Birmingham native Taylor Hicks is nothing if not persistent. When he auditioned for “American Idol” he had a hard time getting past the reservations of judge Simon Cowell. Hicks won Season 5, one of the biggest seasons in the show’s history and went on to record a platinum selling album.
After “Idol” and touring, Hicks took a role in the Broadway revival of “Grease” and then went on a national tour with the company. After Broadway he did residencies at two Las Vegas casinos. Like most artists Hicks has experienced ups and downs in his career and he is philosophical about the peaks and valleys.
Hicks began performing in bands in Alabama in his late teens and was 29 when he won “Idol.” He calls himself “a ten year overnight success.” He says music is in his DNA. “I wasn’t a math kid, so I perfected my autograph during math class.”
“Being an entertainer consumed me. It was my vision, my calling, a ringing phone in my head at an early age,” Hicks says of his days playing juke joints and roadhouses before landing on “Idol.”
He says he felt great relief when he won “American Idol,” dispelling a myth around the show. “Not winning is better than winning is a lie. I am from Alabama where everybody loves a winner.”
Versatility is essential to a career in entertainment according to Hicks. He hosts a TV show on food called “State Plate” and has traveled all over American sampling the best and most unusual food each state has to offer. Favorites? A Delmonico steak at Delmonico’s in New York and a Czech pastry called a kolach in Prague, Nebraska. Hicks is also a partner in Birmingham’s beloved barbecue restaurant, Saw’s.
When Hicks performs Thursday night, July 11, at City Winery at Ponce City Market, it will be his second recent stint in Atlanta. He had the lead role in Serenbe Playhouse’s production of “Shenandoah” and he says he would love to star in a feature film or a recurring role on a TV series.
In the meantime, he has a new album out soon and the first single, “Six Strings and Diamond Rings,” has already been released.
Hicks says his show at City Winery will be acoustic and personal. He’ll perform covers from his “American Idol” days, songs from his albums, and share stories about his life and career.