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!
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."
"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."