He won me over with his risky but endearing Ray Lamontagne cover on American Idol season 5, and I was thrilled when he shockingly sneaked up from behind to beat out snooty Katharine McPhee by a landslide later that year.
I interviewed Taylor once, and...not to brag, but he told me it was one of the best interviews he'd ever done.
He played a Yahoo! charity event once and sang the Yahoo! yodel, like, seriously eight or nine times without ever being prompted.
I even read the guy's autobiography, Heart Full Of Soul. (It was kind of boring--the most scandalous segment was when he admitted to um, inhaling on one occasion--but I finished the entire thing, almost like it was a homework assignment, out of some sense of duty.)
So I was little bummed when Taylor's career didn't take off in exactly a Clarkson/Underwood-esque manner. I suppose it shouldn't surprise me that he was the first Idol winner to not go platinum and get unceremoniously dropped by BMG after only one album release...like I said in my opening paragraph here, it's not "fashionable" to like Taylor Hicks. It never really was.
But I'm still rooting for him. He's the ultimate underdog, so I can't help it. I'm still a semi-closeted member of the Soul Patrol.
Therefore, I am happy to report that--hot on the heels of his role in the musical Grease--the silver fox is back: He's self-releasing a new studio album, The Distance, on March 10 via his own Modern Whomp Records label. The album's first single is "What's Right Is Right"...and, well, it sounds pretty much like typical Taylor Hicks. "What's Right Is Right" just is what it is:
Finally, Taylor has a music video. Please note that execs at his former label BMG never commissioned a video for him--even though he was the WINNER of the most-watched season in American Idol history!
Anyway, I'm not sure if the tune's throwback easy-listening soul sound will win over many new fans, but I applaud Taylor for simply doing what he does. And I'm sure his less fairweather followers will dig it.