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!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Taylor Hicks Has Control Over His Own Career - Birmingham Magazine

Thanks to everyone who gave me ordering info for the July '09 issue of Birmingham Magazine! I ordered one from Barnes and Noble in Birmingham (205) 298-0665. Anyone who still wants a copy, can order through them.

Meanwhile on their website, the article is posted. Enjoy!

A sense of destiny, and his drive to control it, has made taylor Hicks more than a former American Idol. It has made him an entertainer and businessman with an eye on the future.

By Joe O’Donnell

Taylor Hicks has to be tired. Who wouldn’t be? Here’s the itinerary: Red-eye from Los Angeles; golf at the Regions Charity Classic; interviews. And it is still early in the afternoon. There is practically a whole day yet to come.

Hicks doesn’t seem to mind though. In fact, when he talks about the music business that has been his life since he was a kid, Hicks seems about as energized as a teen.

“I can remember at 17 saying I was going to be a successful entertainer. I had this sense of destiny about it, like it was going to come true. There was this great moment when I realized destiny had to be at work because I just felt it so strongly. Ray Charles brought his band to City Stages and I sat in the bushes and cried the whole show. I knew this is what I wanted,” Hicks says.

“It is a demanding business, 24/7. I’m not tired of it, though, because I know this is what I am supposed to be doing.”

The risk inherent in believing in a destiny has been a companion to Hicks since the very beginning of his forays into the entertainment world. Out there on a stage, reaching out to an audience that may applaud or may look back at you stone-faced or just keep on talking to the rest of the people at their table, that was Hicks’ early life on the road. Then, of course, there was always the risk you might not get paid.

“The risk I took at an early age helped me to get used to the risk at this stage in my career. The biggest risk of all was taking that initial step to do what you imagine yourself doing,” he says.

In the three years since Hicks became the fifth-season winner of American Idol, Taylor Hicks has seen his debut album certified platinum, performed with the likes of Earth, Wind & Fire, The Allman Brothers and Willie Nelson, toured through Asia, penned a briskselling Random House memoir and made his Broadway debut in Grease.

Currently Hicks is promoting his new album The Distance, which came out in March. The platinum- selling singersongwriter has complete control of direction and ownership of his masters on his solely owned and operated, Modern Whomp Records label via Artist To Market.

Produced by Simon Climie (Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Faith Hill), and tapping the talents of guitarist Doyle Bramhall II, bassist Nathan East and drummer Abe Laboriel Jr., The Distance features 11 tracks, including the first single “What’s Right Is Right.” “‘What’s Right Is Right’ is the soulful love song of the album,” says Hicks. “I think its wonderful message about love that people can relate to. The saxophone subtones as they are called, is where you can actually hear the breath from the instrumentalist before he actually plays the next note. Capturing the sound is almost like a music lesson within a soulful love song. Subtones are a lost art in music today. These musical nuances do not limit themselves only to ‘What’s Right Is Right,’ but are heard throughout the whole album.”

While the entire economy has been in flux for the past year or more, no industry has seen as much change as the music business. When he won American Idol, Taylor Hicks found himself at the heart of a changing business, a new shiny cog in a publicity machine and American phenomenon. But there are very few rules left and very little protection or care for an artist searching for an audience.

So instead of being tethered to the American Idol machine, Hicks changed the direction and went his own way—and with a little help from his Birmingham friends—took control of his career his destiny.

Mike Douglas is an attorney at the Birmingham law firm of Friedman Leak. “Taylor and I met in college at Auburn. He was recommended to me through a couple of friends to sing in the band I was in. He came to the house one day when he was a freshman.

We were juniors at the time. He sang ‘The Thrill Is Gone’ and it was an amazing vocal performance. I recognized immediately he had immense musical talent,” Douglas says.

They played together in a band, Passing Through, touring the college circuit throughout the South. Douglas graduated and went on to law school.

“Taylor and I were still very close. He was still playing the local circuit. It was difficult and tough to watch sometimes. He is very talented, but he did not have much negotiation power. He moved to Nashville and recorded an album. We were keeping up with each other, and I was helping with some legal work then on a pro bono basis,” Douglas says.

“He called me from Las Vegas to tell me about American Idol. I went out to one of the taping of the shows. It is amazing how big and how much of a machine that all is.”

Once Hicks won American Idol, he fulfilled all of the obligations he had under the original agreement and then he went out in search of a new destiny. “We met with [record industry legend] Clive Davis to discuss future deals and we made a mutual decision to part ways with American Idol,” Douglas says.

“At that point we had our own touring company set up for Taylor. We set up two national tours for Taylor as a solo artist,” Douglas says.

“It was a good-size national theatre tour so that he could keep developing as a national touring artist, but under Taylor’s control as a business entity.

Both tours were profitable. In 2007 he had the 27th highest grossing tour.

That gave us the financial lift to start our own company.” Modern Whomp Records was born, along with a touring and merchandising company, all controlled by Taylor Hicks.

Taking advantage of new tools in the entertainment industry and new developments in the way artists reach audiences, Taylor Hicks took control. “Taylor is instrumental in all of this. He is very attentive to detail.

He wants to be totally in control of the artistic side—having more control over what comes out,” Douglas explains. “Gaining total control was important, and this way made the most sense.”

The music has always been paramount to Hicks. The latest album is being supported nationwide by Hicks’ role in the national touring company of Grease. In city after city, he plays the role of Teen Angel singing “Beauty School Dropout” on stage. Then he will play club dates late in the evening, playing the music he loves to a totally different audience.

Add in the regular media interviews and you have a potent marketing mix to build an audience. The goal is to sell his album steadily for the next 18 months, releasing two or three singles, while performing on the stage. “He stays very, very busy,” Douglas says.

“My management has really kept up with the cutting edge of how an artist gains an audience. That’s not easy because it is an ever changing mode of business in the recording industry. My antenna is always up for wisdom after all these years on the road,” Hicks says.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Taylor Hicks on the cover of Birmingham Magazine! HOT!

Sizzling hot! I'd love to get a copy of the issue. If anyone can help out, please let me know!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Taylor Hicks - One of People Magazine's Hottest Selling Bachelor Issues in 2006

Not really "news" now, but if you remember Taylor's cover of People Magazine for the hottest bachelor in 2006, we now find out it sold the same 1.6 million copies as hottie Matthew McConaughey, according to wwd.com. Nice, but I bet his new physique could pull in 2 million now ;)

"....Naming Crawford to the title of People’s Hottest Bachelor, on the other hand, hasn’t been quite the same winner. Sources estimate the double issue so far registered sales of 1.1 million copies. Editors at competing celebrity magazines questioned whether the 23-year-old television star was recognizable enough for People’s audience, or if they should have gone with a bigger name. Past “Bachelors” include Matthew McConaughey in 2007 and “American Idol” winner Taylor Hicks in 2006. Both issues sold 1.6 million copies each. (Last year, People bumped its Hottest Bachelor cover for coverage of Tim Russert’s death). Some looked to 34-year-old Bradley Cooper, star of the hit comedy “The Hangover,” as a better choice. “Here’s a guy who’s in the biggest comedy of the summer, he’s 34, single and is dating Jennifer Aniston,” said one celebrity weekly insider, citing a report on People’s own Web site. “That’s someone you want to know more about.” Cooper was named as one of People’s Hottest Bachelors and is included in the issue...."

Taylor Hicks Acoustic Videos From 'The Magic Bag'

Don't Let Me Down from edjorg on Vimeo.

What's Right is Right _ Magic Bag from dg90001 on Vimeo.

Taylor Hicks - I Live On A Battlefield - Magic Bag 6-22-09 from ForeverTaylor on Vimeo.

Taylor Hicks - The Runaround - Magic Bag 6-22-09 from ForeverTaylor on Vimeo.

Indiscriminate Act of Kindness from edjorg on Vimeo.

Wedding Day Blues from edjorg on Vimeo.

Taylor Hicks Shows Off Soulful Pipes at Detroit's Magic Bag

Taylor Hicks took to the stage at the Magic Bag in Detroit, MI yesterday and performed a very rare acoustic set before a full house of enthusiastic fans. Most of the set consisted of songs from his recently released album, The Distance, along with cuts from his self named post-Idol album. He was as handsome as ever, conversing lightly with the audience and seemed relaxed, happy and in his natural element playin' his music and singing his songs. He was accompanied by long time friends/musicians John Kulinich http://www.myspace.com/johnkulinich on guitar, Brian Less http://www.myspace.com/brianless on piano/keys, and Jason Parker on bass http://www.waynemillsband.com/jason_parker.html. Taylor of course blew some skillful harmonica along with guitar.

Complete Set List:

The Distance
I Live On A Battlefield
The Runaround
What's Right Is Right
Don't Let Me Down
The Deal
Wedding Day Blues
Once Upon A Lover
Gonna Move
Indiscriminate Act of Kindness
Maybe You Should
My Sweet Lord
Seven Mile Breakdown
Feeling Alright

From all accounts, this was one of his finest gigs in a long time, introducing and singing for the first time three new songs , "Maybe You Should", co-written by Taylor and Mike Reid, who penned Bonnie Raitt's hit single "I Can’t Make You Love Me", "Indescriminate Act of Kindness", a gorgeous ditty penned by Foy Vance, and a great novelty cut, "Wedding Day Blues", written by Allen Little and Taylor Hicks. Quite evident is the emotional heart and soul he gives to each and every song he sings. He is one of the rare performers that actually delivers convincingly on stage and continues to be both a dynamic musical force as well as one of the biggest underrated talents of the last decade.

Currently he is starring in the touring company of "Grease" and if the show happens to roll into your neighborhood and he is playing a side gig like this in your local club, do yourself a favor and buy a ticket because talent like this deserves to be heard. Well done, Taylor.

Picture courtesy of "EJ" at the Boogie.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Couple of New Promotional Pics of American Idol Taylor Hicks!

Found these 2 beautiful shots of Taylor on the BIG SUEDE website. I'm not sure exactly what they are being used for, but I just like lookin at them! I know you'll agree! Ya baby! Hubba Hubba! Enjoy!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Taylor Hicks - From Idol to Grease!

From The Windsor Star:

Taylor Hicks, American Idol, is now Taylor Hicks, Teen Angel, in a touring production of the musical, Grease. Grease opens Tuesday at Detroit's Fisher Theatre, and runs through June 28.

The 33-year-old Hicks was the fifth season winner of American Idol in May 2006. But for years before that, he had set goals for himself and his career. Hicks has a new gig singing Teen Angel in the touring production of the musical Grease.

"I've been singing professionally, or in public at least, since I was 17," he said in a recent telephone conversation. "When I appeared in American Idol, I'd spent 13 years before that dreaming about making it."

The 63 million votes he got merely confirmed what he already knew -- he had the talent to make it.

"I had a vision very early on in my life. Tunnel vision, actually. I knew what direction I wanted my career to take and I concentrated all my efforts in that direction. Tunnel vision helps."
Appearing in a musical is one step in the process.

"I think of it as reinvention," he said. "It's an important thing for me to do right now. The acting, the musical. It shows people a different side of me, and that will hopefully sustain me through a long and successful career."

Along with Grease, Hicks has also just released a new country-rock album, The Distance, recorded in Nashville with Eric Clapton's and Faith Hill's producer, Simon Climie. The first single is Seven Mile Breakdown.

While he's in Detroit with Grease, Hicks will perform an acoustic set of songs from the new album, June 22, at the Magic Bag in Ferndale. Tickets cost US$35.

Asked if the role in Grease, in which he plays Teen Angel, a guardian angel in the guise of a singing sensation, came about because of the American Idol fame, he laughed with derision.

"Well, no, actually. I was on television just for the heck of it and since I'm not doing anything else, they let me into this Broadway show."

Hicks follows a long list of celebrity singers in the role, from Frankie Avalon and Chubby Checker to Jennifer Holiday, Al Jarreau and Darlene Love.

The truth is, American Idol turned Taylor Hicks into a household name. But like the Scottish songstress, Susan Boyle, who burst on the scene in a similar way in England, Hicks believed in himself enough to pursue the dream.

"I've been following the Susan Boyle story like everybody else," Hicks said.

"The one little bit of advice I can offer her," he continued in his Alabama drawl, "is stay true to yourself. When fame happens, there are lots of people who will come forward and tell you this is what you should sing, this is how you should dress.

"Fame brings out a lot of self-styled experts who want to shape and twist you according to their own ideas. But really, it comes down to the talent, and letting that talent shine through.

"In her case, it's her voice. It's the reason everybody is sitting up and taking notice. Concentrate on improving that and you'll be fine."

Hicks had never performed on the musical stage before Grease. But the muscles he is using are pretty much the same.

"There are a lot of similarities between singing on a stage and performing in a musical," Hicks said.