Here's something you probably never thought you'd hear from an "American Idol" winner: "I'm learning a bunch of obscure covers, and I'm having a blast."
Yes, eight months after he was crowned, Taylor Hicks is still a breath of fresh air to the franchise that has focused on, well, not-so-obscure covers. And, while Chris Daughtry is the one dominating the albums chart (see " 'Idol' Fever, Playoff Appearance Help Daughtry Finally Get To #1"), Hicks is slowly making his move.
Although he'd previously called dance-floor-friendly "The Runaround" his first single (see "Taylor Hicks Hopes 'Traveling Circus Of Fans' Follows Him On Tour"), Hicks is now releasing the ballad "Just to Feel That Way" as what his record label is calling the first "official" single.
"Usually you have the single and then the album, but we did it the opposite way and that allowed it to get out there to the fans, who could say what they thought the best song was," Hicks explained. "And that's really cool."
Taylor didn't write the song (that'd be Jess Cates, Emanuel Kiriakou and Lindy Robbins, who have penned tunes for Clay Aiken and Nick Lachey), but he felt immediately that it fit him. "The song is about taking your chance with that particular someone," Hicks said. "You have to travel down that road with someone to get to the promised land, so to speak. The lyrics are what gravitated me to the song, and the melody is wonderful."
A video for "Just to Feel That Way" is in the early stages, but Taylor couldn't confirm any details.
Meanwhile, his first tour begins February 21 in Jacksonville, Florida, and wraps up April 27 in Kansas City, Missouri. "I'm gonna have an eight-piece soul band on the road with me," Hicks said giddily. "I've handpicked all the players. Touring is in my blood, and I'm excited about the music I'm gonna perform."
Taylor is keeping those obscure covers under wraps but said fans can expect songs from all three of his solo albums, as well as some of their favorites from his run on "Idol." "It's gonna be loose," he said of the set list. "I've been the same performer regionally for 10 years, and now I'm that same performer nationally."
Also in the pipeline is Hicks' book, "Heartful of Soul," due this spring. The book will chronicle Taylor's struggles as a touring performer before "Idol" and include some juicy details from the show.
Hicks hasn't seen a lot of his fellow finalists since their tour wrapped, but he just caught up with Daughtry in Los Angeles. "I'm excited about Chris," Taylor said. "He's a good songwriter. I think it shows that there are artists within the contest."