Taylor Hicks

Taylor Hicks

Active - 2007 - 2021  |   Born - Oct 6, 1976 in Birmingham, Alabama, United States  |   Genres - Music, Drama, Crime

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Biography by AllMovie

With his raspy, soulful voice and salt-and-pepper hair, Taylor Hicks was one of the unlikeliest contestants to make it to the final round of American Idol, but his quirky charm and rousing delivery of songs like "Takin' It to the Streets" won Hicks a devoted legion of fans called the "Soul Patrol" and the title of the fifth-season American Idol. Born in Birmingham, AL, and raised in Hoover, Hicks grew up listening to classic soul artists such as Otis Redding and Sam Cooke -- whom he said he could to relate to even as a child due to the divorce of his parents and other troubles -- and singer/songwriters like Van Morrison, Bob Seger, and Billy Joel. Hicks' chief influence, however, was Ray Charles, whom he admired so much that he carried a little statue of Charles with him whenever he performed.

Though Hicks had no formal musical training, he picked up singing, guitar, and harmonica on his own. He began performing for his family at an early age and won a talent contest at his high school (at which time his hair started turning gray). While studying business, communication, and marketing at Auburn University, Hicks formed the Passing Through band, and left school early to try his luck in Nashville. As a touring performer, he opened for artists ranging from James Brown to Drive-By Truckers and also performed at the Playboy Mansion. Hicks released two albums with his band: In Your Time, a live album, and Under the Radar.

In 2005, Hicks auditioned for American Idol; the Memphis tryouts were so crowded that Hicks couldn't get in, so he went to the Las Vegas auditions. Despite the doubts of judge Simon Cowell, Hicks' differences from the typical pop star look and sound worked for him rather than against him in the competition, and his performances of "Levon," "Living for the City," and "Dancing in the Dark" helped put him over the top. After winning American Idol, Hicks signed a record deal with Clive Davis and 19 Recordings Unlimited, and released the single Do I Make You Proud that summer. Hicks also performed with the American Idol tour and began work on his major-label debut album. His self-titled debut arrived in late 2006. Live at the Workplay Theatre, a concert album recorded in summer 2006, was released in 2007.


  • As a teenager, played harmonica at local bars.
  • His hair started turning gray in his teens.
  • Released two independent albums, In Your Time in 1997 and Under the Radar in 2005.
  • Received a key to the city of Birmingham, AL, on May 12, 2006.
  • Winner of Season 5 of American Idol (2006); runner-up was Katharine McPhee.
  • Wrote an autobiography titled Heart Full of Soul: An Inspirational Memoir About Finding Your Voice and Finding Your Way in 2007.
  • Was dropped from J Records, the label that signs the American Idol winners, in January 2008.
  • Made his Broadway debut as Teen Angel in Grease in 2008; he then reprised that role for the show's national tour.
  • Began releasing albums on his own label, Modern Whomp Records, in 2008.
  • Ranked No. 10 on Forbes' 2009 list of American Idol top earners.