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Taylor Hicks: Five years later, still a maverick

Photo by Louise Uznanski 
He broke the rules.  He brandished a harmonica when contestants weren’t allowed instruments.  He refused to dye his hair or change his performance style.  He sang funky; he danced funky.  If the camera moved left, he moved right.  He attempted (but failed) to organize the American Idol finalists as a bargaining unit.  He declined his American Idol coronation song, and was given another. 
He brought millions to their living rooms, glued to the television every Tuesday and Wednesday evening for months.  He brought passion to his performances.  He was politely but defiantly different, and on May 24, 2006 Taylor Hicks was named the 5th season winner of American Idol after a nationwide poll that tallied more than 63 million votes.
Five years later the Idol winner continues to plot an independent course, defying expectations and building his own brand based on a model of diversification and consistent touring.
Touring began early after the Idol win as the top 10 contestants took to the bus.  The finalists performed 59 dates across the country during the summer of 2006, filling seats and grossing $35.2 million dollars on the most successful American Idol Live tour to date.
Photo by DeeDee56 
Those 59 concert dates weren’t enough for the season five winner.  In select cities, Hicks went from the arenas to small clubs where he performed late into the evening with his own band for fans of his original music and soulful style.  Idol rules would not allow the “shadow tour” to use his name to sell tickets, but the possibility of a special guest appearance still drew 900 fans on a late night in Wilkes Barre, PA on the final stop of the American Idol Live tour.
 Photo of Taylor Hicks in Wilkes Barre, PA by Louise Uznanski
Release of the eponymous debut album “Taylor Hicks” in December 2006 was quickly followed by two national concert tours.  The shows were organized and operated by Taylor’s own independent touring company, and pulled the 27th largest gross of the 2007 concert year. 
Photo by didnotexpectthat.
During the summer of 2008 Taylor Hicks debuted on Broadway as Teen Angel in GREASE, the musical.  Following a successful run in New York, the show went on the road in December 2008, traveling the country for the next 18 months.
Taylor at the Planet Hollywood handprint ceremony following his debut performance as Teen Angel, June 2008 
Taylor’s sophomore album “The Distance” was released in March 2009 while the Broadway national tour was in progress.  In a novel and creative arrangement with the show’s producers, each performance of GREASE was followed by an encore.  After the stage had been cleared, Taylor Hicks was announced and returned to perform one of two lead singles from his new album, What’s Right Is Right or Seven Mile Breakdown.  “The Distance” was available for purchase in the lobby of the Broadway show.
The Broadway national tour was supplemented by a second independent shadow tour.  In select cities along the road and on his “day off”, Taylor Hicks and band performed music from the new album to delighted audiences in small clubs and theaters across the U.S.
Photo by Dan Swalec
The Broadway tour came to an end in May 2010.  Taylor was back on the road with his band that summer, offering a mix of original and classic rock/blues songs on a tour that crossed the United States from east to west.
 Photo captured  by MacPolski
In 2011 Taylor Hicks continues to move; the tour expanded  into international waters on Jam Cruise 9 in early January, then back to land and several sold out venues for a spring tour of the United States.
Photo by Louise Uznanski at Broadway Theatre of Pitman, NJ
A full five years following his win, it’s a rare article on American Idol that does not include Taylor Hicks.  Among the show’s winners, some have sold more albums.  Others have sold fewer.  Some have had a more visible presence on the radio and television.  Others less.  Yet, Taylor Hicks comes immediately to mind when American Idol is the subject of conversation.  Why?  This singer/songwriter is decidedly and deliciously different.  He’s different from the show’s intended pop music mold.  He takes a creative, independent, and determined approach to his music and his career, a career sustained and advanced through consistent touring.
Vive la difference!!  Congratulations to Taylor Hicks on the 5th anniversary of his American Idol win.
22 Comments Post a comment
  1. Excellent article! Kudos to TaylorHicksNews and congrats to Taylor too LOL. He’s doing it his way. That’s what a true artist does.

    May 24, 2011
  2. luvhicks #

    Taylor is independant and an entertaining genius that thrives on doing things his way. Since he is not a cookie cutter product but a graduate of the school of hard knocks, he is to be congratulated on all that he has achieved. Love the man, his voice, musical knowledge and his giving soul. Thanks for the excellent article about our soulman.

    May 24, 2011
  3. Medolark #

    Another fantastic synopsis. Thanks

    May 24, 2011
  4. jonibug #

    The key words in this piece…”deliciously different”! I only have one word to add..AMEN!!

    May 24, 2011
  5. Dee #

    He is by far my favorite winner of “that show” … he is so much fun to hear/watch.. I tend to go for more progressive/hard rock, but there is something about this guy and his music. I am glad he did the show or I’d never had known about him, but the show’s dislike of him is very obvious and must be hurtful. I’m glad he is making a lot of money and doing what makes him happy – this is his best revenge…

    May 24, 2011
  6. Louise #

    Thank you so much for posting this. It is just beautiful.

    Taylor Hicks will always have my unconditional support.

    Tour on Taylor! I believe the best man won! And, so did we.

    May 24, 2011
  7. OMG!! The greatest EVER American Idol winner!!! So great IN-CONCERT!!!Junebug

    May 24, 2011
  8. Great article & so true! From the gray hair to the sports coat to the harmonica, Taylor didn’t fit the mold but rather stood out. An entertainer among musicians with talent still untapped. Taylor is one of s kind, and therefore, truly the American Idol! Happy anniversary on your Season 5 win!

    May 24, 2011
  9. san #

    I agree with the key words: “deliciously different” and “best revenge!” You captured the last 5 years so well.

    May 24, 2011
  10. tishtx #

    Excellent! I can’t wait to see what this deliciously different artist does next. 🙂

    May 24, 2011
  11. mond105 #

    Great article TaylorHicksNews. Loved it

    May 24, 2011
  12. Denise Barlow #

    How can anyone deny the ride Taylor HIcks has been on since his win on American Idol five years ago? He has done his own brand of music much to the delight of ALL his fans. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does in the next five years and beyond.

    May 24, 2011
  13. For a guy who “has no career” , Taylor has certainly been busy. I guess being a working entertainer will never be enough for some people. He is multifacted ; we still have not seen the “best of Taylor Hicks “.

    May 24, 2011
  14. Poke Salad Annie #

    Has it really been 5 years? Seem like just a short while ago we were watching the Taylor Hicks Show…aka American Idol Season 5…Say what you will, he took that show and ran with it…No other Idol winner has been so dominant from the very first show…He was entertaining, talented, and knew how to play to his audience. No one before or since has held the viewing public in the palm of his hand like Taylor did…we’re not likely to see it happen again. Ever. He is the Soul Man. Period, end of conversation.

    May 24, 2011
  15. Thanks, everyone, for your comments. It is hard to believe that 5 years have gone by so quickly, but wonderful to remember all the fun times that have come between May 2006 and today. Looking forward to sharing more music and fun with all!

    May 24, 2011
  16. anne #

    Five years of great music & great concerts..brought me to places I would never have been and to meet wonderful people I would never have met..THANKS TAYLOR!!!

    May 24, 2011
  17. vicki minger #

    could not agree more with every comment above, and I don’t know whose been buying his wardrobe lately but damn he looks fine in dem thare jeans. Enuf said.

    May 24, 2011
  18. Judith Morton #

    What a wonderful article on Taylor’s “anniversary”. He has been such a busy man and it is a joy to read your recap. Taylor has brought so much joy into my life with his music. It has been an honor to be his fan.

    May 25, 2011
  19. CijiDunne #

    5 yrs to the day, yesterday, May 24th! I thought of him last night at 9:00PM! Still one of the best. I don’t care what anyone says !

    May 25, 2011
  20. Mar #

    Wonderful recap of Taylor’s 5 years since he won the Idol crown!

    I especially love the conclusion: “Yet, Taylor Hicks comes immediately to mind when American Idol is the subject of conversation. Why? This singer/songwriter is decidedly and deliciously different. He’s different from the show’s intended pop music mold. He takes a creative, independent, and determined approach to his music and his career, a career sustained and advanced through consistent touring.” Amen!

    May 26, 2011
  21. Gr8fulheart #

    I know I’m late to the party here; but, I wasn’t about to delete before giving this write-up the full attention it deserved. Well worth the wait. Thanx♥

    June 12, 2011
    • You are very kind! Thanks for taking the time to read and to comment – very much appreciated.

      June 12, 2011

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