American Idol, Taylor Hicks, Partners with the Red Cross

Alabama’s had a tough year, from the oil spill in the Gulf last April to the recent spate of tornadoes that tore through the area. Taylor Hicks has always been there for his home state, ready to offer his name and his time in any way he can.

His latest effort is a partnership with the Red Cross at his show on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at the City Winery in NY City. When concert-goers buy a limited edition bottle of Cabernet, $15 will go directly to the Alabama Tornado Relief fund. The Red Cross will also be taking donations at the event.

I recently spoke with Taylor Hicks after a particularly busy week. His restaurant. Ore, opened in Birmingham, he participated in a golf tournament, headlined several shows and made a guest appearance in New Orleans.

Caryl: I read your tweet about an upcoming benefit concert for Alabama.

Taylor: I just got some information today on it. It’s not announced yet cuz they’re still figuring out all the names and stuff. I’m excited about it. I hope it comes together.

Caryl: Your family’s OK as far as the tornadoes..?

Taylor: Everyone’s either been affected directly or indirectly by it. In Alabama you either know somebody or hear about somebody. Whether it’s a family member or a friend of a friend — it’s just really sad.

Caryl: Yes, I agree. You must be exhausted. You’ve had such a busy schedule lately. A lot going on.

Taylor: A lot of good stuff. It’s great to get out on the bus and tour and it’s also nice to do a golf tournament for your home town. It’s also nice to go to New Orleans and play with a bunch of great musicians. It’s all fun. I really am very blessed.

Caryl: Yes, that’s for sure. And now you’re back on the road. I know you’ve said in the past that it’s impossible to write music on the bus. Are you trying anyway?

Taylor: With the schedule that I’ve had in the past six or seven days it’s been impossible to find a really good groove — it’s hard, but you know, the writing process will happen. It’s already started to happen and it’s going to keep happening.

Caryl: What’s your writing process like? Do you write lyrics and then hand it off to somebody or do you all just sit in a room together and work together — ?

Taylor: It depends upon the person — I’ve done all kinds of co-writing, from people sending me parts of a songs — to sitting in a room with people — to just writing.

Caryl: Do you think you’ll be trying out any new songs during this tour?

Taylor: Probably. I think there might be a possibility of that.

Caryl: You know so much about music, I’ve often wondered why you didn’t study music in college. Did you ever think about doing that?

Taylor: I loved it so much, I had to play it, the last thing I wanted to do was study it. I’d like to now. I think that’s a great question. My studying was..you know..performing.

Caryl: Speaking of those college days, I can’t imagine your Dad NOT encouraging you to pursue music. What if you had a child who wanted to be an entertainer, what would you tell them?

Taylor: Get a degree. *laugh*

Caryl: Really? *laugh*

Taylor: I mean, that’s a tough one. You need to have a backup plan. If I had a kid who wanted to be a musician, it’d be kinda hard to argue with them. It’d be like, ”¹…”Right, Dad, like YOU really had a backup plan.’

Caryl: ha!

Taylor: It depends on the talent. I guess we’ll cross those many bridges when we get there.

Caryl: It almost sounds like you regret not getting a degree. Do you feel that way?

Taylor: No! No, I don’t. I think I really knew deep down inside that I needed to learn how to perform live music. But now, my attention span is getting better. My attention span due to ADHD was pretty short. The older you get, the more you can corrale it. Ya know, so with that being said, now would be a good time — *YAWN*

Caryl: You’re exhausted, I can tell.

Taylor: It’s been a long six or seven days, that’s for sure. But it’s all good. Tomorrow I’m gonna relax. Never fear. I’ll find energy somewhere.

Caryl: Id fame what you thought it would be? Maybe you didn’t set out to be famous, maybe you just wanted to perform music. I don’t know.

Taylor: I think there was a determination to be successful. It beats the alternative. I mean, I couldn’t do a lot of things that I get to do.

Caryl: You got to do that Jimmy Fallon spot with Stephen Colbert, for instance.

Taylor: Yeah, that was fun.

Caryl: And you get to do events like the one this Sunday that will benefit tornadoes victims in Alabama.

Taylor: Well, that’s the most important thing I get to do.

From more information go to www.citywinery.com or www.taylorhicks.com