"Idol" winner Taylor Hicks at Telluride Jazz Celebration

"Idol" winner Taylor Hicks at Telluride Jazz Celebration

[click "Play" to listen to Susan's interview with Taylor Hicks]


Taylor Hicks You'll find the announcement on his website, big and bold: "Taylor Hicks will perform at the 35th Telluride Jazz Celebration in Colorado on August 6, at approximately 7 p.m.!"

In case you've been living under a rock, "American Idol" is the reality TV program that showcases emerging young singing talent, with each season's winner selected by viewers. Season 5, 2006, Taylor Hicks earned the title handily with over 63.4 million votes. And he did it by singing songs people can whistle, proving the legendary producer Simon Cowell wrong – probably for the first time ever in Cowell's storied career. Just ask him. (Cowell famously said Hicks would never make to the final round. Later he had to eat his words.)

Fresh from his initial victory lap, Hicks hit the road, touring nonstop after his Idol win until 2008, when he played the Teen Angel in "Grease" on Broadway. Because he was such a box office magnet, Hicks received an offer to tour the country with the show, including a run in Milwaukee. OK, so Milwaukee is a bit off the beaten path on the road to superstardom, but think of Hicks as the tortoise in this race: slow and steady to the finish line, his name a household brand.

Hick's business model is all about winning friends and influencing people one show, one album at a time. And "Grease,"  well, the show greased the skids. After months of touring  – and selling over 100,000 copies of his albums, including a new CD, in the lobbies of theaters after each performance –  Hicks has made personal contact with over 1 million fans in 48 cities across the country. Two million if you factor in personal appearances. Growing numbers of devout followers fly his "Soul Patrol"  banner high and proud.

Taylor Hicks was born in Birmingham, Alabama, October 1976. He got his professional start as a musician in his late teens, performing classic rock, soul, blues and R & B throughout the Southeast for over a decade, teaching himself to play blues harp and electric guitar. It was his half-brother Sean who got him to audition for "American Idol."

To learn more about Taylor Hicks and his upcoming performance in Telluride, click the "play" button and listen to his interview.

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