Catching up with Taylor Hicks 16 years after his ‘Idol’ win

ajc.com

He is appearing May 20 at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur.

Taylor Hicks will forever be known as the man who won “American Idol” during its most popular season in 2006.

The Birmingham native possessed a bluesy rock vibe that viewers embraced but was not easily translatable into a big pop music career.

Instead, Hicks continued to do what he had done before “Idol”: tour, tour and tour some more. He also has been able to leverage his success into hosting a TV show, dabble in some acting and do many many corporate and private gigs.

On Friday night at Eddie’s Attic, he will perform some of his best-known covers, originals and songs by Van Morrison, an artist he deeply admires. He has previously done shows highlighting classics by the likes of Bob Seger and Joe Cocker.

Hicks, who now lives in Nashville, said Morrison was an artist he fell in love with as a 16-year-old. “He was a blue-eyed soul singer,” he said. “He played guitar and harmonica and I felt a lot of similarities to him.”

He plans to play some of Morrison’s lesser known funky tunes from the 1970s like “Naked in the Jungle” and less so his better known ballads like “Tupelo Honey.”

“It’s a little grittier and edgier version of Van Morrison,” Hicks said.

Hicks wouldn’t say for sure if he would make it to the season finale of “American Idol,” which airs this Sunday live in Los Angeles. He did not appear on the 20th anniversary celebration episode that aired earlier in the month.

“They’ve reached out to all of us about coming back on the show,” he said. “I don’t think the reunion stuff is over with.”

After all this time, Hicks still has deep affection for “Idol” even as it has changed networks and judges: “It remains one of the biggest blessings of my life. I will always be a cheerleader when it comes to that show. I’m happy it’s been on for as long as it has and am glad to hear it’s coming back next year.”

He is also open to competing in ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” which is moving to the Disney+ streaming service next season. “I was a pretty polarizing dancer on ‘Idol,’” he said. “I would definitely be polarizing if I had to do the cha cha.”

Hicks, who starred in a Serenbe play in 2019 called “Shenandoah,” said he’s still pursuing acting gigs and taking acting lessons. And he enjoyed hosting the food show ‘State Plate” over three seasons, now available on Roku.

He is now working on his first album of original music since 2009. “It’s been a 10-year labor of love,” he said. He has recorded bits and pieces in recent years at studios like Zac Brown’s Southern Ground studio in Nashville and Sun Studios in Memphis. “It’s country soul, rootsy soul,” he said. “For me, this is a big opportunity for me to put some real career music on tape and let everyone hear it.”

IF YOU GO

Taylor Hicks

9 p.m. Friday, May 20. $40. Eddie’s Attic, 515 N. McDonough St., Decatur. eddiesattic.com.