Taylor Hicks on College, Cussing, and Chocolate Yoo-hoo
by Caryl Zimmerman
While browsing in a cute little Asian store last week, the checkout girl pointed to some bracelets and said, “Real jade. Brings good fortune.” I don’t believe in that stuff but there was something in her eyes and mystery in the air. I can’t explain it, but I had to have a bracelet. I wore it home.
When I got to the apartment there was a message from Taylor Hicks’ publicist, telling me she wanted to get with me to schedule an interview. Don’t get me wrong- I asked for an interview for the fans the last time I saw Taylor but thought it was a long shot. I mean, who am I?
But see, that’s Taylor Hicks for you. There’s no way this interview would have happened if he didn’t want to do it. I’m thinking he wanted to give a little bit back to the fans as thanks for all the hard work done in an effort to promote him. Maybe the fact that we have an easy rapport played a hand, but I doubt it. I don’t believe any one fan is more important to Taylor than another. He agrees to this kind of interview for ALL of us. He knows a fan will ask the kinds of questions other established fans would ask.
Or maybe the interview came about thanks to the jade bracelet. *cue the Twilight Zone music*
You don’t care. You just want to hear what Taylor had to say. OK, then, let’s get on with it-
Taylor: Hi, Caryl!
Caryl: Hi, Taylor! Good to hear from you. We’re doing this interview for the fans, but I also write for Yoohoo, so we’ll repost it there.
Taylor: I didn’t know they had a column.
Taylor: You said Yoo-hoo.
Caryl: Oh! *laugh* I meant Yahoo.
Taylor: You know what Yoohoo is, right?
Caryl: Well, it’s a drink
Taylor: It’s a chocolate drink. I didn’t know they had a column. Listen, you can drink Yoohoo, you can get on Yahoo.
Caryl: Got it. So I write for Yoohoo. Dammit! Why do I keep saying that? *laugh*
Taylor: Cuz it’s catchy and fun to say.
Caryl: Yahoo, dammit! Let’s move on…I saw your tweet about a benefit concert. Can you tell us anything about that?
Taylor: No. *laugh*
Caryl: I figured. *laugh*
Taylor: I just got some information today on it. It’s not announced cuz they’re still figuring out all the names and stuff. I’m excited about it. I hope it comes together.
Caryl: Your family’s OK as far as the tornadoes..?
Taylor: Everyone’s either been affected directly or indirectly by it. In Alabama you either know somebody or hear about somebody. Whether it’s a family member or a friend of a friend…it’s just really sad.
Caryl: Yes, I agree. You must be exhausted. You’ve had such a busy schedule lately. A lot going on.
Taylor: A lot of good stuff. It‘s great to get out on the bus and tour and it’s also nice to do a golf tournament for your hometown. It’s also nice to go to New Orleans and play with a bunch of great musicians. It’s all fun. I really am very blessed.
Caryl: Yes, that’s for sure. And now you’re back on the road. I know you’ve said in the past that it’s impossible to write music on the bus. Are you trying anyway?
Taylor: With the schedule that I’ve had in the past six or seven days it’s been impossible to find a really good groove…it’s hard, but you know, the writing process will happen. It’s already started to happen and it’s going to keep happening.
Caryl: What’s your writing process like? Do you write lyrics and then hand it off to somebody or do you all just sit in a room together and work together…?
Taylor: It depends upon the person…I’ve done all kinds of co-writing, from people sending me parts of a songs… to sitting in a room with people…to just writing…I’m very active in it.
Caryl: Do you think you’ll be trying out any new songs during this tour?
Taylor: Probably. I think there might be a possibility of that.
Caryl: That would be great! I find it interesting that you’re singing “Just to Feel That Way” again. I remember you saying that Clive Davis had to pretty much talk you into recording it. So what’s going on? Did you have a change of heart about it?
Taylor: I don’t think it was…he didn’t have to make me do it, he had to make me redo it. I think the song is great.
Caryl: Oh, ok. I always thought you didn’t like it.
Taylor: I wouldn’t play it if I didn’t like it.
Caryl: Well, I’ve always liked that song. Is “Maybe You Should” still on hold for somebody?
Taylor: It is. It gets passed around a lot in Nashville. Once you know you have a song that’s good, it just needs to find a home.
Caryl: Speaking of good songs, “The Fall” may be my favorite song of yours. Is there a story behind it?
Taylor: You know…I think…being vulnerable emotionally is good for your writing. *silence*
Caryl: You know so much about music, I’ve often wondered why you didn’t study music in college. Did you ever think about doing that?
Taylor: I loved it so much, I had to play it, the last thing I wanted to do was study it. I’d like to now. I think that’s a great question. My studying was..you know..performing.
Caryl: Speaking of those college days, I can’t imagine your Dad NOT encouraging you to pursue music. What if you had a child who wanted to be an entertainer, what would you tell them?
Taylor: Get a degree. *laugh*
Caryl: Really? *laugh*
Taylor: I mean, that’s a tough one. You need to have a backup plan. If I had a kid who wanted to be a musician, it’d be kinda hard to argue with them. It’d be like, ‘Right, Dad, like YOU really had a backup plan.’
Taylor: It depends on the talent. I guess we’ll cross those many bridges when we get there.
Caryl: It almost sounds like you regret not getting a degree. Do you feel that way?
Taylor: No! No, I don’t. I think I really knew deep down inside that I needed to learn how to perform live music. But now, my attention span is getting better. My attention span due to ADHD was pretty short. The older you get, the more you can corral it. Ya know, so with that being said, now would be a good time…*YAWN*
Caryl: You’re exhausted, I can tell.
Taylor: It’s been a long six or seven days, that’s for sure. But it’s all good. Tomorrow I’m gonna relax. Never fear. I’ll find energy somewhere.
Caryl: Just one more heavy question and then I have a few questions from your fans. Is fame what you thought it would be?
Taylor: Yeah, kinda.
Caryl: Maybe you didn’t set out to be famous, maybe you just wanted to perform music. I don’t know.
Taylor: I think there was a determination to be successful.
Caryl: From the outside looking in, fame seems to be sort of a pain in the ass.
Taylor: It beats the alternative.
Caryl: Well, that’s true.
Taylor: I mean, I couldn’t do a lot of things that I get to do.
Caryl: True. I’ll ask you the fan questions.
Caryl: If you could have any super power what would it be?
Taylor: The power to fly.
Caryl: Oh, to get around. OK, that makes sense.
Caryl: You said recently that you never keep your New Years’ resolutions. What kind of resolutions do you make?
Taylor: Obviously, not any good ones. Um…to stop swearing. Real practical stuff that I can never keep. It’s almost like you just feel like you’re supposed to. It’s like…oh, OK, here’s a New Year’s Resolution- I WON’T CUSS and seven days later…SHIT.
I guess we were running long, because Taylor’s publicist jumped in here to say we needed to wrap it up. I was told before Taylor ever got on the phone that I had twenty minutes. I thought that would be enough time to cover all of my questions, but I had gone off script a couple of times and then there was the whole Yoohoo discussion at the beginning that I didn’t anticipate. (Yahoo!)
I thanked Taylor for his time and wished him luck with the upcoming shows. If you don’t have tickets yet, make sure you check http://www.taylorhicks.com/ for his tour schedule!
Now on to other matters. Gotta run out and buy some lottery tickets before I misplace this bracelet.