American Idol Phillip Phillips on living the dream while resisting the pressure to change for fame.
After claiming his crown as the Season 11 winner of “American Idol” last spring, Phillip Phillips has hardly slowed down for a moment. He immediately embarked on the “American Idols LIVE” tour with the show’s other nine finalists, which took him from Detroit to Quezon City, Philippines. Back in New York, he joined his own American idol Dave Matthews at the One World concert honoring the Dalai Lama, then headed to San Francisco to sing the National Anthem at the opening game of the 2012 World Series before his debut album, “The World From the Side of the Moon,” debuted in November 2012. The 22-year-old singer-songwriter is spending this summer on the road with John Mayer for his Born & Raised Tour, including a July 9 show at St. Louis’ Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.
Through it all, Phillips’ number one goal is to stay true to himself. It can’t be easy, considering that a couple of years ago this Georgia native was working at the family business, playing a couple of shows a week with his brothers-in-law and trying to figure out what to do with his life. Now, he’s performing for thousands on stages that he once visited as a fan. When questioned about dealing with criticism or how he plans to steer his suddenly booming music career, he again and again answers simply: “I’m just gonna be me.”
ALIVE: Your first single, “Home,” has been hugely popularÛÓthe best-selling coronation song in “American Idol” historyÛÓbut it has a very different sound from the rest of the music that you write. How do you feel about that?
PP: I’m thankful for “Home,” and it’s gotten my foot in the door for so many things. It’s helped so many other people out in the world, as well. I’ll always be thankful for that. But people seem to like a lot of the songs I write that are more rock influenced than folk. That’s just me, and that’s what I kind of did on the show, as well. I like changing songs up and making them more “me.”
ALIVE: Is there anything you’re dying to ask John Mayer while you’re on tour together this summer?
PP: I’m looking forward to meeting him and maybe getting to know him a little bit. I guess I’d like to see how he deals with a lot of things, like staying on the road and taking care of yourself. And a little bit about the business side, as well.
ALIVE: Which destinations on the tour are you most excited about?
PP: I’m looking forward to going to Atlanta, because I’ve been to a lot of shows at the theater we’re playing at. Also, Red Rocks [Amphitheater in Colorado] and The Gorge [Amphitheater in Washington]ÛÓI’m really looking forward to those. It’s going to be very weird for me to be playing on those stages just because I’ve been to [shows at] a few of those venues.
ALIVE: Do you plan to continue performing as a singer-songwriter, or do you see yourself shifting to more of a traditional rock group?
PP: I’m just going to keep doing my thing and writing songs as best I can and have a blast up on stage. I want to have certain guys who stay on the tour with me instead of trading out and getting a new band every tour, or whatever. I want to build those friendships and to get the band feel, so we can all get to know each other musically and have a lot more fun. I’m building these friendships right now with the band and we have a great time on stage…it’s open, it’s free. We don’t like to play the same way all the timeÛÓwe like to change it up and add little things here and there in the music just to have fun and keep it fresh.
ALIVE: How is your hometown fan base reacting to your new worldwide fame?
PP: Everybody’s cool, and they still treat me how I used to be before everything happened. They’re all just really proud of me.
Photo credit: Nino Munoz/FOX