Taylor Hicks (born October 6, 1976 in Birmingham, Alabama) is an American singer, songwriter, and musician who is a finalist and winner on the fifth season of American Idol.
Hicks is best known for his stage presence, gray hair, bluesy singing
voice, and harmonica playing.
According to his grandmother, Taylor Hicks has never had any music lessons. He came running up to her when he was about twelve years old saying, "Grandma, you've got to hear this!" Then he sang Otis Redding's "Try A Little Tenderness" for her. His music reflects his favorites from that era: the classic songs of Redding, Sam Cooke, and Ray Charles. He plays guitar as well as blues harp and writes most of his own songs.
Taylor Hicks is a former student at Auburn University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Hicks had gained some fame in the state of Alabama for his performances at nightclubs and other local venues. He released two independent albums, In Your Time (1997) and Under the Radar (2005), prior to appearing on Idol; the latter was made available at local music outlets in the Birmingham area. Hicks also was heard on Tapestry, a radio program on National Public Radio affiliate WBHM in Birmingham, in December 2005.
Taylor Hicks auditioned for American Idol in Las Vegas, Nevada. He passed the audition by the approval of judges Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul, but not Simon Cowell, who said that Hicks did not have enough of an Idol image for any of the judges to put him through the Hollywood rounds. In this Cowell was proven wrong, which he subsequently acknowledged.
Hicks's fans on the Fox American Idol message boards have nicknamed themselves the "Soul Patrol". After Hicks's performance in the first show featuring the Final 24, Taylor mentioned the "Soul Patrol" by name, and has done so in subsequent appearances.
On May 24, 2006 - Taylor Hicks won and became the next American Idol.
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