NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Season 5 American Idol Winner Taylor Hicks debuted his newest single, “Porch Swing” on the Bobby Bones Show on President’s Day.
But before that, we sat down to catch me up on what had been going on since he won American Idol in 2006.
Hicks said he always wanted to be an entertainer.
“It was either entertainment or bust,” he said. “Growing up in the south, you pull from a lot of different stuff, country, blues. You got the influence of a lot of different styles.”
But he wasn’t sure exactly what that would look like. He did find out early on that he had perfect pitch and taught himself to play harmonica after purchasing one at a flea market.
He soon learned to play various instruments and write songs, which became his path to the entertainment world.
But with all his talent, that doesn’t explain his unique voice, which The New York Times described as “part Stax, part Motown, and part honky-tonk.” His intoxicating blend of soul, blues, country, and rock ‘n’ roll draws fans from all ages and genres. His devout followers have dubbed themselves the “Soul Patrol.”
Since Idol, Hicks performed on Broadway in 2008 and then on a national tour in 2009 in Grease playing Teen Angel, the role originated by Alan Paul.
He was featured on Jimmy Fallon’s Grammy®-winning comedy record, Blow Your Pants Off, in 2012.
Hicks also is the first Idol winner to secure a long-term residency at a Las Vegas casino. He began his residency at Bally’s Las Vegas in June 2012 and moved to a larger venue, Paris Las Vegas, in January 2013.
In 2016, Hicks began hosting the INSP original series State Plate which ran for three seasons.
He also co-owns a restaurant, Saw’s Juke Joint, a favorite barbeque spot in Birmingham.
The multi-faceted artist has a wide range of interests.
He said, “I was ‘born’ on television which I enjoy. Obviously, being part of Saw’s Barbeque allowed me to branch out into the food and travel space- culminating with a little music as well. I’ve never said ‘no’ and in this business and you have to take anything that you can get. You must be versatile nowadays in the entertainment industry and fortunately, I’ve been able to do that.”
Now living in Nashville, he admits that he enjoys songwriting when he has the opportunity to do so.
After a hiatus, he released a new single in 2017, “Six Strings and Diamond Rings,” which he also played on the Bobby Bones Show. The song highlights the difficulties of being in love with a traveling musician.
“It’s kind of my anthem and could be any musician’s anthem who calls the road their home,” he confessed.
Hicks co-wrote the song, “Porch Swing” several years alongside Jennifer Wayne and Jason Deere. It’s part of the movie “Stars Fell on Alabama” where Hicks played himself in the 2021 Samuel Goldwyn film. (Jennifer Wayne is part of the female country group, Runaway June and is a remarkable songwriter.)
The song was never released as a single until now.
“There are iconic porch swings all over America that are the fabric of people’s lives. On all of this land that we have all over America, there are a lot of porch swings with a lot of life experiences in them. I grew with a porch swing at my Grandmother’s house and it kind of grew from there,” he explained.
The song was recorded in Zac Brown’s Southern Ground studio in Nashville.
Hicks has an album that is complete, and “Porch Swing” is the first single off the upcoming record.
At the song’s debut on the Bobby Bones Show, Bones admitted that he was a huge fan now and back in the day.
Bones told him, “I was obsessed. When you performed, that was the kind of music I liked. I bought some white shoes. Everything about that dude is what I like musically.”
From the soulfulness of Otis Redding to the sentimentality of Sam Cooke alongside the energy of Queen, Hicks’ voice and music draw you in like a moth to a flame.
Hicks stated, “I’ve been waiting for something cool and organic to happen with this music for ten years. Everybody’s been telling me, ‘You’ve got to put this music out.’ I’ve been waiting for a beautiful moment to get it out.”
He got the call to be on the Bobby Bones Show right before Christmas. It was the perfect setting to release the first song off the upcoming album.
And when he adds the harmonica to one of his soulful, southern tunes, you get a sound like none other. He cites artists like Tyler Childers and Chris Stapleton, who have opened the door for country blues to become popular once again.
“There’s a wide audience of people who want to hear a great song, with a great solo, and a great message that is soulful,” he said.
That is exactly what the song “Porch Swing” is. And if it is the first release of the forthcoming album, I can’t wait to see what is coming next.
You can follow Taylor Hicks on his website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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Bethany Bowman is a freelance entertainment writer. You can follow her blog, Instagram, and Twitter.
Photos “Taylor Hicks” by Taylor Hicks.