I'm asking this question after reading this interview from Yahoo! Music. Yahoo! Music interviewed Taylor Hicks in an piece, "Gray Matters". Most likely the majority of Taylor Hicks fans have already read and seen this article, but I've been away from the computer a few days and so have been playing catch-up.
This is one of my favorite sections:
YAHOO! MUSIC: There are a lot of crazy people auditioning this year. Did you meet anyone like that when you auditioned?
TAYLOR: I saw them, but didn't meet them. But you know, I was just as much of an outcast as they were. I looked like somebody's dad waiting for their kid in line! So I kind of empathize with outcasts, because at that time last year, I was one too. I was the weird, shy, gray-headed guy.
YAHOO! MUSIC: Shy? You?
TAYLOR: Yeah. I still am.
YAHOO! MUSIC: You didn't seem too shy on the show!
TAYLOR: In non-working environments, I am. It's always been like that for me: night and day. I kind of like it like that; I feel like that's real. I've always studied characters, artists who have that kind of persona, and I've kind of learned from that. You take everything in and store it, then you release it.
YAHOO! MUSIC: So you're a character onstage?
TAYLOR: I wouldn't say it's a character, but I'm just an entertainer, whatever that incorporates. It's really natural. It's what I've been working on all my life and I don't know any other way. I get onstage and it comes easy. I let it happen.
I guess that assessment of Taylor about himself hit home with me. I can relate to that, I don't go by my real name on-line, as is common, but I also write on-line with a 'pen' name (when my real life allows). It is similar to developing a "character". What I think Taylor is trying to say, that although in person off-stage he may not be this wild and woolly in your face, "Wooo!" guy, that part of him is still there, inside, he just opens the door to that persona on-stage. Everything in its place. I get that. He's not making up who and what you see on stage, it is a real piece of himself, he just knows when to cage that tiger.
So, do I think Taylor's 'real'? The answer is unequivocally yes.
Regarding Taylor's upcoming tour:
YAHOO! MUSIC: So you mentioned your tour bus. What are your touring plans?
TAYLOR: My tour starts February 21 in Jacksonville, Florida, and goes for about four months. I'm gonna bring back all that old stuff on this tour, some obscure music that hasn't been heard in 20 years--stuff from the late '70s, early '80s.
YAHOO! MUSIC: How will you choose the songs you perform?
TAYLOR: When I look at my music, I take myself out of my being and I look at it like, "You love music, you're a music connoisseur...would you like this music?" So I have this third-person approach to my music. It's one more side to my perfectionism when it comes to that. But yeah, I'm excited about this tour. I've been playing two-and-a-half-minute TV spots for three months now, and I'm a lot more loose and open and musical and instrumental onstage than I can be in the amount of time that I've been allotted in the last few months. So I'm ready to let loose!
YAHOO! MUSIC: Are you still on a mission to introduce good music to the masses?
TAYLOR: Yeah, yeah. I'm still in teaching mode, I guess you could say. I loved to do that on Idol, and I'm not going to stop now!
It sounds like Taylor Hicks is not going to be a slave to the new CD. You know you're going to hear some of the tracks, of course the man wants you to buy the CD. I'm not saying the CD is not good, there are many tracks I enjoy, what I am saying is that attending Mr. Hicks' concerts will provide a window of insight into what more Mr. Hicks has to offer for his fans and in future CD's. I like this commentary portion from Mr. Hicks, his openness to continuing being true to his musical roots. It's in the older tunes and styling in which he shines.
What would be absolutely great to know is whether Taylor Hicks has plans in place to record any parts of the live performances. Many artists do just that for their fans and release tunes and videos to their websites from their tour. Taylor Hicks' Official Blog, Gray Charles, would be the perfect venue to showcase any concert tunes and footage. Not only would it increase exposure for Taylor exponentially through internet viewings, interest in his concerts could increase for those not introduced yet to Taylor live. That not withstanding, many fans of his have only seen him on American Idol, seeing the real Taylor in action from his concerts would most likely only intensify their desire to see him live.
Groove on Soulman.