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!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Great Taylor Hicks!

From the Houston Chronicle, a wonderful interview and review of his Wherehouse Live show! This guy really "gets" him as the dynamic singer and performer he is! Enjoy!

I interviewed Taylor Hicks at the Hobby Center on Wednesday, the 9th of September, where he opened the night before in the National Tour of Grease, hosted by Theatre Under the Stars, which runs through Sunday, September 20th.

Hicks is accessible, down-to-earth, personable, and loves what he is doing.

I never had any musical theatre training. Every show that I do is a first-hand learning experience.

How long have you been touring the show?

Touring since December and I was on Broadway in the show the summer of 2008. I've really been able to expand that role. Some of the same thought processes that I have had creating music with somebody are very similar to the processes that I have had acting with somebody. It's so brand new and very exciting for me.

Isn't is tough going onstage for the one and only time during the middle of the second act?

It is, but my role as Teen Angel is so big and grandiose that it's tailor-made for me.

I like how you didn't copy Frankie Avalon's performance from the film and you made it very funny and campy.

The role is supposed to be over-the-top. Tongue and cheek. Snarky. His time is running short, hanging out in rock-n-roll heaven and he has graced Frenchy with his presence.They gave me as much leeway as I wanted, creatively. I was even able to create the design of my suit. As long as I get Frenchy to put down her hair-teasing comb and go back to high school, then I am successful!

Frenchy says during the first break in your song, "I voted for you!," and it gets a huge laugh from the audience.

There are millions and millions of people that want to tell me that personally and I think they live vicariously through that moment.

Has that line always been there?

Oh, no! We didn't do it that way on Broadway but it's been that way recently on the tour. I broke character and really laughed the first time she did it.

And then some gal was screaming at you from the audience later in the song and Frenchy says "Taylor, she loves you!"

You can get away with that in this show.

We talk about his leaving on Friday (September 11th) to do a concert at the Beau Rivage Casino in Biloxi, MS, which has been booked since before the tour and also about his upcoming acoustic performance on Monday, September 14th, at Warehouse Live in Houston.

I was disappointed that more kids in the audience of Grease were not screaming and dancing.

I think there is a theatre etiquette of some sort, although, during my Broadway run, the audience was much rowdier.

By the way, when you come out at the end of the show after the curtain call and do a single from your new CD, The Distance, it is awesome.

I released my record within the context of the tour and it has given me a wonderful opportunity to reach my fans when I sign CDs in the lobby after the show.

Do you want to do more Broadway?

I think with the right role. I was offered roles before Grease but I wanted to make sure that the role was right for me. I have to really have the passion for it.

What do like the most about the tour?

I love the travel. I've been on the road for four years now solid. I am so lucky and so blessed to be able to travel the country and see and meet so many people. Doing this tour has made me realize how much this country has to offer.

How much longer is the tour?

I am committed to the Grease tour until June of 2010. I love it. I am a bit of a workaholic. I think you have to be in this business.

I'm looking forward to seeing you in concert on Monday.

I've been so full-band and hugely produced, it is great to do an acoustic stripped-down concert. I come from a very real place in music. I grew up in road houses. That's where I cut my teeth in a very real and raw way.

Warehouse Live's Studio space provided the perfect venue for the awesome music of Taylor Hicks. Have you ever wanted Taylor Hicks to perform in your living room? That's what last night's concert was like. If you missed last night, you missed one of the best concerts of the year. Hicks has been doing his music for years and years, road house after road house. By the time he got to American Idol three years ago, Hicks was already well-known in the South and had two CDs behind him. Hicks figured out a long time ago that there is no such thing as overnight success. He has built his house one song at a time, one fan at a time, one road house at a time. He's very happy to be back to playing to the smaller and more intimate crowds of his early days.

And all of us at Warehouse Live last night were the beneficiaries of his brilliant musicianship, which burns into a blinding light of soul and substance because he has surrounded himself with other brilliant musicians.

John Kulinich is on rhythm and lead guitar and cooks better than Julia Child with rifts that make you scream.

Jason Parker fingers a funky booming bass that goes right through your soul all the way to Minute Maid Park.

Brian Less jams on the meanest Yamaha electric keyboard you've ever heard.
Brian has been with Taylor for eight years and also sings backup harmony.
He's basically the music director of the four and arranges Taylor's kick-ass playlist.

Going way back to some of his first two CDs, Hicks and his band mix it all up, throwing in Billy Preston's "Will It Go Round In Circles," Van Morrison's "St. Dominic's Preview," The Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down," Bill Withers' "Use Me Up" and covers of his own great tunes that bring the house down and leave us begging for more.

Hicks' soulful voice and rockin' rhythm Taylor guitar say it like a huge bearhug that keeps on hugging until he takes us to the next level with that badass trademark Hicks harmonica.

Hicks is back to doing what he loves. And it shows and we feel it. It's not about Taylor Hicks at all. It's all about the music.

He'll be in Grease at the Hobby Center through Sunday, September 20th, and you can meet him and greet him and take pics with him and get him to sign his new CD, The Distance, after the show. Don't miss the music and the man that makes the music, The Great Taylor Hicks.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this special interview of Taylor Hicks by someone who really understands the depth of his special skills.
Taylor brings us something unique each time he performs and masterfully creates as he brings us into his world. I hope more and more people enter this special place as he continues to grow as a master entertainer. Can hardly wait to see what is next for this great man. Kudos Taylor!

toneal115 said...

That's a total oxymoron! Great and Taylor Hicks in the same sentence!