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'Soul Patrol' in Hagerstown

'American Idol' winner Taylor Hicks to take theater stage July 6

'American Idol' winner Taylor Hicks to take theater stage July 6

July 01, 2007|By JULIE E. GREENE

"American Idol" isn't the only cultural phenomenon Taylor Hicks has been a part of.

His self-titled album, his first since winning "American Idol" in 2006, was released last December, reached as high as No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart and went platinum (more than 1 million copies sold) in January.

Hicks' first single - "Do I Make You Proud?" - hit No. 1 on Billboard's Pop 100 Hot 100 charts. The song has raised more than $100,000 so far for the American Red Cross to help people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies, according to an e-mail from Julie Thurmond Whitmer, director of celebrity and entertainment outreach for the Red Cross. For every CD, digital download, ringtone and ring-back tones of the song, a portion of the proceeds goes to the Red Cross.

Hicks describes his stage show as "high-impact soul aerobics," James Brown meets Richard Simmons.

Hicks' popularity, along with his raspy voice, premature gray hair and "Soul Patrol" sign-out, likely led Weird Al Yankovic and "Saturday Night Live" writers to parody the blues and soul singer.

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JibJab posted a music video of "Do I Creep You Out?" - a parody of Hicks' "Do I Make You Proud?" - that shows the singer's cartoon likeness singing the ballad and stalking a woman. The video can be seen at www.jibjab.com.

So what does Hicks think of these parodies?

To find out that and more read on ...

Julie Greene: Welcome, everyone, to this podcast for Antpod.com and HMLoop.com. This is Julie Greene with The Herald-Mail newspapers. We're talking with "American Idol" season five winner Taylor Hicks, who is currently on tour and will be performing at The Maryland Theatre in downtown Hagerstown on Friday, July 6. Taylor, welcome and thanks for joining us today.

Taylor Hicks: Thanks for having me.

Greene: Other than the popularity, what is the main difference between being on tour pre-"American Idol" versus post-"American Idol"?

Hicks: The budget's different.

Greene: And how does that affect ... ?

Hicks: It's allowing me the label. ... It's a different type of level that you can be able to have more utensils to get your art across.

Greene: People who watched American Idol know you were a working musician before the show. How did your interest in music begin?

Hicks: I was about, I don't know, 7 or 8, and started listening to Otis Redding and Ray Charles, and a lot of AM stuff. ... The '70s were great for AM singer-songwriters. I followed the path and luckily, you know, picked up an instrument, a guitar ... and started working my way through learning my craft - and still learning my craft.

Greene: Have you had a chance to write some new songs?

Hicks: You know, I've started on some ideas, and you know, going right back out for the summer tour, it's been ... tough, you know, to get in the writing process. I'm taking some time off in the fall and gonna really try to get some good songs going.

Greene: I wanted to ask, what's on your iPod right now?

Hicks: Leo Sayer, from the '80s. Some Ronnie Milsap, some Derek Trucks ... just, you know, all kinds of different people.

Greene: Going back to "American Idol," how does it feel to be a part of a cultural phenomenon like "American Idol"?

Hicks: It's very interesting. I'm very blessed that I was able to get through and, you know, expose my singing ability and have it be received in the way that it has. ... It's been great. I've enjoyed it. I've enjoyed it. I've enjoyed the ride, and I'm out here trying to make the best of the music."

Greene: Do you watch the show?

Hicks: I do watch it. I watched a little bit last season. I was very happy to see Jordin (Sparks) and Blake (Lewis) be in the finals, and I was happy for Jordin, who won it.

Greene: What did you think about Sanjaya (Malakar) making it to the finals for season six, despite his not being well-received by the judges?

Hicks: I think. definitely. Sanjaya was a visual performer.

Greene: Did you vote for anyone from season six?

Hicks: We did a few - we did some voting here and there. We voted for Blake one night and Jordin the next. We just, we kind of just, we had fun with it, just like everybody else has fun with it.

Greene: Would you say there's a camaraderie or a competition between the "Idol" winners?

Hicks: I think there's a camaraderie, and a little bit of a competition, but it just depends on if you're in the same genre.

Greene: Do you keep in touch with anybody?

Hicks: Yeah, I keep in touch with Elliott (Yamin) and Bucky (Covington) and Ace (Young) and Chris (Daughtry) every now and then. You know, you spend a year like that with somebody like that, and you really get to know them.

Greene: Did you actually keep track of how other "Idol" winners or other Idol performers are doing with their tours or their CDs?

Hicks: You know, it was brought to my attention, but ... I'm into their person and their being friends, and not so much into their careers. They were really good friends on the show, and I'm glad to see all of them doing well.

Greene: Your book, "Heart Full of Soul," is coming out July 10.

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