Taylor Reuben Hicks (born October 7, 1976) is an American singer who achieved fame in 2006 as a contestant on the fifth season of American Idol, which he won later that year. Hicks got his start as a professional musician in his late teens and performed around the Southeastern United States for well over the span of a decade, during which he also released two independent albums. Upon winning Idol, he was signed to Arista Records, under which his self-titled major label debut was released on December 12, 2006. His energetic stage performances and influences derived from classic rock, blues, and R&B music had earned him a following of devout fans, who have been dubbed the "Soul Patrol." He is currently on tour in Grease playing Teen Angel, the role originated by Alan Paul. The new CD, The Distance, was released March 10, 2009, with the first single, "What's Right Is Right", going to AC adds January 27, 2009. The second single was confirmed to be "Seven Mile Breakdown" via his myspace page.
Taylor Hicks was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on October 7, 1976, to Bradley Hicks and Pamela Dickinson. His hair started turning gray by the time he was 14. He and his family had moved to suburban Hoover, Alabama when he was eight years old. His parents divorced, and stepmother Linda shared custody of their son until he became of age. Hicks has attributed his difficult childhood as the reason for his turning to soul and blues music for solace. He has a younger half-brother, Sean, who later convinced him to audition for American Idol.
He bought his first harmonica when he was 16, for $2 at a flea market in Bessemer, Alabama, and taught himself to play blues harp. He discovered that he possessed absolute pitch when he was able to recognize the pitches of ordinary noises and mimic them on the harmonica. Hicks was 18 when he wrote his first song, "In Your Time", and he taught himself to play guitar when he was 19.