support of all three judges, and since his victory, he’s been on a headlong drive toward success. The American Idol tour that followed his appearance on the show demonstrated why live performance is where the salt and pepper-haired singer is most comfortable. “The live music setting is where I’ve always thrived,” he says,” and one reason is because I never had money to record. My bread and butter’s in live performing, and I’m really excited about playing this music in the small theaters and venues all over the country.”

For his current tour, Hicks is excited for the more intimate experience with the crowd. Initially joking that audiences can expect “high energy, low impact aerobics,” on the tour, Hicks does say that a high energy show is in the cards. “High energy, great music, a great band, and a solid wall of live sounds. We play an hour and fifteen or hour and thirty minutes, and I have a wonderful, obscure cover list that everybody’s gonna be knocked out by.”
In addition to the tour, Hicks is writing a memoir called Heart Full of Soul with the assistance of Rolling Stone writer David Wild, and enjoying other perks of the biz including being parodied by Weird Al Yankovic, whose take-off of Hicks’ “Do I Make You Proud” – called “Do I Creep You Out” – had Hicks “rolling on the floor laughing.” Which is the perfect state for a man living what is hopefully just the beginning of his lifelong dream. “I’m definitely thankful for this opportunity,” says Hicks, “and I’m looking forward to being a touring musician for a long time.”

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Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Date Published: February 23, 2007

By Sean Piccoli

On tour, the reigning Idol champ is balancing the Fox franchise while staying true to his signature sound.

At the moment, the reigning American Idol isn't ruler of the charts. Taylor Hicks' self-titled debut has slid down Billboard magazine's Top 200 albums list, to No. 87 after nine weeks in stores. First efforts by a pair of Hicks' runner-ups, rock singer Chris Daughtry (No. 3, 12 weeks) and pop singer Katharine McPhee (No. 11, 2 weeks), are selling more briskly. Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts (No. 19, 65 weeks) continues to fly off shelves, and Underwood preceded Hicks as the people's choice on the mother of all TV sing-offs.

So has Hicks' career gone as prematurely gray as his hair? Not according to the Birmingham, Ala., native, who performs tonight at the Coral Springs Center. In an interview, Hicks said that to measure him against, say, Daughtry or Underwood is a case of apples and oranges.

"You know, it's funny: People want to try and compare us, and that's hard to do because I'm not singing rock and I'm not singing country," he said. "So to compare us -- I find that interesting because we're in different genres."

Hicks said "interesting" with a droll air that suggested what he meant was "inappropriate" or "misinformed."

"If I was a rocker, I could see that [comparison]," he said. "But I'm a blue-eyed soul performer."

Hicks, 30, came to American Idol with more experience than most: He had already sung in clubs, opened for stars and put out independent albums. He was anything but an amateur. Idol gave a hard-working regional performer the kind of national name recognition that a candidate for president covets, and Hicks opened his campaign for life after television on a high note: Taylor Hicks (Arista/19) bowed at No. 2 in December.

Whatever the size of the audience for his brand of contemporary blue-eyed soul, Hicks called the album "definitely a step in the right direction," adding, "I worked very closely with that producer to capture who I am as an artist and who I was as an American Idol."

Taylor Hicks was produced by Matt Serletic, known for his studio work with rock acts including matchbox twenty, Collective Soul and Carlos Santana.

The album and the artist haven't disappeared from view. Hicks is on a U.S. tour underwritten by a major label and a high-profile management company. He just served as grand marshal for one of the Mardi Gras krewes in New Orleans and played a private gala at the Superdome. (Talking by telephone from New Orleans, he called the post-Katrina signs of life there "promising.")

But considering his success on a phenomenally popular television show, and considering the general scale of Idol stardom, Hicks' debut feels like it's come up short. The question is what that slippage in the rankings means for his prospects.

Hicks sees himself at the beginning of the curve, not the end. "You have to start out small and work your way towards a bigger goal," he said, "and that's what I am doing right now, playing the musical theaters and clubs all across the country. It's better to start out small."

He described his obligations as twofold: He's out there representing himself and the franchise that made him famous: "You have to work both ways, as an artist and as an American Idol," he said.

At the moment he is more focused on the artistry. "You really have to work towards being ... your own voice and your own singer, and that's what I've done," he said. "My thinking right now is that I've done 21/2-minute TV segments for the last six or seven months, whereas prior to the American Idol experience I was performing four hours a night. And that's something I look forward to getting back to."

Hicks said the live show is a mix of new songs, covers and material that he wrote and recorded before American Idol. He called touring a "rekindling of the artist and the creative process, and it's my job to go out and perform the music that I wrote."

He joked about the boost his tour budget has gotten from Idol: "It's interesting to compare minivan gas prices to tour bus gas prices." He also said he is keeping tabs on the show as it goes about picking his successor.

"I'm enjoying being a viewer this season," he said.


Source: Opelika-Auburn News
Date Published: February 28, 2007

Hicks Returns to Roots
Singer asks local bands to open concerts in 2007 tour
By Lindsay Field

Taylor Hicks will "bring the noise" tonight with Spoonful James, which isn’t just a band that calls Auburn home, but a group of friends Hicks performed with quite a bit during his college years in the "Loveliest Village."

Hicks, a 29-year-old Alabama native who was voted "American Idol" winner last year, is performing tonight in Columbus, Ga., at RiverCenter of the Performing Arts. During his 2007 tour, he’s recruited local talent like Spoonful James to open up for him each night.

"It made sense to bring bands on regionally," Hicks said. "I also wanted to put some of my talented buddies up on the stage."

When Auburn was Hicks’ stomping ground he frequented local bars like Supper Club, Bourbon Street and Bodega.

"Yeah, I guess (I miss the college scene)," Hicks said. "I make sure I still get out to that scene to check out my favorite artists. And, then, I usually can’t resist getting up on stage to blow a little harp. What can I say? It’s what I love."

Spoonful James’ bass player and good friend of Hicks, Quinn Borland, said he’s looking forward to opening up for his college chum.

"I’ve been practicing my butt off and trying to come up with some good songs and some good hooks," Borland said enthusiastically. "I can’t wait to get to play with everyone."

It’s only been six weeks since Borland last performed with Spoonful James, a group that came together in 1996, but he hasn’t seen Hicks in about a month, just before he began rehearsing for the 2007 tour.

"We opened up and performed with the Allman Brothers once a few years ago, but this will be a little more personal," Borland said.

"It’s funny. When he first called me and told me he was trying out at ‘Idol’ he was broke and making 50 bucks a night, and he called to ask me if it was bad to eat bullion cubes each night for dinner," said Borland as he laughed.

"It’s weird, it’s just really weird to see one of our really good buddies going from playing at bars to ‘American Idol,’ " said Borland, who attended the Idol finale last year in L.A. with his wife, Elizabeth.

When asked if the "American Idol" experience has been a roller coaster ride, Hicks said, "Times 10. It has been quite a ride but one I would get in line for over and over again."

Borland was told Monday evening by Hicks’ road manager that Spoonful James would be performing in front of a sold-out crowd, approximately 3,000 people. The local band will begin playing at 7:30 p.m. and perform an hourlong set.

Hicks, who performed in Mobile last night with the Greyhounds, will put on his show with Spoonful James at RiverCenter of the Performing Arts in Columbus at 7:30 p.m. For more information visit RiverCenter online,, or call 1-888-332-5200.

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Date Published: March 08, 2007

Taylor Hicks Exclusive Pt 2
By Jade Hindmon

He's entertained the crowds with his energetic performances and soulful music.

" I love his music, soul, and dancing,"says Debra Profitt, a fan from Seatle WA.

"You can't beat it he's hot too...very hot, "says another fan

But how is the American Idol handling his success?

"It's alot of work but I love it and it's a once in a life time opportunity. You make the best of it,"says Taylor Hicks.

-- Making the best of a career he's dreamed of his whole life.

The "Soul Patrolman" says he got his inspiration from the best at a very young age.

"Marvin Gaye ... Ray Charles ... all those great entertainers. It's one thing to hear them, but it's another to see them perform. I learned all of the moves as a kid,"says Hicks.

Moves that have become signature to his high energy concerts.

But, this American Idol says he's more than a dancing machine.

His next project is a book titled "Memoirs Of My Life".

"It's a memoir of my life ... with life lessons not only for music but every day life,"says Hicks.

One lesson he'd like to share with this years American Idol contestants is to be weary of cell phones.

"If you got friends and family calling all day long the next thing you know you'll be out of a voice for the competition and I've seen it happen so be weary of cell phones,"says Hicks.

Jade Hindmon Fox Carolina The Ten O'Clock News.


Source: Access Hollywood
Date Published: March 08, 2007

Taylor Hicks Heads Home & Helps The Red Cross

NEW YORK (March 8, 2007) -- Taylor Hicks has partnered with the Red Cross for his return visit to his hometown of Birmingham.

Currently on his first major US tour since winning "American Idol," Hicks has invited the organization to come to his hometown tour stop to raise funds in aid of victims of a March 2 tornado.

Eight students were killed and their high school destroyed when a tornado whipped through Enterprise, Alabama last Friday.

"This tragedy affected me very personally," Hicks said. "I know Enterprise, and have friends from there. When I heard the news, I wanted to be able to do something concrete to help all of the folks affected by the tornado. And I wanted to do it sooner rather than later, as these people need our help now."

The Red Cross will also be educating concert goers on how they can help out those affected by the tornado.

"The American Red Cross is so grateful to Taylor Hicks for his compassion and generosity to those affected by the recent tornadoes in Alabama," said Kathleen Loehr, Senior Vice President for Development at the American Red Cross.

Donations collected at the concert will help provide food, shelter, counseling and other assistance to those affected by the deadly storm."

In addition to helping the organization, Hick's homecoming will be a momentous event. He will be presented with a key to the city, which he plans to donate to victims of the tornado.

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Source: Undercover
Date Published: March 09, 2007

American Idol Taylor Hicks To Perform Show For Tornado Victims
By Paul Cashmere

American Idol winner Taylor Hicks will donate funds from this hometown show in Birmingham, Alabama to victims of the tornado that stuck Enterprise, Alabama on March 2nd, killing eight students.

"This tragedy affected me very personally," says Hicks in a statement. "I know Enterprise, and have friends from there. When I heard the news, I wanted to be able to do something concrete to help all of the folks affected by the tornado. And I wanted to do it sooner rather than later, as these people need our help now."

Hicks has invited the Red Cross to his show to collect donations.

Hicks will also receive the key to the city when he comes home for the show next week on March 10 and 11.


Source: Mary Colurso's Blog
Date Published: March 16, 2007

Attention Taylor shoppers: Hicks' early work worth a listen
By Mary Colurso

Ah, yes. The merchandise table.

People flock to it at concerts, elbowing to the front of the counter so they can take home goodies emblazoned with images of their favorite musicians.

To play in the major leagues, today's artists need merchandise and lots of it -- a variety of T-shirts, caps, hoodies, coffee cups, can huggers, key chains, jackets and refrigerator magnets.

Selling such items offers soloists and bands the chance to make big bucks, but that's not the only benefit.

Merchandise keeps the fan base happy, providing tactile and lasting links from stars to listeners. Also, merchandise helps to establish the artists as brand names, which can be spread far and wide with little effort.

I looked at Taylor Hicks' merchandise table with considerable interest last weekend at the Alabama Theatre, where Hicks and his new touring band played two sold-out shows.

Hicks really likes his merchandise -- or so he told me during a recent interview -- partly because he never had much of it in the past.

"Maybe one T-shirt, when I could afford it," he said.

Anyone who bought one of those early Taylor T's probably resold it as memorabilia in 2006, after Hicks went from struggling nightclub singer to the famous Gray-Haired Guy on "American Idol."

But for my money, Hicks produced two more significant pieces of merchandise before "Idol" came calling: a couple of independent discs called "In Your Time" (1997) and "Under the Radar" (2005).

Seven songs each -- about 37 minutes and 24 minutes, respectively -- which makes me regard them as EPs rather than full-length albums.

In contrast, Hicks' 2006 debut disc for Arista contains 12 songs -- 13 if you opt for the Wal-Mart version -- nearly doubling the output of the past. Retail price: $18.98.

When bought today at Hicks' merchandise table, "In Your Time" costs $30 and "Under the Radar" is $15. That's a total of $45 for approximately one hour of music, or about $3.21 per song.

Are they worth it? I purchased the discs -- for the going rate, at the Alabama Theatre -- to find out.

Actually, I'd heard these CDs before. Hicks had sent review copies to The Birmingham News when they first came out and he was hoping for coverage in his hometown paper.

But the discs had long since disappeared from my work stash, and I hadn't listened to either of them for years. In the case of "In Your Time," nearly 10 years.

It's been out of print for awhile, but Hicks pulled the masters out of storage and pressed a new batch for his tour, tucking them into a simple sleeve with fresh cover art.

"Under the Radar," on the other hand, has been available to fans throughout Hicks "Idol" journey, sold by Laser's Edge Compact Discs in Homewood.

As it turns out, reconsidering Hicks' indie CDs is a fairly easy task. On both of them, Taylor sounds exactly like Taylor.

Hicks' voice hasn't changed much -- it's the same whiskey tenor-- nor has his way of delivering a song. A playful slide here, a showy growl there. Maybe a hint of Southern sandpaper.

The instrumentation and production values are decent, as well.

Notable, however, is the way Hicks' celebrity has given a sheen to these songs they didn't possess before. That's a famous voice singing "Son of a Carpenter," "The Fall," "My Friend" and "West Texas Sky."

Those aren't the best-known tunes in his songbook, nor are they the best written. But Hicks has a highly recognizable style, acquits himself nicely, and therefore gives them luster.

Even if "In Your Time" and "Under the Radar" were embarrassing for Hicks -- which they are not -- the tracks they contain would be worth something as rarities.

Would listeners care if they'd never heard of the Soul Patrolman? Maybe not, but that's a moot point. Because he has become a bona-fide star, Hicks' back catalog has added value.

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Source: Cleveland Scene
Date Published: March 28, 2007

Idol's Workshop
Taylor Hicks aims small and digs Irish soul.
By Tamara Palmer

Taylor Hicks beat the ultimate odds when he won American Idol last year, but pleads the fifth when asked if he's a gambling man, then reconsiders.

"If you're in a casino, you might as well, right?" wonders the "Silver Fox," speaking via telephone from the Ameristar Casino in St. Louis, tonight's stop on his first solo tour with his eight-piece soul band.

What's more, he even admits that he's excited about being there. "I mean, people get paid in a casino. That's pretty tough to come by," he laughs.

Hicks is on tour at least through the summer, with very few days off. He's used to it, though, since he spent a lot of time on the road before entering the AI contest. "Nowadays, for me, the road is where I thrive," he says.

With the backing of the Soul Patrol, a nationwide fan club exploding with ardent members, each gig brings an overwhelming amount of support. You don't get the sense that Hicks indulges in groupies, however. He says that he unwinds on the tour bus by playing chess, and it's believable. And while his knowledge of the game won't approach Grandmaster status any time soon, it appears to have given him the side-stepping moves needed in the music industry.

"Chess is like the game of life, and the game of life is definitely like the music business," he says. "There are a bunch of hard-learned lessons in life as well as the music business -- to be writing it and performing it on the road. You can say that about life. You have to make the right decisions and the right moves, and they have to be premeditated."

Last year, Hicks went on a national arena tour with last season's AI finalists, while his current itinerary has him playing a smattering of casinos, ballrooms, and other intimate settings (like Cleveland's House of Blues). "That's what I wanted to do. I feel like I need to start small and get bigger. I understand the game. I understand the business. You have to grow and grow. That's key."

It's an astute strategy; he's not looking for short-term success, and a second arena tour this soon after his national debut could have been an easy fast track to quick, free-fallin' burnout. It's really hard to get larger when you have already received more votes to win a televised singing contest than any political figure does to win office, including the president.

"It's crazy, isn't it?" he asks, referring to America's appetite for a good tune versus a good leader. "I want to be a career artist, not a flavor of the month. What you do after you win [AI], you really have to take it and use it to your advantage. For me, I have to get the point across that I'm a real artist -- a performing, touring artist. It needs to start in the intimate settings, where you can really communicate that idea."

He draws parallels between the current version of his live show and Van Morrison's seminal live album from 1974, It's Too Late to Stop Now, which was recorded when Van Morrison was in his early 30s (as Hicks is now). After years of large-scale attention and shows, Van Morrison released the album at a time of renewal, starting small and getting bigger. Hicks says, "I like to draw that similarity right now because I think the same energy is there."

The music business has its well-documented treachery, and there's a public perception that American Idol probably doesn't offer the most generous recording contract to the winner. It's clear that Hicks is not one to sign blindly and has spent his years in music paying attention to the pitfalls, but did he have to stand up for himself when it came to his deal?

"Artistically I had to, but contractually, it was already a done deal. You know what you're getting into when you get into it."

Not sure whether it's comedic coincidence or a calculated cutoff -- but that's precisely when we're told that there is one minute left in the interview. A bit of elaboration on how he fought for artistic freedom would be great, but it's not to be on this particular day. There's also no time to sneak in a quick bark for Randy Jackson, a puzzled quip about Paula Abdul's zany brain-farts, or even an inquiry about why Simon Cowell likes to rub his own nipples.

Oh well, start small.

Thanked for his brief yet gracious time, Taylor Hicks makes a concluding move that's rather different from most pop and rap stars who endure cattle-call interviews on daily tour stops. What he does is wonderful. He doesn't direct me or Scene's readers to go get his album, in stores now. There's no Taylor Hicks clothing line to hawk or branded beverage coming soon.

Instead, there's a far more pressing recommendation on his mind.

"Make sure you check out that Van Morrison album -- it's really good," he insists. "It's Too Late to Stop Now."

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