Taylor Hicks: The TV Squad Interview
Even harder than that is maintaining the momentum. For every Kelly Clarkson there's a Reuben Studdard, and there's a kind of second contest after the winner is crowned to see what he or she does with his or her newfound fame.
Me: Has it been a long day for you?
Taylor : Try a long year.
Me: Really... just a lot of publicity?
Taylor : You know... publicity is good... I'll take it any day of the week.
Me: I hear you, but do you get tired of it? Are you tired of all these interviews? You know, having to make nice all the time?
Taylor : Um, yeah. I mean, a little bit, you know... Just some of the questions, you know... some of the questions... just stay the same.
Me: Let me ask you this, this'll be my first question to you: What's the dumbest question that you've heard again and again and again? What's the question that you don't want to hear anymore?
Taylor : That's a question that I like to hear. The question that I'm tired of hearing is "What was going through your mind when you won?"
Me: Well then I'll have to cross that one off my list!
(no laughter, slight pause)
Me: I read that you're a big Billy Joel fan. What's your favorite obscure Billy Joel Song?
Taylor : Have you ever heard of a song called "Goodnight Saigon"?
Me: I know "Goodnight Saigon", off The Nylon Curtain... absolutely.
Taylor : Yeah, I'm gonna say that one.
Me: (me trying desperately to sound cool and connect with Taylor) Great song... it's a great concert song too. (Awful transition by me) Here's the big question, I'm sure you've been getting a lot of this... you gonna watch [American Idol] this year?
Taylor : (somewhat annoyed) Of course I'm gonna watch this year... why would I not watch this year?
Me: I've seen some interviews where it implied that you wouldn't be watching this year.
Taylor : I'm watching.
Me: Okay. Here's a question for you as this is for TV Squad, so it's TV oriented. If you talk to the producers about changing something on American Idol, what would you change?
Taylor : I would like more time with the songs towards the end...More time for the artists to sing more of the song.
Me: So instead of in the last episode, doing three songs of one minute a piece, like one or two full songs.
Taylor : Right.
Me: Here's another question from a TV perspective. Is there a lot of manipulation that goes on with the video? Is there a lot that you see on the video where you say, "Well that's not the way it happened!" Is there anything that you'd like to say didn't happen the way it seemed like it did on TV?
Taylor : No, the producers, Nigel (Lythgoe) and Ken (Warwick), they're... everything went really smoothly. And the show is just... I mean it's produced impeccably. I mean... it's a great TV show.
Me: So there are no moments where you're watching it going, "Aw, no, that stinks..."
Taylor: Probably when I kicked... when I missed the mic stand, I thought that was a pretty good... let me say this... when you do something wrong, you want to change it...but it's live television, so you can't.
Me: Sure, I hear you. Now, I asked a high school student if they could ask Taylor Hicks one thing, what would it be, and this is what they wanted to know: "Were there any secret backstage affairs on the show"?
Taylor : No. I wish there were, but no.
Me: What's one thing that we don't get to see in the course of the show that you, especially as a musician, wish we could see on the show? What's something that we don't get to see week to week that you think would be a good addition to the show?
Taylor : I just think some of the car rides with everybody would be cool.
Me: Like what do you mean you all travel in one car together?
Taylor : We start talking and laughing and I mean that would probably be cool.
Me: The first season seemed to have a lot of that, where they would put all the contestants in a house and we kind of lost that aspect of the show as time went on...
Me: A lot of times on the show, Simon will say that all you guys will pretend to be friends but in reality you're in competition with one another and you just really want to see each other fail no matter how much you say you're rooting for the other person. How much of that is true? Because I've been in competitions before and you always kind of root for the other person to fail a little bit, don't you?
Taylor : Um, you know, competition definitely plays a part in it, but at the end of the day... may the best man (or woman) win...
Me: So, you didn't secretly hate Katharine McPhee?
Taylor : Not at all.
Me: Cause I secretly hated her. I was rooting for you.
Taylor : Well thank you.
(Here I laugh and Taylor does not)
Me: You did a lot of gigging before American Idol. I mean, you were a road act before you got onto the show, right?
Taylor : I was the gigger.
Me: So I imagine you have some good road stories. Like, what was your worst road gig?
Taylor : Probably when I thought that like all of my gear fell out of my car. I got out on the interstate and was looking in a field next to me and realized that I left it at the bar and it was sitting right at the bar where I left it. I thought it fell out of my truck.
Me: That's some good people at that bar that they didn't steal any of your equipment.
Taylor : Yeah, I went back hurriedly when I figured out I left my guitar back at the bar.
Me: That's very nice that they didn't steal it. I've worked a lot of places where they would have stolen it and then beaten you when you got back there.
Me: Of the contestants that you worked with, it seemed like a lot of them didn't have the same amount of experience you did... I think it probably helped you, all your experience on the road in front of live audiences. Of all the people that you worked with, who do you think could handle a rough and tumble biker bar? Other than you, obviously, who could tame a wild crowd?
Taylor : (long pause) Bucky Covington.
Me: Why him?
Taylor : I think he might have played in front of them.
Me: So he has the history of it.
Taylor : (sounding disinterested) Maybe so.
(It should be noted that at this point I want to punch myself in the face.)
Me: Alright, so a couple of questions about the new album. How much control did you have on the new album?
Taylor : First of all, I got to choose what songs I wanted to sing.
Me: That's nice.
Taylor : I made sure I didn't sing any songs on it that I didn't want to sing.
Me: Like... "Do I Make You Proud?"
Taylor : Uhhhhhhhhhh...
(I laugh, Taylor doesn't)
Taylor : Maybe.
Me: I've seen some of the press on that. You were not a big fan of that song, right?
Taylor : You know, that was a... you know, what I was referring to... the first song that I walked out on was a completely different song. It was "Do I Make You Proud" that I actually connected with.
Me: Ahh, okay.
Taylor : So that was a completely different song [that the press was writing about]. It's another one of those "slant" things if you will. I was given a song... at first, which was not "Do I Make You Proud"...
Me: What you're saying is that you did walk out on a song, originally, but it wasn't "Do I Make You Proud" it was the song before "Do I make you proud."
Taylor : Exactly.
Me: People take the juicy story and run with it. That's gotta suck, huh? People changing your words like that?
Taylor : Not at all.
Me: (Confused) I'm assuming you're joking.
Taylor : Very much so.
Me: What are some of your favorite cuts from the new album? What's going to be the single?
Taylor : Uh, we don't know yet. We're gonna let the record research itself. But I'd have to say, you know, some of my favorites are "Heaven Knows", "The Right Place" and "The Runaround".
Me: Now, did you write these?
Taylor : These three just came to me from great writers and they were great songs.
Me: How much input do the American Idol people have on the album?
Taylor : This is a label thing now. American Idol, Season Five, "The Show" is over. This is into a label aspect now. It's Arista Records, J, and I are the one's that work together. So... like, with any artist, that's the way we work together.
Me: So there's no difference now between you and any other artist on the label?
Taylor : Not at all. Which is a good thing [for people] to know.
(Taylor 's publicist politely interrupts and says that we need to end the interview)
Me: Thanks for your time, Taylor .
Taylor: No problem, Man.