Phillip Phillips Worked Overtime Not To ‘Suck’ On ‘Idol’ Debut, Moon

'I'm pretty scared,' the 'American Idol' champ says of expectations for his debut disc, The World From the Side of the Moon.

Thanks to the success of his hit single “Home,” Phillip Phillips could have done whatever he wanted on The World From the Side of the Moon, his post-”American Idol” debut. Instead, he decided to he was going to focus on one rather key goal:

“I just tried my best not to make it suck,” he laughed.

Mission accomplished. Because Moon, which hits stores Monday (November 19), most certainly does not suck. In fact, it is probably the most oddly assured “Idol” debut to come down the pipe in a while, one that seems almost preordained to break the recent sales slump that has befallen previous champions. And yet, not surprisingly, Phillips himself is remaining humble … in fact, you might say he’s even pessimistic about the album’s chances of hitting big.

“Man, I’m pretty scared; I’m nervous and excited, all these emotions going at once, because it’s something that really represents me — I wrote everything but two songs — and, you know, it’s kind of nerve-wracking putting yourself out there,” he said. “But it’s also exciting because I want people to hear what I have to offer. I guess it’s because I’m [a] new [artist], but, shoot, next album I’ll probably be just as scared.”

Of course, while he was making the album, he didn’t have time to focus on those fears … after all, he recorded the thing at a breakneck pace, finishing just in time to meet Interscope’s deadline. But, in a way, that schedule helped Phillips strip away any second thoughts and just go with his gut, yet another reason why the album succeeds in spades.

“I had a talk with [Interscope chairman and "Idol" mentor] Jimmy [Iovine] about the album, because there was mixed communications; either we were going to get it out next year, like January or February, then it was December, then it was back to January or February, then finally they said ‘We want to get it out November 19,’ and I was like ‘Woah …’ because that was, like, four weeks away,” he laughed. “So I only had three weeks to do the album; So I went in the studio, with Gregg Wattenberg, who’s a great guy. We would get tired, man, we’d walk into the studio just looking beat up, but we’d be like ‘Man, we’re going to do this.’ From starting the guitars to mastering in three weeks, it was hectic, but we got it done, and I can’t be more proud of it.”

And that pride even extends to The World From the Side of the Moon’s rather puzzling title (for the record, it’s the first line on the album), which had fans scratching their heads when Phillips revealed it last month. But, hey, he’s sticking by it … even if he might go a different route for album number two. Because Phillips will be the first to admit that he’s still got plenty to learn about this whole “famous hitmaker” thing.

“Yeah, I saw the reactions, and it was pretty funny. They were like ‘That’s a stupid title, it doesn’t even mean anything!’ And I’m like ‘You have no idea what’s even on the album, so how do you know it doesn’t mean anything?’” he sighed. “Maybe they still don’t know what it means, who knows? But it represents for me, like, watching myself on this whole past year, how I’ve grown as a person and an artist, and, uh, I really like the title, I thought it was interesting … [but] maybe I’ll go with something different the next time around.”

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