Woman's Gotta Have It
Filmed at The Workplay Theater in Birmingham, AL 9-26-09 with Ona Watson.
Song available on Taylor's new album, The Distance.
On sale now! Pick your copy today!

Monday, December 31, 2007

Top 10 Taylor Hicks Moments in 2007!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Congratulations to Taylor Hicks who had an awesome and highly successful 2007!! So many fun-filled memories for all his fans who got to witness this magnificent talent during the year!

My Top 10 Most Memorable Moments For Taylor Hicks in 2007:

1. February, 2007:
Getting his dream ride--a silver and burgundy Prevost--his own very luxurious home-on-the-road tour bus!
2. February 21, 2007:
Launching the first national solo tour, Modern Whomp Music in Jacksonville, FL.
3. January 17, 2007:
Going gold and then platinum for album “Taylor Hicks” (as certified by RIAA).
4. July 10, 2007:
Releasing “Heart Full of Soul,” through Random House, an inspirational memoir about the incredible journey of “finding your voice and finding your way”.
5. December 28/29, 2007:
Entertainment for the Liberty Bowl Gala at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis (and being awarded the "Outstanding Achievement Award") and Half-time performance at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, TN.
6. January 2, 2007:
Performing with Gladys Knight at the Orange Bowl.
7. December 16-20, 2007:
Appearing on the finale of Asian Idol 2007/2007 Performing at the Ayala Malls in the Phillipines. First international solo appearances.
8. February 17, 2007:
Returning to New Orleans as Grand Marshall for Endymion at Mardi Gras.
9. June 11, 2007:
Singing the National Anthem at the NBA Finals in Cleveland, Ohio.
10. January 14-17:
First celeb/pro-am Golf Tournment at the Bob Hope Classic in Palm Springs.
(Thanks to the Whomp Swamp for providing the list)

A magnificent year for Taylor and what a great time we (the fans) had, eh? 2008 promises to be an even better year with a new concert DVD coming in the spring (Whomp At The Warfield), a new album to follow in the summer and more touring, both domestically and abroad! I know Taylor will kick some major creative ass this year and I for one can not wait!!!!!!

I want to take a minute to go over the poll that's been posted for the last couple of months. The question was "What musical style would you like to hear on Taylor's next album". A big thank you to all who participated in that poll! The results were closer than I thought they would be! Check out the new poll coming soon!

44% - Acoustic (116 votes)
39% - Modern Blue Eyed Soul (101 votes)
32% - Blues (85 votes)
21% - Old Style Soul (56 votes)
13% - Classic Rock (36 votes)
11% - Adult Contemporary (29 votes)
3% - Top 40 Pop (10 votes)
Total Votes: 258

Here's to New Beginnings!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Taylor Hicks Gets "Outstanding Achievement Award" from the Liberty Bowl

Taylor Hicks received the AutoZone Liberty Bowl’s "Outstanding Achievement Award" from the folks at the Liberty Bowl Gala. The award is presented each year to an individual or group who has exhibited excellence in their chosen field and service to community. Past recipients include B.B. King, Lou Rawls, Clint Black, Little Richard, Alabama, LeAnn Rimes and The Beach Boys.
Well deserved Taylor! (Picture Courtesy of EJ at the Boogie Board.)

Unfortunately, ESPN decided not to show the halftime show with Taylor Hicks, but they did have a very brief interview with him at the start of the 2nd half. Taylor looks really mah-velous!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Taylor Hicks on Sirius Satellite Radio - A Recap

Taylor Hicks fans got a real treat this afternoon with a lengthy interview with George Klein on Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 13 - the Elvis Channel. Taylor said that his DVD - "Whomp At The Warfield" will be out in the Spring of 2008, followed by a new album this coming summer and an Asian and Europeon tour to follow! He also said he'd be writing with Steve Cropper from Stax Records, who incidently co-wrote many classic soul songs such as Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay, Knock on Wood and In the Midnight Hour. He was a guitarist, A & R man, engineer, producer, and songwriting partner of Otis Redding, Eddie Floyd and a dozen others, as well as the founding member of both Booker T. and the MG's and The Mar-Keys. Sounds like a perfect writing team!

Click below to hear the entire interview:
Thanks Gypsee for the audio capture!

Part 1

Part 2

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Taylor Hicks? George Clooney? You Tell Me!

Separated at birth? Maybe, because the resemblance is striking, isn't it? I think Mr. Hicks is the next screen heart-throb! He's already making the women shudder at his shows - why not on the big screen? He said he wants to eventually venture into acting - certainly has the movie star looks if you ask me!

Taylor Hicks: Proud To Be A Musician, To Play Music For A Living

As a child of divorced parents, recent Manila visitor Taylor Hicks found solace in music. He fell hard for black artists; getting to watch them in concert convinced him that he should follow their lead.

For 10 years, Hicks toiled as a professional singer, making the rounds of bars and clubs (even parties) around the southeastern states, including those near his hometown, Alabama.

Though he wasn’t signed to any label, he already had two albums—“In Your Time” and “Under the Radar”—both self-produced, prior to his self-titled major label (Arista/Sony BMG) debut which came after he became the 2006 American Idol.

Despite worldwide attention following his triumph, Hicks remains grounded and doesn’t mind being referred to as the oldest or least likely-looking Idol. What he’s most proud of, simply, is being a musician.

How did your parents’ divorce affect you?

Any child who goes through a divorce has to find a happy place. For me, music was that happy place. It became my passion and outlet for my feelings.

How did you find the music that you love?

I first heard Sam Cooke and Ray Charles on the radio, in a program called AM Gold.

Was there a conscious effort to emulate these influences?

Yeah, but once you hear all these great artists and musicians, you want to recreate something for yourself. That’s when you try to take off and create your own music.

What was the biggest difference between your first two independent albums and the major label debut?

The first two were my music, songs that I’ve written. The third had other songwriters and producers. That was a great learning experience which helped me become a better recording artist.

How do you rate the first two albums?

I think the first one definitely needed some work. The second one was the better attempt. And the third was me understanding what it was like to have a bigger production.

You described the third album as organic.

What I tried to accomplish was take some of the organic influences and cross them over with pop sensibilities. I think I got a good shot at it.

What band or solo artist, do you think, has been very influential these past few years?

I think Norah Jones brought us back down to earth commercially with “Don’t Know Why.” It allowed songwriters and people with pure musical talents to be heard on radio, as opposed to the more “produced” sounds. For me, personally, it’s Ray La Montaigne. He’s a great soul singer.

Do you remember watching a concert that changed your life?

I was 6 or 7 when I saw Lionel Richie and Tina Turner in concert. Seeing those two performers, right off the bat, didn’t hurt anything.

You look more fashionable now. Do you have a stylist?

I go shopping and comb my hair just like everybody else. But you know what? I take that back, ’cause very little do I comb my hair, although I put gel in it.

Have you ever thought of dyeing your salt-and-pepper hair?

No. I would be scared to [do that] because nobody would know who I am.

What if it all turns white?

Then I may have to reconsider.

You were referred to as the oldest American Idol in the early part of the contest. Did that affect you?

You could say I was the oldest and the wisest! I knew it was up to America to vote. Some of the judges’ comments, I just let them roll off my back.

Clive Davis (record company boss) signed up Chris Daughtry (2007 AI fourth placer) even earlier than you.

Chris deserves all that. He’s a rock singer and songwriter. Considering how popular rock music is right now, that’s a no-brainer.

Before AI, you spent time in Nashville pursuing your music career, although it didn’t pan out.

I was trying to make it for 10 years. I did everything possible and created every opportunity just to make it. I thought Nashville was a good place for me, at the time, to be heard. It taught me a lot about myself.

Are you proud to be called a white soul/R&B singer?

I’m just proud to be a musician, to play music for a living.

How do you see yourself 10 years from now?

Completely white hair. But hopefully still playing music, touring, maybe sitting here with you for another interview.

Source: Inquirer.Net

Monday, December 24, 2007

Taylor Hicks Goes Shopping at Mossimo!

Just dropped back in (I can't seem to take a Taylor break - he's like 'crack' LOL!) to bring you some pictures of Taylor shopping at the Greenbelt Mall in Makati during his recent visit to the Philippines (click on picture for a larger image). It was at a Mossimo Store and apparently, they closed the store down while he was in there. Now *that's* star treatment! Enjoy!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Taylor Hicks on Pinoys, Gray Hair, & Simon Cowell

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year Everyone!

Next year promises to be a great year for Taylor with lots of goodies in store for his fans (a HOT new DVD: "Whomp At The Warfield", A New Album and a New Tour - for starters). Thanks Taylor for a fun and successful year and here's to more good times & good music ahead!

Be sure to catch HDNet's rebroadcast of the Taylor's DVD concert from the Warfield Theater, tonight, Sunday, December 23!

I'd like to rap up 2007 with a video from another one of my heros, John Lennon - a message that is as relevant today as the day it was made. See y'all next year!


Taylor Hicks on Pinoys, Gray Hair & Simon Cowell
CULTURE VULTURE By Therese Jamora-Garceau
Sunday, December 23, 2007

Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, Taylor Hicks has got the feeling he’s not in Kansas anymore. Having flown overseas for the first time to perform a series of concerts at Ayala’s Glorietta, Greenbelt and TriNoma malls, the American Idol is a long way from home (in his case, Birmingham, Alabama), and don’t he know it.

I can tell he’s well out of his comfort zone when I meet him at the Ascott Makati Hotel, where he laid his head for five days. I was expecting the Taylor Hicks I saw on American Idol — the exceptionally warm, friendly, down-to-earth Southerner who recruited millions into his Soul Patrol — not just because he could sing so well but also because he was so dang endearing.

The Taylor Hicks I shake hands with doesn’t smile immediately. He seems wary, guarded, and not quite warmed up yet for the first interview of the day.

But a similar scenario played out at his Glorietta 4 concert the night before. About a thousand fans turned out to watch him sing songs like Just to Feel that Way and The Maze from his Idol-produced album, “Taylor Hicks.”

When Hicks emerged, looking much leaner than his Idol days but still sporting the same George Clooney-esque salt-and-pepper hair, he was moving around and singing well, but where was the frenzied, quirky dancing? Where was the harmonica playing?

Backed by all-Filipino musicians culled from Louie Ocampo’s band (Ayala reps say Hicks was extremely impressed and happy with his Pinoy backup, with whom he bonded tightly), by the time the 30- to 50-something Makati crowd had started to clap and sing along, Hicks had warmed to them as well. After a show-stopping rendition of Taking it to the Streets, Hicks ended the set by finally whipping out his harmonica and letting ’er rip. Do I Make You Proud hit the right “senti” note with Pinoys, and during the danceable Heaven Knows, Hicks started twirling his arms frenetically, shouted, “Soul Patrol!” and did his trademark Ray Charles side bend with matching “Whoo!”

Now, that’s the Taylor Hicks we know and love.

What did you know about the Philippines before you came here?

A little bit from my friend Sway Penala. Sway was on the American Idol finale with me. And he told me how cool it is and how musical of a country it is. And I told him one day I’d get a chance to go and so here I am, and I’m excited about it.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve found out since you arrived?

The traffic isn’t nearly as bad as Jakarta, Indonesia (where he went to judge Asian Idol), so I was pretty excited about getting from the airport to the hotel so quickly.

Are Filipinos similar to Southerners in any way?

Yeah, we both kind of live in very humid climates. So the weather here is similar to the weather back home.

Are you still carrying your statue of Ray Charles with you?

I’ve got Ray. He’s upstairs in my room, actually.

Why is gospel music so important to you?

I think it connects with spirituality. And I think there should be a certain element of spirituality in music, period. So I think that’s a key.

Did you have a religious upbringing?

No, not really. But I did listen to some gospel music and music has definitely helped me through some tough times. So the gospel sound is an influential part of my music.

You said before you had a troubled childhood. What kind of trouble did you get yourself into?

I think all kinds. Well, you know, with (my parents’) divorce and moving around a lot as a kid and stuff, I think the constant variable for me was music. It was more uplifting. Starting to play music and perform music — it started to take me away.

How small is your hometown, Birmingham, Alabama? Are you friends with Bo Bice?

Actually, I’ve met Bo a couple times. Yeah, Birmingham’s a small town, so everybody knows everybody.

How important is it to have a gimmick on American Idol?

What do you mean by “gimmick”?

I mean to have your own style. Like Sanjaya with the hair? Something to set yourself apart from the other contestants.

Well, I think you want to do that musically, to begin with. For me, the music and the performance come first. I think it’s second when you have to differentiate yourself between the other contestants. But I think the choices of songs can help you differ yourself from the other contestants.

So when did you know you had won over Simon Cowell?

I don’t think I’ve won him over yet. I’m still trying. (Laughs)

He never threw you a bone?

Not at all.

How different is it being a local celebrity in your home state to being a national idol?

Well, you know, the pressures are greater. The pressures on being a celebrity, it’s pretty big, ’cause everybody’s looking at you.

Since you won, has there been any pressure to change your image, from dyeing your hair to losing weight?

You know, not really. I think the gray will stay.

I thought the best songs on the album were the ones you wrote, Soul Thing and The Deal. What’s your songwriting process?

I think it’s just whenever it hits you. You know, whenever you get inspired, you should try to act on it. Basically, when the muses hit, then that’s when you take off.

Do you start with music or lyrics first?

It depends on where the inspiration comes from.

Do you keep a notebook with you?

Sometimes I do. If you look at my house back home, you’ll see little notes scribbled everywhere. It’s not just one main notebook, I think it’s a lot of different papers spread all over the room.

With “Taylor Hicks,” your solo album, are you still in touch with the authentic sound you started out with?

Yeah, yeah, I think I am. I think it’s been a fine line that you have to walk between pop sensibilities and authenticity of the older styles — so that’s the kind of sound that you want to create, you know.

How do you feel performing genres other than soul, R&B, and gospel?

I love all styles of music, so, you know, I’ll perform anything at any time.

How do you inject soul into other people’s music?

I think it has to have feeling, you know. You have to connect with your lyrics.

How much creative control did Clive Davis give you in recording your album?

I think, for every artist in that situation, not as much as you want, to begin with. But, you know, some of the songs that I was given for the album were great songs. So I had a lot of great music to pick from.

Did he give you the producer you wanted?

Yeah, we came to an agreement about the producer. I think Matt Serletic was a good choice for that first album.

They also just give you the songs?

I get to pick what songs. They give me 500, and I get to choose. I chose the best songs that fit my voice and my style.

Did you accomplish everything you dreamed of musically with this album?

I definitely think that there’s more music to be made. I’ve released two albums previous to American Idol: one is “Under the Radar,” and “In Your Time,” with my own band before AI, and you know, this is my third album I’ve created, basically. But this fourth one will probably sum up all the work I’ve done on the previous three albums.

Do you still play with your band?

Some of the members I do have in the band, some of the members I auditioned for. You know, you try to make the best music possible. That’s your goal as a musician.

When you won, did it spike the sales of your previous albums?

Yes. A lot.

Do you hope to win over with your performances anything you didn’t get across in the album?

You know, I want to try to take what I learned in the studio and what I learned from a live setting and combine them together to create the sound, whether it’s an album or whether it’s live. I think the more I can learn how to record and play, the better off I’ll be as a recording artist.

Do you plan to record a follow-up soon?

This year sometime. This coming year.

What’s next for you?

Well, the DVD’s coming out — it’s called Whomp at the Warfield, and that’s a theater in San Francisco — and a brand-new album and a brand-new tour. And hopefully, I’ll be back in the Philippines playing for you guys soon.

You had a lot of really enthusiastic fans at your Glorietta 4 Park concert last night.

Yeah, it’s really cool. Ayala Malls have been really nice to bring me over here and let me perform, and hopefully I can come back, not only to perform but to vacation, too.

Were you at all nervous about what sort of reception you’d get?

Um … a little bit, yeah. (Laughs) You know, I’m a long way from Alabama. So, you know, you definitely get a little nervous, but I think music is a universal language and I’m learning: it does cross barriers.

How was your experience judging Asian Idol?

I thought it was really cool. You know, there’s so many great singers that were on the show from each country. It’s amazing that all the countries in Asia can come together and perform on a show like that. It was a really neat thing to see.

What song on your album do you consider essential Taylor Hicks?

Soul Thing. That song has really come alive as far as the live concert goes.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

One-On-One Interview With Taylor Hicks

One-on-one with Taylor Hicks: A voluntary initiation to Soul Patrol!

by Kaye Villagomez

Clad in a casual long-sleeved shirt and jeans, a much–rested Taylor Hicks (who had to adjust from a frenzied press conference the day before this interview) welcomed the Manila Bulletin in this up–close meeting that eventually certifies the deserving American Idol in the guy.

In 15 or so minutes with Taylor, we would also later realize we’ve been Soul Patrolled.

Taylor is the first American Idol winner to visit Manila. Others were runners-up Constantine Maroulis of season four and Taylor’s fellow season fiver Elliot Yamin. All of them were brought in by Ayala concert touring group and they have performed in Ayala Malls and special shows. In Taylor’s case, there’s a friendly tie-up with Mossimo. He stayed for a good four days and we were able to get comfy with Taylor on his third day on Manila at the Ascott Hotel in Makati.

Other than the fact that he is much, much better-looking in person than on TV and print, the 31-year old Hicks is one of those (few?) artists who really kept it grounded. He would only talk about his pre-Idol struggles ("I have been performing since birth!) if he could also talk about respect for other artists ("I’ve had my difficulties but so did others and most of them went through more struggles than I did.")

Also, the laidback personality adds to that charmer air of warmth he effortlessly exudes. He must have said "Awesome!" some eight times each time we would talk about Manila and its people.

To those who might have been living under a rock, here are flash facts about Taylor: He won "American Idol" season five in 2006 off a finale between him and drop-dead gorgeous Katharine McPhee. Ryan Seacrest and Idol fans likened Taylor’s appearance to Jay Leno, Phil Donahue and George Clooney. His fans call themselves ‘Soul Patrol’ back in Idol and to this day (while McPhee was nicknamed ‘McFever’).

Born Taylor Ruben Hicks on Oct. 7, 1976, the Idol is an American soul singer and songwriter who grew up performing around Southeastern US area. Taylor auditioned for Idol in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 10, 2005. He originally wanted to try out in Memphis, Tennessee, but auditions in that city were canceled to accommodate relief efforts for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. His Southwest Airlines flight out of New Orleans had been canceled, and he had been offered a travel voucher to use at a later date. He used the ticket voucher to fly to Las Vegas. Taylor would later pass the audition—that almost slipped—with the nods of Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul; not Simon Cowell who thought Hicks would not make it to the final round. Retribution would later be at hand when on Taylor’s first performance for the voting public, Simon swallowed his words and recalled his earlier claim. Then the rest, as they say is history.

Post-idol, Taylor’s "Do I Make You Proud" (which was also the theme in the concluded Asian Idol), clinched Billboard No. 1 and the self-titled CD, his first mainstream project, earned gold when released. He has performed with various famous acts and will continue touring the world and in consequence, touring his dreams.

Here, Taylor talked about our own Philippine Idol Mau Marcelo (whom he performed with in Asian Idol in Indonesia), loving the Philippines, his passions and most of all, a heart too charged with soul.
How has your Manila stay been so far?

"Awesome! I knew it will be special but everything has been awesome here!"

Name three things you will never forget about your experience here.

"There are a lot! But if I were to name three, it’s how gracious people here are, the weather and again just how well I’ve been received here wherever I go"

Are you aware of how big an impact American Idol has made here? Do you know how big you are here in Manila?

"I did not know but I am becoming aware of that now. And one thing’s for sure, this may be my first time here but it’s definitely not the last."

You are the first American Idol winner to visit us...

"Am I? That’s great. I plan to come more often.

You were in Indonesia for the Asian Idol before you went here, were you able to meet our representative Mau Marcelo?

"I’m not sure… Wait, yes I remember Mau because I sang with her and performed my song ‘Do I Make You Proud’ along with the other finalists and she’s a real great singer. She’s very talented."

Were you able to see any other local singers while you’re here?

"Unfortunately nor but I was able to meet Sway Penala who was with my batch on Idol and he’s told me so many wonderful things about the Philippines and the people and the passion Filipinos have for music and I finally experienced it for myself."

Would you like to perform or collaborate with Filipino artists?

"Definitely, I would love for that to happen."

Do you still get nervous before a performance?

"Yeah, a little bit I guess."

You mentioned yesterday during your press conference that you would like to try movies...

"Yes, that’s true. I would love to crossover if there’s an opportunity but it does not mean that music will take a back seat. Music will always be my first love and if I had to choose, I will always choose music."

What role would you want to do first?

"I seriously would want to be an extra, just the guy who passed by, little dialogue maybe, just a start. I don’t mind doing that really."

Were you able to trace where Soul Patrol really came from?

"I think that’s a mystery I will never be able to solve. I just embrace it and glad that people who have joined the ‘patrol’ are still here with me."

What’s next after this Manila stop? Is there a new recording coming up?

"Yes, we are working on a new album and with this one, I got to prepare a lot more and devote more time into it making me more involved here than the first one."

So there will be more of the real Taylor in this CD?

"Definitely. Yeah, you can say that. I’m really excited about this next CD we’re coming up with."

All originals?

"Basically, but there will be a lot of collaborations also."

Which do you think is more difficult, breaking into prominence or keeping it big in the industry?

"You know what I feel that both are in the same level as far as difficulty is concerned. It’s one thing to be able to penetrate the business yet it’s another to stay thriving in it."

Since "American Idol" had its lowest ratings in season six (by Idol finale standards), how long do you think the show will go on?

"As long as there are people like me, the millions who dream and more millions who watch, I think the show will still be in for a long run. It will always be a pleasure for me to guest in the show. They have all my support."

How much of your goals have you reached so far?

"I’ve been very blessed. I am very fortunate to have been given all the opportunities that have been coming my way since Idol. I’m just thankful and I’m going to keep on going."

I believe it was John Lennon who said the "dream is always better than the reality," is it the same in your case?

"I’d have to say I’m living the dream. I’m always living the dream."

Friday, December 21, 2007

Taylor Hicks - It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

In keeping with the spirit of the season, here is Taylor singing "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" from Christmas in Washington, 2006 - and what a beautiful job he does!

Taylor Hicks in Guinness, Vacations on Private Island

Taylor Hicks made it into the 2008 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. In the section on "Reality Shows", it was noted that the 64 million votes made during Taylor Hicks/Katharine Mcphee finale was a *record number of phone calls* ever made to a television show! Like I said before, Season 5 was THE BEST year ever for American Idol!

... and more proof that the guy from Alabama is now an A-List Star, it seems Taylor's been taking good care of himself, vacationing on the private island of Cayo Espanto, the Island Resort in Belize. This four-acre oasis in Ambergris Cay, where Tiger Woods, Giselle Bundchen, Leonardo DiCaprio, Calista Flockhart, Harrison Ford, Robert De Niro and Taylor Hicks have all recently vacationed, hosts five luxurious villas. All-inclusive food & beverage, swimming, snorkeling and fishing off your own private dock plus a personal “houseman” on-duty 24/7!

Nice, Taylor! Very nice!

Taylor Hicks - The Maze in the Philippines - *A-mazing*!

Okay I'll admit it. "The Maze" is my favorite song from Taylor's most recent album. It has been since I first heard it. It just has a great soulful, throwback/pop sound with a great hook. What he does with this song in concert is spectacular - he tags everything from Let's Get It On by Marvin Gaye to Warm Love by Van Morrison. However, Taylor took it to another level in The Philippines. He weaved and tagged "Easy" by Lionel Richie (with a gorgeous new arrangement) into the song and made me fall to my knees. Check out this video from the Greenbelt Mall. It really IS a-mazing.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I love this article from the Philippine Star - We won't find the likes of Taylor on the pop charts anytime soon. Nope. Where you will find him is the hearts and souls of people who see the essence of this man. He is quite unique in this day and age - a time where the pop world is dominated by electronic and synthesized music machines. Instead, Taylor is out there doing his own thing - jamming, snapping, dancing and spreading good 'ol soul music around the world - one country at a time.

The article reads:

If we forget just how good the fifth season American Idol performers were, we need only remember three names: Elliott Yamin, Chris Daughtry and the salt-and-pepper-haired fellow who was a little more manic and a little more eager than the rest — the one who would whoop and lean a la Stevie Wonder; the one with a penchant for blowing on a harmonica every chance he got. We thought he looked a little like Jay Leno then, but my girlfriend Joyce digressed when she saw him live.

“Pogi kaya!” she said. Poor Jay. But I left it at that.

Pogi or otherwise, the ring leader of the “soul patrol” surely raked in the votes — enough to catapult him past Katharine McPhee and enough to have our unlikely hero crowned American Idol last May 24, 2006 — in front of some 34.4 million rabid TV viewers.

While we’re at it, consider that some 63.4 million people cast their vote for Taylor Hicks — the “gritty, down-home white R ’n B singer” as the AI champ. Yup, presidencies have been settled with far less votes and hoopla.

“Thank you, soul patrol!” he beams on the Hard Rock Café stage in Makati — always referring to the throngs of believers who were won over by the unassuming man with the funny manner yet and soulful — and considerable — vocal prowess.

And, make no mistake about it, Taylor is a true showman — and an original that clearly outshone McPhee who had gone for the hopelessly clichéd, sexy siren stereotype.

He saunters onto the stage, blowing on his harmonica like a judge banging on a gavel: “Hello everybody!” he says, and leans — yes that now famous lean. And just like that, we are taken by Taylor.

It’s his first time in Manila, he reveals, but reckons it won’t be the last. “I love it! I’m excited to be here. I wish I could stay here for a week. I have had a very nice time!”

Ayala Land’s Mall Group seems to have a monopoly on getting AI talents here, but who are we to complain? It wasn’t just too long ago that Yaminoys of all ages went nuts over Elliott’s tour of Ayala Malls.

For Taylor, especially, performing at the mall is certainly a fit. He professes: “I love shopping. I have to get gifts for my brother, my father, my mother, my grandmother, my cousins. Just about everybody. I guess that’s what happens when you win American Idol. You have to buy a bunch of gifts.”

Such candor is rare for usually guarded celebrities. But that’s exactly among the qualities that endeared Taylor to the world — a refreshing character that is purely about the music and rarely about being self-conscious with projections and affectations.

Which is not to say that Taylor takes success for granted. “It’s very exciting for me to be a musician and to be able to travel to places like the Philippines. I am able to share my love for music with other people. I believe that music is truly a universal language. I am very blessed to have the opportunity to come here and perform,” he shares. “Life after American Idol is like sitting on a rocket ship. It’s been great. I love what I do as a performer.”

Taylor got a taste of the vaunted Filipino hospitality upon departure from the plane: “Well, as soon as I arrived at the airport I was received very warmly by the Filipino people. I have heard from friends of mine that this is the place to come to share music,” he says.

Taylor is good friends with Elliott — who was probably a major influence in Hicks’ decision to fly to the Philippines. Someone asked in jest who would win if Taylor and Elliott would fight it out mano a mano. “Well, I would!” he gamely replies. “I would try to win!”

But seriously, Taylor takes his hat off to Elliott. He says he would have rooted for Elliott to win had he himself not joined that memorable season. Taylor also became close with Filipino contender Jose “Sway” Penala (based in San Francisco), his roommate. “He was one of the people who told me that I needed to come over here and play,” Taylor reveals.

Taylor has been polishing his chops since he was a kid of seven or eight, and is truly living a charmed life now. He is already at work on his follow-up album to his eponymously named debut effort.

“It will be coming out next year. I will also have a DVD out next year. I am pretty excited about doing another tour, maybe in the Asian continent early next year,” Taylor says. Expect lots of soul, blues and R ’n B, he avers, and also a little bit of pop. “I am trying to find the right vibe with different songwriters. I am trying to make the best album that I can.”

Of Mau (Marcelo) who participated in the Asian Idol: “She has a big, great voice. We were at rehearsal and I saw her sing. She is a great singer,” Taylor comments.

When not on, well, soul patrol, Taylor is just like the rest of us — watching sports on TV and swinging at the fairway. “I’m just a regular old guy,” he says with a smile. Well, make that a regular old guy who is rich and successful, right? And, of course, a little loopy. We like our Taylor with a little bit of weird. Like, for instance, do you know that he brings along a Ray Charles doll wherever he performs? “It makes me feel better. He was a major influence in my musical background,” he explains.

“The key is having faith, believing in yourself and navigating yourself through your art,” Taylor proffers.

At the press conference, Taylor seems bereft of any self-importance yet is brimming with obvious confidence. We note that he goes out of his way to sign autographs, sing spontaneously at most given moments, and play his harmonica while waiting for photos to be snapped. There is good reason to believe he remains the simple man from Alabama who loves music and the privilege of singing for others.

Wow, what an idol.

USE ME from the Greenbelt Philippines Concert

Taylor Hicks Gives Hints About New Album from Manila

From the GMA News-TV Website, we get a small glimpse into Taylor's next album! (I can't WAIT for that!)

American Idol Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks gives an early Christmas treat for Filipinos as he is scheduled to perform his signature soulful songs in select Ayala Malls. Taylor's fans, who call themselves the "Soul Patrol," can catch him during his December 19 and 20 performances at Greenbelt 3 Park and at the Trinoma Activity Center, Quezon City.

Popularly known for his soul and blues music, Taylor visits the country to perform the songs from his self-titled debut album including one of his favorites "Just to Feel That Way."

The singer from Alabama had actually written some songs before he joined the talent search American Idol. He said he was glad that some of his creations were included in his album. "I think if you have creative energy, you should use it. For me, being able to write music and perform it and enjoying the performance with people, it's an honor for me to do that," said Taylor during the press conference held earlier today, December 18, at the Hard Rock Café in Glorietta, Makati.

Taylor, who played his harmonica during some of his performances in American Idol, said that whenever he writes a song, "I connect with it immediately." This happened to him when he did the song "Just to Feel That Way."

Aside from that, Taylor also draws inspiration from his idols like Ray Charles. In fact, the 31-year-old Idol always brings a statue of Ray Charles wherever he performs. He said, "It works for me. He's a big influence in my musical background. You know, I take him [the statue] along with me."

Other songs included in his first album are "Heaven Knows," "Ain't That Peculiar," and "Gonna Move." It also has "Dream Myself Awake," which was written by Rob Thomas and "Places I've Been," penned by the hitmaker Diane Warren.

NEW YEAR'S TREAT. As a gift for his fans in the coming new year, Taylor promises them a new album and a DVD. [YEA!]

The 5th American Idol winner said his next album would be "organic" because he will be playing his instruments. He added, "I'm into a lot of types in the next album and, you know, I'm trying to find the right rhymes with different songwriters and producers. I'm just trying to, you know, make the best album that I can

"I'm looking forward to be able to expand my audience as a musician and as an artist and make a great album."

Taylor is also set to visit different countries in Asia. "I'm really excited about going on tour in the Asian countries early next year."

Meanwhile, Filipinos get a chance to enjoy his music as he performs in different Ayala malls starting with his appearance at the Glorietta 4 Park, Makati, earlier tonight. Tomorrow, he will be entertaining his audience at 7 p.m. at the Greenbelt 3 Park and on December 20 at 7 p.m. at the Trinoma Activity Center, Quezon City.

And how is he going to entertain the audience?

Taylor answered, "Well, I guess, you just go with the flow and have a good time with it. You know, have a good time with the Filipino people and just play the music." - Philippine Entertainment Portal

More Video From Taylor's Philippine Concert in Greenbelt:




Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Taylor Hicks In Manila!!!

According to first hand reports, the crowds went NUTS for Taylor!! Dancing, singing, waving banners - the whole nine yards! Congrats, Taylor on your huge success in the Far East - both on Asian Idol and your three concerts in Makati! Soul Patrol!

Birmingham News Reports:

“Birmingham native and former American Idol winner Taylor Hicks is stealing the show overseas!

Taylor Hicks Live in Manila: Runaround

Monday, December 17, 2007

Taylor Hicks Gets Superstar Treatment in Manila!

From the Manila Bulletin Online:

'American Idol' sensation Taylor Hicks in town to serenade Pinoys!!

Crispina Martinez-Belen

In town is 'American Idol' sensation Taylor Hicks who’s scheduled to do a series of concerts here as a holiday treat to his Pinoy fans.

His shows are presented by Ayala Malls, which has been noted to always try to bring the best in mall entertainment to the Philippines. The American Idol’s Philippine invasion is part of Ayala Malls’ continuous effort to bring to its patrons high-calibre entertainment with accessibility.

Hicks is set to serenade Filipino music lovers starting tonight at the Glorietta 4 Park, on Dec. 19, 8 p.m. at the Greenbelt 3 Park, and on Dec. 20, 7 p.m. at the TriNoma Activity Center. The series of musical events is co-presented by Mossimo and Ascott Makati, the official residence of Taylor Hicks.

The singing idol from Alabama (he was born in Birmingham and raised in Hover), with his salt-and-pepper hair and raspy and soulful voice, was said to be an unlikely Idol, but he exceeded expectations everywhere by winning the American Idol title of the show’s fifth season.

Hicks performed the hit songs "Takin’ It to the Streets," "Levon," "Living For the City," and "Dancing in the Dark" in his own unique style and charm and which won him legions of fans who proudly called themselves the Soul Patrol. But Hicks almost did not make it to American Idol during his first try at the overcrowded Memphis audition but he persevered and followed the try-outs to Las Vegas. Once he got to the show however, he proved to the judges, most notably to Simon Cowell, that although he doesn’t look or sound like the typical pop star doesn’t mean he can make it to the music scene.

Hicks grew up listening to classic soul artists such as Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, which he said he could relate to even as a child due to the divorce of his parents and other troubles; and singer/songwriters Van Morrison, Bob Segen and Billy Joel. Is chief influence, however, was Ray Charles, whom he admired so much that he carried a little statue of Charles with him whenever he performed. Though Hicks had no formal musical training, he picked up singing, guitar and harmonica playing on his own. He began performing for his family at an early age and won a talent contest at his high school (at which time his hair started turning gray). While studying business, communication, and marketing at Auburn University, Hicks formed the Passing Through Band, and left school early to try his luck in Nashville. As a touring performer, he opened for artists ranging from James Brown to Drive-By Truckers and also performed at the Playboy Mansion. Hicks released two albums with his band: "In Your Time," a live album, and "Under the Radar."

Hicks signed a record deal with Clive Davis and 19 Recordings Unlimited after winning the "American Idol" title and released the single "I Do Make You Proud" that summer. He also performed with the American Idol Tour and began work on his major-label debut album. His selftitled debut arrived in Dec. 2006. "Live at the Workplay Theatre," a concert album recorded in the summer of 2006 was released this year.

Taylor Hicks - Taking It To The Streets on Asian Idol

Here's Taylor's cover of Taking It To The Streets on Asian Idol! He totally blew this out of the water, folks! Yep, the Mean, Lean, Dancing Machine!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


AWESOME job Taylor!! I hope this doesn't cause a tidewave in Indonesia!

Taylor Hicks Interview on Asian TV

DO I MAKE YOU PROUD w/the 6 Asian Idols


Here's a commercial for the upcoming Manilla Shows!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Taylor Hicks - My Home's In Alabama

While Taylor is in Indonesia and The Philippines kicking ass over there, it reminds me of this song he sang early on in his Spring '07 concert. Surely, his heart still lies in Alabama.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Taylor Hicks - 2007 Billboard Year-End Charts

Mr. Hick's self-titled debut CD nabbed Billboard's #74 slot for The Top 200 Chart of the year and #73 on the Top 200 Comprehensive Chart! Congratulations Taylor!! If you haven't already picked up this great album, now is the time, or maybe, a great time to turn someone else onto Taylor's music! Click on the album in the sidebar to order.

Here's how other Idol albums did this year:

Carrie Underwood's sophomore album, Carnival Ride, finished at #56; Kelly Clarkson's My December took the #66 spot; Kellie Pickler's Small Town Girl was #95; Fantasia's self-titled second disc was #105; Elliott Yamin finished at #114; Katharine McPhee grabbed #159; and Bucky Covington took #187.

Taylor also nabbed #70 slot on Billboards 200 Artists Chart!!!

And yes, there's more:

Taylor's single Do I Make You Proud/Taking It To The Streets gets the #15 spot on the Hot Singles Sales Year-End Chart!

Lastly, Taylor's single, "Just To Feel That Way" comes in at the #47 song of the year on the Radio & Records (used for Billboard Placement and Radio Airplay) Adult Contemporary Charts for the year ending 2007! Hey! I'll take this, considering the shoddy treatment radio gave to Taylor this year. It's a wonderful song - one of the strongest songs on Taylor's CD and I'm glad to see it on the year-end-charts!

Can't wait to see more of this sort of stuff next year, when Taylor will, no doubt, kick some serious ass with his next album!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

American Idol Season 5 Best Season Ever

While we wait for the Taylor Hick's videos and pictures from the upcoming Asian Idol Finale and his shows in Manilla, let's look to see why he made Season 5 the most memorable to date. There's no doubt he was the main contributing factor to it's success.

Now take that Nigel Lythgoe, who rang in today with another slam on America and Taylor claiming they got it wrong that year. I don't THINK so, Mr. Lythgoe - you know in your heart that was Taylor the BEST entertainer and singer that show will likely ever see. It's too bad you're too cowardly to admit it. Don't be telling US what we like. Use your time to stop the free-fall your show is undertaking at the moment. Yes, give us more wind up dolls like Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis, the 2 worst winner/runner-up CDs debuters to date.

Taylor Hicks - Upcoming Appearances

When it rains, it pours, eh? Let's try to consolodate all the upcoming appearances into a nice neat package. Make sure to mark them on your calendar!

Sunday December 16
Taylor Hicks appears on Asian Idol in Jakarta, Indonesia

Tuesday December 18
Taylor Hicks performs at the Glorietta mall in Manila, Philippines.

Wednesday December 19
Taylor Hicks performs at the Greenbelt mall in Manila, Philippines

Thursday December 20
Taylor Hicks performs at the TriNoma mall in Manila, Philippines

Friday, December 28
Taylor Hicks performs at the pre-Liberty Bowl Black Tie Gala.

Saturday December 29
Taylor Hicks performs during halftime of the Liberty Bowl. 3:30 pm CT

Saturday January 26, 2008
Taylor Hicks performs for Palm Night, to benefit The Family Center in Charlotte, NC

Friday February 22, 2008
Taylor Hicks will receive the "American Music Award" from the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. He is also scheduled to perform.

Saturday March 29, 2008
Taylor Hicks to perform at the Greenhill School 2008 Gala in Addison, Texas

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Taylor Hicks And The Legends

At this point in time, the sweetest thing I like to see is Taylor's name mentioned in the same circle as the great musicians. I ran across this CD review by C.W. Rossand of a new album out by Kevin Max. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised when I read the Track 9 commentary. I mean, really, Taylor mentioned in the same breath as these legends?!? Naturally. I firmly believe he has the internal heart & soul, dedication, passion and talent as the greats and those who have good musical sensibilities know it too. You can hear Taylor's version of "People Get Ready" in the side bar.

Track-9 "People Get Ready" The 1965 single by The Impressions and written by Curtis Mayfield has to be one of the most covered songs around. It has been covered by everyone from Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart, U2, Aretha Franklin, and Phil Collins to John Denver, Taylor Hicks, and Alicia Keys to name just a few. This version features Erica Campbell from Mary Mary. I liked this cover that stayed pretty true to the original song. I also enjoyed the guitar solo's found on it.

Gorgeous Taylor Hicks - American Idol 6 Finale

Just cuz I'm in the mood for some gorgeous pictures, here's some from the AI6 finale. Taylor looked mighty fine that night! Click for larger versions. Pictures courtesy of tay_online.com. Check out the performance as well!

ETA: This was the last time he performed to such a large audience - that is, until next weekend, when over 300 million people will be watching Asian Idol and feasting their eyes on our soul-man! Kick it hard, Taylor!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chris Daughtry and his Backstreet Boys

Finally finally finally! - A newspaper writer has spoken the truth (and that's what we specialize in here), about Chris Daughtry and his group of Backstreet Boys - yes, those faux rockers - guy liner, key chains and bald heads in tact. This guy has a life span of about 2 years and then he'll fade into pop music oblivion where most of the faux rockers end up. I never could understand the attraction to Chris Daughtry. His arrogance and stage presence makes my stomach chirn. There's nothing original or interesting about him. His sales mean nothing and says nothing about his below average singing, songwriting and innovativeness. You see, I've seen the great rock bands of the past, and Daughtry is just an embarrassment in comparison. Remember, New Kids On The Block sold millions too. I really hate to insult the real Backstreet Boys like this (they actually had a couple of listenable songs), but they're just a minor footnote in pop culture history now - exactly where Daughtry will end up in short order.

Here the writeup from the Harford Couriant:

Chief among the various sins of "American Idol" is the way the televised competition has codified clichés.

Sure, it takes a modicum of talent to actually win, but plenty of finalists coast pretty far on what they, and the audience watching at home, imagine is the way a pop star should look and sound. For example: Chris Daughtry.

Bounced off the show as one of four remaining finalists in May 2006, he fit the image well enough to land a record deal, and his self-titled 2006 debut has sold more than 3 million copies. Last week, he was nominated for four Grammys.

Yet his performance Sunday night at Foxwoods Resort Casino was never more than a wan rehashing of conventions cribbed from the past 20 years of hard rock, with a particular (and unfortunate) emphasis on the late '90s and early '00s. His songs have all the dour angst of nu-metal, but without the bite.

In fact, the 75-minute concert felt at times like Daughtry was still trying to impress the "American Idol" judges as he strove to demonstrate his range, which is limited.

With a shaved head and scruffy cheeks, he looked the part. But Daughtry is an average vocalist — and not much of a songwriter, either, if you prize originality.

That was never more painfully clear than when he and his four-piece band launched into an abridged version of Guns N' Roses' "Paradise City," a juiced-up firecracker of a tune that made his own songs seem as thin and watery as gruel.

The GNR tune was easily the most advisable of his cover choices, which also included over-emoting on John Lennon's "Imagine" — a song that all but begs for understatement — and, in the middle of Daughtry's Richard-Marx-meets-late-'80s-Heart mash-up "What About Now," a verse from Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line."

Daughtry's originals were mostly maudlin minor-key rockers, with chugging guitar parts and bombastic choruses. He offered a new song, "Back to Me," which he performed alone with an acoustic guitar, and thrilled the crowd with sing-alongs such as "Used To" and the break-up song "Over You," which ended his main set. His lyrics seemed largely to consist of platitudes about lost love, loneliness and overcoming hardship in this mean old world.

That's powerful stuff, and easily relatable. Yet Daughtry was unable to transcend the clichés that have made him a star, and although he performed throughout as though he yearned to take flight, he never quite managed to leave the ground.

Taylor Hicks Performs At Gala for Abused & Neglected Children

Palm Night 2008
An Evening of Soul
with Taylor Hicks

Palm Night is The Family Center’s annual gala to raise funds to support our fight against child abuse and neglect. Since 2000, Palm Night has raised over $3.7 million for The Family Center and its programs.

Each February, Palm Restaurant Charlotte closes its doors to the general public to provide free lobster and steak dinners to guests for Palm Night. This year, Taylor Hicks will perform live. This black tie affair will also include live and silent auction items.

The Palm Restaurant has chosen The Family Center for the ninth consecutive year as the beneficiary for Palm Night 2008. We are delighted to be a part of this incredible partnership and hope that you will join us for an elegant black-tie evening. The night will include a fabulous five-course dinner, a silent and live auction and a performance by one of the most entertaining American Idol winners yet, Taylor Hicks – all encompassed in a sophisticated nightclub straight out of New York. Join us at the Palm Restaurant for “An Evening of Soul.”

Click here for our sponsorship form.

Please click here for our auction donation form.

For more information on Palm Night 2008, please contact Libby McLaughlin at (704) 376-7180 x213 or libbym@thefamilycenter.net.

The event is scheduled to take place Saturday, January 26.
6:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.

The Palm Restaurant
6705-B Phillips Place Court
Charlotte, NC 28210

Monday, December 10, 2007

Taylor Hicks Invited to Asian Idol/Performs in the Philippines

Perci Intalan, ABC 5’s head of Creative and Entertainment Production has indicated that special guests appearing on the Asian Idol finale (Dec. 16th) will include “American Idol” winner Taylor Hicks and “Australian Idol” champ Guy Sebastian. The event will take place for the first time in Jakarta, Indonesia on December 15th and 16, 2007. Taylor's #1 hit song, "Do I Make You Proud" has been used as promotion throughout the competition, so it comes as no surprise he has been asked to appear on the show.

Also, according to the Philippine Star Newspaper, Taylor is scheduled to perform 3 shows in Manila. The schedule is as follows:

December 18, 2007
7:00 p.m.

December 19, 2007
8:00 p.m.

December 20, 2007
7:00 p.m.

Taylor will be singing 9 songs at each venue:

White Christmas
Use Me Up
Taking It To The Streets
Just To Feel That Way
Heaven Knows
Right Place
The Maze

There will be meet and greet sessions after each show. An estimated 300 million people will be checking out the finale of Asian Idol, so this is a BIGGIE for Taylor! No doubt he will bring his "A" game and sing the bejezus out of whatever he chooses to sing over there. Hopefully, we'll have some first hand reports and video if we play our cards right! Also, check out one of the band members here.


Sunday, December 9, 2007

Happy Hannukah!

I know I'm late with this, but I want to wish all of Taylor's Jewish fans a Happy Hannukah, like me! I know he used to play many bar-mitzvah's, so .... here you go from one of my fave comedians - Adam Sandler! Enjoy!


Saturday, December 8, 2007

HD Net Rebroadcasts Taylor Hick's "Whomp At The Warfield" in December

So we just got back from cruising down the Mexican Riviera for the past week on the beautiful M/S Oosterdam. We hit Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Villarta. Had a great time but missed all the Taylor updates!

We have some good news if anyone missed Taylor's awesome concert from the beautiful Warfield Theater in San Francisco, CA last May! HDNet TV is rebroadcasting the show in December. From their webpage:

Sun., Dec. 23rd 3:00 PM ET Taylor Hicks - Whomp at the Warfield

The American Idol winner thrills and entertains with his blend of high energy rock, funk, and soul, live from The Warfield in San Francisco, CA.

We are still awaiting word on it's official release to retail! Rumor has it that we're looking at a time frame shortly after the new year, so hang tight everyone! I can guarantee the wait will be worth it!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Taylor Hicks Headlines Liberty Bowl's Pre-Show Gala & Halftime Show

Taylor Hicks will headline the Liberty Bowl's Pre-Game Gala on Friday, Dec. 28, 2007. He will perform a 90 minute set at the Peabody Hotel starting at 7:00 pm in downtown Memphis, TN. On Saturday, Dec. 29 he will also headline the halftime show - no doubt dazzling the stadium with a high energy performance.

The gala is black tie and tickets are $175 per person.

Tickets for the game are $65 per person.

If you can't make it, be sure to catch the game on ESPN starting at 3:30pm!

The Bowl's spectacular halftime show honors St. Jude patients each year, sending the St. Jude message to a nation television audience on ESPN.