You can always find your way back home

Published 2:27 pm Monday, January 30, 2023

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It was on Jan. 14 that I went to see Taylor Hicks at the Song Theater at the Shelby County Arts Council. Hicks played to a packed, yet intimate audience.

The season-five winner of American Idol was interactive with the crowd, making sure to joke and speak with the audience in between songs. He kept the energy high and comedic, playing a variety of covers in addition to original songs.

Hicks spoke on the importance of playing to smaller audiences and how it is easier to feel as though you are having a conversation with those in attendance when you are in more intimate settings as an artist.

“It gives me a chance to work one-on-one with the audience. You can carry that and use it in a bigger setting,” Hicks said. “I have been able to work on conversational material in between songs.

Hicks, an Alabama native, said he feels comfortable in the state and is able to offer more inside jokes to the crowd.

“It just feels like home,” he said. “It’s a lot easier in these kinds of settings when you’re in your home state because you automatically have something in common, which makes it easier to entertain folks.”

Hicks claiming his roots despite launching into stardom during his 2006 season of American Idol is an inspiration to me. As a child, I watched American Idol religiously. I was obsessed with singing and talent competitions and would vote on my mother’s flip phone every week for who I felt should be the next American Idol. My mother still tells the story of seeing him in the Birmingham airport one day and feeling star struck. Meeting Taylor Hicks served as a full circle moment for me and reminded me of my childhood when I was entirely enamored with my reality television stars.

Hicks said he enjoys going back to the places that he grew up playing when he was first starting his career such as the Flora Bama Lounge.

“I like paying my respects,” he said. “Because you spend all that time in there thinking about how you’ll get out of there. Once you get the opportunity to graduate and move on, it’s always fun going back.”

Hicks still claiming his roots despite launching into stardom serves as an inspiration to me. Any time I have ever met a star I look up to, I have always been so pleasantly surprised by their humility and ability to claim where they originated from.

Identifying with your hometown and celebrating where you came from is an important thing, and I wish we saw more of that today. We could all learn a thing or two from Hicks.

Taylor Hicks still seems to identify heavily with Alabama and his loyalty to where he started and for that, we are so grateful.