In week following his “American Idol” coronation, Phillip Phillips watched as his debut single, “Home,” opened big , selling more than 270,000 digital downloads (the second-best digital sales week ever for an “Idol” contestant) and entering the Billboard Hot 100 at #10, making him the first contestant in four years to see his victory single reach the Top 10.
And, in the months since it debuted, “Home” has proven to be a certified smash, hanging tough in the upper echelon of the Hot 100 thanks to prime placement in NBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics. In a lot of ways, Phillips has reversed the recent trend of less-than-stellar sales for “Idol” champs, and for a guy still learning the ins and outs of the music business, well, it’s been quite a ride.
“It’s so shocking, and honestly, this is all new to me. People in the management, they’ll tell me how well it’s doing, and I’m like ‘Is that good?’ Because I don’t know what any of it means,” he laughed. “I’m still learning the whole business aspect of things. But I couldn’t be more proud of it.”
So now, with a genuine hit under his belt, Phillips is turning his attention to his debut album, writing in-between dates on the “Idols Live!” tour and trying to build on the success of that gigantic first single. And though that prospect may seem daunting, he’s not letting expectations get to his head. Much like pretty much everything, it’s been a learning experience, first and foremost.
“I’ve written with people who aren’t like me, then I’ve written with people who totally get it. It’s like a blind date, and you never know what’s going to happen,” he said. “But it’s really cool because they learn from you and you learn a little bit from them. And sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t. I’m more critical about my writing, and I’ve worked with some people who are even more critical, and I like that. You just learn new things from different people … I’ve worked with some cool people so far.”
And while there’s still no firm release date or title for his debut disc — “I may just call it Songs,” — Phillips said that the fans who fell in love with him during his run on “Idol” won’t be disappointed. And neither will those who have embraced “Home.” Expectations be damned, he’s just hoping to make the best record possible … one that, above all else, reflects him.
“There’s a couple of tunes similar to ‘Home,’ maybe I don’t know if they’re quite as sing-a-long, but they’ve got the same feel — hopefully, the ones I’m talking about make it on the album,” he said. “And there’s a lot of other ones that represent what I did on the show; they have the sax in it, the horn section with the electric guitar, the cool drum sounds, because I love crazy drum parts … it’s a little mixture of both.
“I just want to put out something that represents me. That’s the biggest thing. I don’t want to put out something that I’m going to look back and be like ‘Man, I wish I would have had more time to put this kind of section in there, or that kind of part in there,’ ” he continued. “But I really want to be proud of it and be like ‘Yeah, that’s my stuff.’ And hopefully people will enjoy it as much as I will.”