May 25, 2010

Taylor Hicks on life after “American Idol”

Posted: 03:37 PM ET

Ok, Idol fans…we’re nearing the end.   You’re new "American Idol" will be revealed Wednesday night.  Before we get there, LKL blog wanted to take a trip down memory lane and talked to previous "Idol" winner, Taylor Hicks. 

Hicks won the fifth season of "Idol" and hasn’t slowed down since.  For the past two years, he has played the role of Teen Angel in the Broadway musical “Grease” both in New York and with the traveling show.  In between performances, he’s been playing clubs and making music.  More information about Taylor, his live DVD, “Whomp at the Warfield” and his latest album, “The Distance” is available at his website,

Taylor chatted with us about his advice for this week’s "American Idol" winner, what he’s been up to, and why "Idol" will survive after Simon.

LKL Blog:  So you’ve been on the road with “Grease” –

Taylor Hicks:  Grease is the word!

LKL blog:  How long have you been doing it?  

Hicks:  All in all with the record and the Broadway show, its been two years.

LKL blog:  And what’s that been like for you?

Hicks:  It’s been a major success actually.  With the success of the role of Teen Angel on Broadway, we decided to integrate [Hicks’ latest record], “The Distance,” within the encore of every “Grease” show and decided to take it on the road for 18 months.

LKL blog:  This was your Broadway debut right?

Hicks:  This was. Yes.

LKL blog:  In terms of performing a musical on Broadway versus what you would do on a regular stage show – I’m wondering what the differences are.

Hicks:  Well obviously you’re playing off of personalities of the actors as opposed to playing off of instruments with musicians.  And I think one of the really cool things about this particular run and this role is I’ve never had any musical training or acting training and so I’ve learned first hand which has been such a blessing to be able to learn to do a brand new craft with a role like Teen Angel.


LKL blog:  Was it hard, intimidating having never done it before?

Hicks:  I was more nervous my opening night on Broadway than I ever was on "American idol."  A brand new path career path acting on Broadway in New York City.  I was more nervous about the debut on Broadway than the idol show for sure.

LKL blog:  I know you said you integrated “The Distance” in the show, have you been able to work on other things?

Hicks:  I’ve done shows.  I’ve basically had two tours going at one time.  I was doing the Broadway show and I was going to intimate clubs all over the country and different cities and playing club shows.

LKL blog:  So you’ve been pretty busy since you won "American Idol?"

Hicks:  I’ve been on the road touring now for about four and half years.  I still don’t really have a place to call home.  I’m from Birmingham but a lot of my stuff is still at my parent’s basement.  I’ve still been touring nonstop for four and half years.

LKL blog:  Do you like living that way?

Hicks:  I do.  I do enjoy it.  I’ve been touring all my life so it’s in my blood, so to speak.

LKL blog:  Are you going to the "American Idol" finale?

Hicks: Yes the finale and parties and stuff. I haven’t been able to do that in a while so I’m excited to go back.

LKL blog:  Do you keep in touch with past contestants or anyone on the show?

Hicks:  I do.  I do keep in touch with past contestants and judges.  

LKL blog: You’ve been through this, what’s your advice for whoever wins "American Idol" this week?  What do they have to look forward to?

Hicks:  Being able to have the best opportunity in show business, to be able to have a longstanding career.  It’s just the most amazing experience that 99.9% of the population doesn't get to experience.  It’s a very exclusive club.  It’s all in what you make it.  You have to stay out there and be appreciative and be blessed that you have the fans that you do.

LKL blog:  There will be a big change with Simon leaving.  Do you think it will be a different show without him?

Hicks:  You know I think obviously the show, we’ll all miss Simon.  I think he’s a big part of the show.  But I think watching someone live the American dream in front of your eyes is the reason why everybody watches the show and I don’t think that will change.

LKL blog:  So what’s next for you?

Hicks:  I’m taking a breather.  I’m planning and writing for the next record.  I’m going to pursue some TV and film and Broadway opportunities that I’ve been able to look at after my post Broadway debut.  You know, enjoy relaxing for a while and writing and doing some musical performances also.

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Filed under: American Idol • LKL Web Exclusive

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Robert Parbi   May 25th, 2010 6:30 pm ET

l'm yet to hear his music...

Kathy   May 25th, 2010 9:31 pm ET

Taylor is one of my all time favorites. Watching American Idol rewind has reminded me once again how talented he is. I have his latest CD The Distance and his DVD Whomp at the Warfield. Enjoy them both.

sls   May 25th, 2010 9:44 pm ET

Robert – why don't you check youtube, amazon or ITunes and you'll find Taylor's music.

Davonne   May 25th, 2010 10:50 pm ET

I've had the honor and privilege to meet Taylor as well as seen his live shows twice and I have to say, he's one the most exciting and incredible performers I've ever seen. Also, when it comes to his fans, Taylor is very kind, down-to-earth and absolutely wonderful. I'm looking forward to seeing him in films and television...He's simply the best!

NolaMar   May 25th, 2010 11:17 pm ET

Robert, his music was never promoted much on the radio by AI. He has some good music out there, and his live concerts are really great. I saw him several times last year in venues in the south. (GA, AL, MS, TX. Also one in Michigan) Great shows! Had not heard much in the press since AI myself. Glad I looked him up on YouTube last year and found out what he had been up to since his win. He's very talented IMO.

Ringmaster   May 26th, 2010 12:29 am ET

Robert his CD "The Distance" is on ITunes and Amazon, his book Heart Full of Soul can be found at Amazon as well. Check him out on Youtube cuz the fans always post vids there.

His latest gig has been two years touring the Broadway show Grease as "Teen Angel" and incorporating a song from his CD at the same time, PLUS he did some clubs in some of the cities where Grease went.

Just last week he judged a singing contest in Alabama. He's been busy-Idol folks didn't support him too well after he won and he's just had to do it himself-and he's done it well!!

Ross Foyee   May 26th, 2010 10:34 am ET

let's concentrate on the oil spill and forget this carp. there is much more meaningful gibberish to expend there which might just make a meaning to human wellbeing...!

jJohn Mann   May 26th, 2010 1:22 pm ET

He's been very successful during his Grease run. He's been able to be in the musical, have concerts on the side, and promote his merchandise. During the last year and a half, he's made more than $3.5 million.

Judy Morton   May 31st, 2010 4:55 pm ET

Thank you for the interview with Taylor. I have seen him in Grease and at 3 live shows...also was privileged t meet him in Seattle. He puts on a live show that you will not forget and always leaves you wanting more!! He is a fantastic entertainer. Just look up some of his performances on YouTube...Roxy, Epcot, Magic Bag, HIgh Noon Saloon...All Super Shows.

P Taylor   June 2nd, 2010 1:25 pm ET

Great interview with Taylor. Please have him on the show again soon! I've been a fan of his since Idol. His albums are listened to often in our house, and I have seen him perform live. He's up there with the best, IMO.

ronald mcloughlin   September 22nd, 2010 3:53 pm ET

I'm glad to read a successful young person who hasn't gotten off the track with his success. Congrats to Taylor HIcks.

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