Taylor Reuben Hicks (born October 7, 1976) is an American singer who won the fifth season of American Idol. Hicks got his start as a professional musician in his late teens and performed around the Southeastern United States for well over the span of a decade, during which he also released two independent albums. Upon winning Idol, he was signed to Arista Records, under which his self-titled major label debut was released on December 12, 2006. His energetic stage performances and influences derived from classic rock, blues, and R&B music had earned him a following of devout fans, who have been dubbed the “Soul Patrol.” He performed on Broadway in 2008 and on national tour in 2009 in Grease playing Teen Angel, the role originated by Alan Paul. The new CD, The Distance, was released March 10, 2009, with the first single, “What’s Right Is Right”, going to AC adds January 27, 2009.
Taylor Hicks was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on October 7, 1976, to Bradley Hicks and Pamela Dickinson. His hair started turning gray by the time he was 14. He and his family had moved to suburban Hoover, Alabama when he was eight years old. His parents divorced, and stepmother Linda shared custody of their son until he became of age. Hicks has suggested his difficult childhood as the reason for his turning to soul and blues music for solace. He has a younger half-brother, Sean, who later convinced him to audition for American Idol.
While in college, Hicks was part of a band called Passing Through, which he later quit to start his own band. In 1997, he independently recorded In Your Time, an album which included both studio and live tracks. In 2000, he moved to pursue a music career in Nashville, Tennessee, where he worked with Nashville veterans Billy Earl McClelland and Percy Sledge to record a three-track demo but was unable to find a label that would sign him. He left Nashville after a year due to what he called the “oversaturation of the market”.