American Idol Winner Taylor Hicks Talks About His New Album The Distance, And His Songwriting
By Jason Blasco
Taylor Hicks quickly discovered the instant fame that comes from being named the 2006American Idol winner. Hicks has refused to buckle under the blazing spotlight of the entertainment industry, and has thrived on eclipsing expectations since his national television debut when Simon Cowell vehemently stated, “The American Idol audience would not put him in the final group, and he should be singing as a background singer.”
Hicks proved Cowell wrong by becoming American Idol’s Cinderella story and champion. Hicks rode the wave of success with his 2006 debut album, Taylor Hicks, that was certified platinum less than a month after it’s December release. But despite the early success of his debut album, he was dropped by both Arista Records and J Records in early 2008 after disappointing overall sales.
Like he has throughout his entire career, Hicks took being the lowest-selling artist in American Idol history in stride, and continued to move forward with his next project. Hick’s new album, The Distance, which will be released in March and contains the single “What’s Right is Right,” encompasses Hicks’ love for blues, pop, R&B and country. The album also features more of Hicks’ own compositions than on his previous album. Hicks is releasing The Distance on his own Modern Whomp Records label, which is distributed via a partnership with independent artist services company, Artist To Market. Hicks has also secured a deal with Vanguard/Welk Records to release some of his pre-American Idol material.
“Well, for me, I wanted to first of all understand the record, and what the model for owning and operating my own label was going to be,” Hicks said. “I felt like owning my own label would be the best way to go, because the distribution and the music has changed significantly. I felt like it was in my best interest to own a label because it’s a hybrid, up-to-the-minute record deal, if you will, and I felt like distribution was the way to go as opposed to the actual classic music business models.”
For Hicks, releasing The Distance under his own label changed the dynamics, and it allowed him the flexibility of more creative expression as a songwriter than he had with Arista Records. “Well, with the first record, I was unable to have the time and creative freedom to collaborate with who I wanted to write with,” Hicks said. “I think that is one dynamic that really sticks on this record. I wanted to showcase the songwriting side of me that I did on my first two records, prior to Idol. I think having the time, being able to pick the writers that I wanted to write with, and thinking about what I created is more apparent on this record.”
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"What's Right Is Right" - Taylor Hicks
Video still by music video and film director Jake Davis
"I'm a firm believer in telling the truth, even when the truth hurts. Think of it this way - in the end, telling the truth is easier than keeping up with a bunch of lies. It's also good karma."
~ Taylor Hicks ~