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Taylor Hicks is an American singer-songwriter who rose to fame after his win on the fifth season of American Idol.
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Taylor Hicks was born on October 7, 1976, in Birmingham, Alabama. He recorded two albums and struggled to establish himself in the music business before his big break on the fifth season of American Idol. Three weeks after Hicks's triumphant win, his first single, "Do I Make You Proud," debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles. In 2006, Hicks released a self-titled album that debuted at No. 2 charts and went platinum.
Singer, songwriter and musician. Taylor Hicks was born on October 6, 1976 in Birmingham, Alabama. Hicks' parents, Brad and Pamela, divorced when he was 8 years old, and he was raised by his father and stepmother Linda. Shortly after his parents' divorce, Hicks discovered Ray Charles' music on the radio. Charles' woe-filled voice helped him cope with the divorce. While his friends began listening to contemporary rock bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana, Hicks continued to prefer the retro soul sounds of Charles, Marvin Gaye and Sam Cooke. Hicks remembers that his friends did not understand his childhood music tastes, "but their parents did."
Drawn to performance from a very young age, Taylor Hicks would follow his father to the office where he worked as a dentist and offer to sing and dance for anyone who would listen. "He thought he was the white Michael Jackson," his father recalls. Gifted with perfect pitch, Hicks taught himself blues harmonica and guitar at the age of 16 by playing off different sounds he heard throughout the day. "I would find, like, the key that an airplane flying overhead was in or the sound of a running car," he remembers. He then embarked on a surreptitious music career, sneaking out at night to perform at local bars. His father and stepmother discovered his secret performances when they went out to a Mexican restaurant late one night when Hicks was supposed to be at home. Onstage they saw a lanky, longhaired teenager wailing on the harmonica. His father recalls staring in disbelief before calmly pronouncing, "Well, there's Taylor."
Standing 6-foot 1-inch by the time he entered Hoover High School, Hicks was a tri-sport varsity athlete in baseball, basketball and soccer. Hicks also developed prematurely gray hair in high school. Many people suggested that he simply dye his hair to hide the gray, but Hicks refused. "What you see is what you get," he said. In 1995, Hicks graduated from high school and enrolled at Auburn University to study journalism and business. He spent three years at Auburn and almost completed his degree before ultimately deciding to drop out to pursue a music career.
After dropping out of college, Hicks spent a decade struggling to make it as a musician. He played briefly in a band called Passing Through before quitting to strike it out on his own. He traveled around the southeastern United States, playing small shows in clubs and bars, and trying to land a record deal. Hicks self-produced two albums during this period, In Your Time (1997) and Under the Radar (2005), but a big break eluded him, and he failed to make ends meet with the pocket change he earned from his music.
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