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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Becoming Jaded? Taylor, Where is the Fun?

Taylor Hicks performs in Columbus, Ohio this evening. Prior to the show, Taylor provides Aaron Beck, writer for The Columbus Dispatch yet another dry interview. Of course, it seems every interviewer asks the same questions, so I can't really hold it against Taylor for becoming jaded, but man, would it hurt to once show some humor or give some evidence there is a sense of humor behind the gray-haired solemn facade? During television interviews and radio interviews, Taylor has consistently come across as almost bland in his lack of personality. Pushing a new book soon to be released, a snappier interview persona might increase the curiosity seekers to purchase the book. At this rate only his dyed in the wool Soul Patrollers will be interested in having it as part of their Taylor Hicks memorabilia collection. I hate to sound off negative about the man who I admire for his drive to succeed at his passion in life - music, but a sense of humor makes a person seem more attractive and interesting. The repeated lack of wit and continued unimpassioned answer deliveries might not inspire folks to really get to know the man better.

Talking American Idol, and comparing two of my favorite past contestants, Bo Bice and Taylor, I have to comment on one striking difference between the two of them; Bo Bice is ever ready for a laugh, he flashes his charming smile with an ease born from never taking himself too seriously. Taylor Hicks seems eternally wary and guarded. Take young gun, Sanjaya Malakar, even at the tender age of seventeen, he's caught onto to this concept and it's working for the kid, becoming a major portion of his appeal. Every one who watches Idol knows Sanjaya's smile.

Even Elvis, famous as he was, wore his heart on his sleeve and always had his humor at the ready to let fans know he was still just the same good ol' boy. That was always a huge part of The King's charm and appeal. In one of my favorite Elvis albums, "Tiger Man", a live album chock full of him poking fun at himself, a perfect example of how Elvis welcomed his fans inside his heart and soul. Once fans perceive an entertainer to be taking themselves too seriously it begins to ebb at their appeal.

John Mayer another great example of an entertainer with the ability to share himself with others, he's even ventured into performing the occasional stand-up comedy. Johnny is one of today's most gifted musicians, but he remains a personable and unselfish performer. His blog, one of the best blog reads I've ever stumbled across. I 'visit him' on a regular basis, he always delights me. I also love the apparent enjoyment of words that his vocabulary reflects.

Back to the topic of Taylor. I'd read an interview in which one of the concert attendees had initially upon meeting Taylor felt rebuffed by his rather cold demeanor at a meet and greet. This person (I'm not providing her name) expressed dismay, having traveled hundreds of miles to see Mr. Hicks live, and face to face he did not even look her in the face, instead he signed the CD she presented while carrying on a conversation with someone else. She naturally came away with the impression that he was really not interested in the fans. She, in particular - her perception, he was just going through the motions. Of course she had gone on to the show and wound up enjoying herself immensely anyway.

I can imagine what a draining lifestyle being a celebrity must be, people pulling at you and each wanting to take a small piece of you with them, but it's the price you must pay. Dance with the Devil has many connotations.

Certainly from all the reviews, The Soulman delivers once he's on stage. Being able to move a live audience, of course important; an entertainer has to be able to do that - but to really become a legend and a superstar you've got to have it in you to give away those small pieces of 'you'. Having heart and soul is one thing in regard to your art, but you've got to be able to share it with your public.

Lighten up, and Groove on Soulman.

6 comments:

  1. Hey Sunny - I have gotten the same impression, and felt bad about it, wondering if I was simply just being one of those fans who thinks their star should be able to be Mr. Magic 24/7. I see it's not just me tough - Hopefully it's not a permanent characteristic - and he's merely temporarily worn threadbare by an insanely hectic year.

    Sorry I havent been around much - I'm not on line too much lately. Always peek in on you though, friend!

    Have a great weekend ~

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  2. Thank you clew for stopping by - you are one of the good ones, such a sweet soul and I think of you often.
    Glad - so glad you stopped by. Hope you are well. XXX's & OOO's, Sunny

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  3. Anonymous1:49 AM

    The same thing happened to me. I was so upset and hurt. When I walked up to him at the meet and greet, he had this disgusting look on his face. I felt like I was invading his space and I had not even reached the table. He didn't look up or acknowledge that I was standing there. He did not make eye contact, smile, thumbs up, speak or anything. I felt humiliated. The sad thing is I haven't been able to enjoy his music in the same way since then. I am also not interested in buying his book now. I will probably buy his next CD, but only if it is good. I have no desire to see him in person again so I won't be going to another concert. This is really sad because I was enjoying myself so much. I think he only turns on the charm when the cameras are rolling. To me, that is fake and I can't stand a fake person. He still has an amazing voice and I am still a fan of his music. The way he treated me and the others ruined the concert for me and I had paid big bucks for front row seat.But now, thanks to him, I would feel out of place going to one of his concerts. He treated our entire group very rudely. I am a teacher and I know that I don't have the luxury of treating students or parents that way. He is going to loose a lot of fans because of this. It makes all the nice things he does for people in front of the camera or news people seem fake. I hope for other's sake that he improves his people skills because I wouldn't wish the way I felt on anyone.

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  4. I've heard this from others - mainly through e.mails direct to me so I've not published them under a post. He's disappointed me too, the flash reserved for when he had to be 'on'. He was almost surly with one group at a meet and greet, the ladies were very disappointed, one broke down and cried. She had traveled overnight on Greyhound, which if anyone has ever done that, it's no picnic. A few others in that meet and greet group tried glossing it over, and sticking to the 'Oh he's so attractive in person' aspect that it was nauseating. You don't belittle yourself for anyone, especially celebrities. Fans are what make them and they should be glad to see the folks who have laid the butter for their bread. Taylor seemed to be wanting to be anywhere but at that M&G.

    When I saw Bo Bice live, he recognized me and gave me some incredible camera shots for my blogspot. He was sweet and kind to everyone at the show and there wasn't - and I was somewhat surprised - anyone covering the show from the big media or news programs. His very real warmth shone through.

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  5. Browneyes7:30 AM

    Hi Sunny,
    I haven't posted here before but I do enjoy your website. I have to politely disagree. I've met Taylor at 2 M&G's, 1 at laser's Edge. Both times he came across as rather shy.As a once painfully shy person, I know how people mistake it for aloofness, rudeness or whatever it might be.I wouldn't doubt he is trying to please everyone and maybe falls short sometimes. But he is a human being and has had all this thrust upon him in 1 year's time. When I met him at Laser's Edge,I had no idea he was as ill as he was but he was very sweet.Then he did a killer show that night.
    I guess I don.t feel like he owes me anything,just his beautiful soulful voice, We pay for tickets to his show and he doesn't owe us anything else but the show,the meetings before and after the show are definitely a bonus. I don't know of many celebrities who would take the time.
    One comment on that interview Taylor gave to Aaron Beck,it sounded as if Tay might have been just barely awake, and the interviewer asked the same old tired questions and he was baiting him to boot. Beck wasted a golden oppotunity to talk about music.
    Taylor could be grumpy, surly,look at you the wrong way but then he is the boss,has a tour to run,a show to do, and still tries to please his fans.When he literally pours his heart and soul out on that stage,I don't know if he can give anymore.And to me, that's more than anyone should have to give.
    Thanks for letting me sound off! I love Taylor and I would say, just give him time. He is a good man.

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  6. Thank you for sounding off! It's great to hear more than one side of the topic and your comments are insightful and obviously heartfelt.

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