The 36.4 million TV viewers who watched the May 24th finale of the fifth season of FOX’s American Idol, and the “Soul Patrol!” legions who cast more than 63.4 million votes for the winning performer, have their calendars marked for the December 12th in-store arrival of Taylor Hicks’ self titled debut album.
The album, which is being released on Arista Records/19 Recordings, is said to reaffirm the eternal power of soul, pop and R&B in the hands of a new young star – who prompted Vibe magazine to rave (in the November issue), “Taylor Hicks is the embodiment of the last fifty years of popular music.”
The album is said to dig deep into the blues-drenched roots of Birmingham, Alabama’s favorite son – a singer and songwriter whose song choices every week never strayed from the soul music he holds so dear. Virtually every new song on the album was ‘Taylor-made’ for the artist, starting with “Dream Myself Awake,” written by Rob Thomas, and “Give Me Tonight,” which Taylor and Serletic co-wrote with Matt’s friend Kevin Kadish and hit songwriter Kara Dioguardi. Hitmaker supreme Diane Warren contributed “Places I’ve Been”; while “The Maze” was written by the same duo who penned Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn.” And Taylor’s fans will be delighted to hear that he has re-recorded new versions of self penned “Soul Thing” and “The Deal,” two songs that previously appeared on his second indie album Under the Radar.
‘Taylor Hicks’ was produced by two-time Grammy Award-winner Matt Serletic – whose multi-platinum track record with matchbox twenty & Rob Thomas, Santana, Willie Nelson, Collective Soul and Aerosmith made him the perfect choice for the project. That chemistry is evident throughout, from the opening feel-good up-tempo groove of “The Runaround,” the dramatic ballad “Just To Feel That Way,” and the heartfelt closing number, “The Right Place,” which was originally written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance for Ray Charles to record before his death. Taylor considers it an honor to have had the opportunity to make this song his own.
Along with Taylor’s heroes, James Brown, Otis Redding, and Sam Cooke, the memory of Ray Charles is always center stage – and can be heard on “Heaven Knows,” whose riffs pays homage to Ray’s “What’d I Say” and Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t That Peculiar,” the Motown classic written by Smokey Robinson. The album’s next track, “Gonna Move,” comes from another personal favorite of Taylor’s, revered singer-songwriter Paul Pena (composer of Steve Miller’s “Jet Airliner”). It is followed by an early Marvin Gaye composition, “Wherever I Lay My Hat” (a hit for Paul Young in the ’80s).
Since completing the album, Hicks has made television appearances on ABC’s 20/20, the American Music Awards, and NBC’s Christmas Tree lighting ceremony from Rockefeller Plaza in New York. With the release of the album, Hicks will continue his television push with appearances on ABC’s Good Morning America (5th), Live with Regis & Kelly (6th), and The View (11th); CBS’s The Early Show (12th); MTV’s TRL Countdown, the syndicated Martha Stewart Living and Dr. Phil, and TNT’s “Christmas In Washington” (all on the 13th); and NBC’s The Megan Mullally Show (14th).
Hicks is also taking to the Internet with web campaigns formulated to include AOL Music, Yahoo! Music, ClearChannel Music, VH1.com, Real/Rhapsody/Rolling Stone.com, MySpace, Google, and more.