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, 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.

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