Taylor Hicks’ New Single, A New Album is Coming (Exclusive)

Taylor Hicks Alabama Hall of Fame

American Idol 2006 Winner Taylor Hicks ready to release new music after 14 years

Taylor Hicks hasn’t released an album of new songs since his 2009 set, The Distance. But his fans–dubbed “the soul patrol”–can rejoice. The American Idol season 5 winner recently dropped “Porch Swing,” his first official single in 14 years. What’s more, the singer promises a new album is coming soon.

The new song dropped on Feb 20, with a debut performance on the syndicated radio show, The Bobby Bones Show. “Porch Swing” initially surfaced when Taylor appeared as himself and performed the song in Samuel Goldwyn Films’ 2021 movie Stars Fell on Alabama.

I got a chance recently to chat with Taylor about the new song and what’s coming next. Spoiler alert! Taylor will finally release a new album, targeted for later this year.

Taylor recorded “Porch Swing,” written with Runaway June’s Jennifer Wayne and Jason Deere (Little Big Town, Lady A and LeAnn Rimes), about five years ago at Zac Brown’s Southern Ground studio in Nashville. The ballad marries the sounds of country and soul, drawing comparisons to artists like Jackson Browne, Chris Stapleton and Tyler Childers.

“I have a whole album’s worth of new music”

The decision to release “Porch Swing” now happened after former American Idol mentor and radio personality Bobby Bones mentioned Taylor on his show.

“I have a whole album’s worth of new music,” said Taylor. “I’ve been really patient, and I’m always waiting on a vehicle for music.” He continued, “Interestingly enough, right before Christmas, Bobby Bones was talking about Idol, and said ‘where’s Taylor’…people started texting me, and he reached out to us and wanted me on his show.”

Taylor viewed the invitation as a perfect time to debut a new song. “I thought to myself, ‘this is meant to be’ I felt that “Porch Swing” was a really strong representation of the record and the way that the record sounds and I felt like it was one of the stronger, catchier songs. I asked him if I could premiere “Porch Swing” on his show. And we were off and running with a new single for the record. The decision to release happened really organically.”

“This wasn’t force feeding the music”

“This wasn’t force feeding the music,” said Taylor. “This was something that actually happened organically, and I ran with it.”

Taylor happily debuted the song on Bobby’s show. “I respect his musical prowess and I respect what he does and his grind. And also the fact that he’s like, the last true A&R guy in the business. He believes in his songs. It’s not commercialized. He’s a tastemaker in a really great sense of the word and that’s tough to come by these days.”

The big question I had for Taylor: Why has 14 years passed since the release of his last album?

“I feel like this particular record needs to have hits on it”

“I’ve been collecting songs, writing songs,” he said. The album includes songs he wrote over the past 10 years, recorded the old fashioned way, reel to ree in analog. “I’ve been playing a ton of live music,” he said. “And doing things within the business.” He added, “I’m old enough now to know that I have to put the best collections of songs together. I come from a very old school mentality. I feel like this particular record needs to have hits on it.”

“I’m an independent artist. The hits are going to stand the test of time,” he said. “If I have the time to really work on, collect and create really good solid music instead of putting out something every 3 or 4 weeks in this climate, then I know that the arc of my career will be longer and long lasting,” Taylor said. “I think there’s some really great music on this record.”

“I’ve had Chris Stapleton blazing a trail for the Southern soul sound”

Consider that Bonnie Raitt, a soulful Americana artist won the Song of the Year Grammy in 2023 for her song “Just Like That.” Taylor feels the climate is right for his brand of soulful southern music. “I think there’s an audience that’s getting older in country music and Americana,” he said. “Luckily during this time…I’ve had Chris Stapleton blazing a trail for the Southern soul sound. Tyler Childress, Sturgill Simpson. All…trailblazing this path through music that I really just grew up and fell in line with. That’s a very fortunate position to be in.”

“Songwriting is not easy,” Taylor admitted, “And great songs are hard to come by. They’re not just thrown out and written over lunch at Arnold’s café in Nashville. I think there’s a big listening audience out there that’s really craving ‘three chords and the truth.’”

“I think there’s a hit or two on this record”

As far as a new album is concerned, it’s recorded, and now releasing it is a matter of timing. “I feel like I’ve got enough instincts in this business to know that there’s a hit or two on this record. I’m excited to see how “Porch Swing” does.”

“I’ve got another song waiting in the wings,” Taylor teased. “I just have this instinctual feeling that there could be a career song on this record. I think there’s going to be some songs that let me work a little bit longer.”

Taylor plans to promote the album organically. “The way that I’m going about it is really grass roots. If you love the song, play it. There’s not going to be a shiny new boat waiting at the end of the dock for you,” he said “The way I’m going about this is very old school. I’m going to let the universe take the music where it may. It’s a long runway for this.”

Taylor hopes to release the new album this year

The singer doesn’t have a release date for the album yet. “I know that it’s going to be hopefully this year. I think there may be another single, just depending. But I believe this year.”

The album is all new music and one cover, which the legendary musician, Carlos Santana suggested he record. “I sat in with Santana six or seven years ago,” Taylor teased, “There’s a song on the record that Santana directed me to perform and I’ve got some really cool special artists on that.”

The song is “Strawberry Letter 23” written and recorded by Shuggie Otis in 1971. The song became a big radio hit in 1977 when The Brothers Johnson recorded a cover version.

“Santana was kind of a musical mentor”

“Santana was kind of a musical mentor,” Taylor explained. The legendary musician suggested a couple of songs for Taylor to cover and he put one of them on the record. “There was a little bit of Santana prowess in this music too, which is cool.” The cover, he said, “kind of soothes my Jam Band feels.”

Once the album is released, Taylor plans to tour behind it. But he plays plenty of shows in the meantime, including corporate gigs. “I love doing those. Sometimes I’ll branch off and do a Van Morrison or Bob Seger set. They love that. I’ll bring the band with me. It’s been good to me, because it’s kept the bills paid. I’m coming up on about 20 years in show business believe it or not.”

And now that he has new music out, Taylor would love to appear on American Idol. “I definitely want to come back and say hello and possibly mentor,” he said. “I don’t know if they’ll be happy about what I’ll say. That might be a good thing!”

Taylor set to make his Opry debut

Right after we spoke, Taylor headed off on an Armed Forces Entertainment Tour. “We’ll be gone two weeks to Southwest Asia. I’m super excited about it.” Also, Taylor is heading toward a major milestone. The singer will perform at the Grand Ole Opry for the first time ever on June 16. “So excited to announce my @opry debut will be on June 16th!” Taylor wrote on Instagram.

In the meantime, Taylor continues to audition for acting roles. After hosting the INSP food show State Plate–which ran for 3 seasons and can be streamed on Roku, Amazon Prime, Peacock and more–he’s pitching food travel series to networks.

He also co-owns Saw’s Juke Joint in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, which he describes as another “side hustle.” Men’s Journal crowned it one of the “25 Best Barbecue Spots in America.” The restaurant chain survived the pandemic. “I always like to say in Alabama people let you know if you can do three things: Sing, throw a football and cook. If you can cook good barbeque through a pandemic, you got something special. We’ve been able to manage it.”

Taylor chuckled, “You know what’s funny? I think somebody came out—a journalist when I won Idol—watch Taylor be the cockroach that outlasts them all. I never will forget that quote.” He added, “It’s always been a journey. I feel like the journeymen in this business have the regard and the most respect because their career takes them through the trials and tribulations and makes you really appreciate the peaks and valleys of this business. I always have had that journeyman mentality and always will.”

About mj santilli 34837 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!