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.