[interview] Phillips Phillips finds ‘Home’ success ‘pretty insane’

Phillips Phillips has broken out of the gate with “Home.” NBC frequently uses the uplifting song during the Olympics.

Phillips and his fellow “Idol” contestants are playing Orlando. The American Idol Live! concert starts at 7 p.m. Thursday (tonight) at Amway Center. Phillips earlier Thursday visited the American Idol Experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

He won fans with his down-to-earth style and weathered kidney problems to take the title. Here’s the question-and-answer with him.

How does it feel to be an “American Idol” winner?

It’s pretty unreal for me. People notice me, and I’m trying to get used to that. It’s fun meeting fans and new people. It’s exciting. I never thought any of this would happen.

Have you heard “Home” on the Olympics?

I’ve heard a lot about it, but I’ve hardly watched any of the Olympics. It’s an honor for them to use that song, and I’m so proud of it and how well it has done.

When will we see your first album?

We’re trying for the end of November or beginning of December.

How much will be your music on the album?

So far, there’s mostly stuff that I’ve just written myself, and I’ve been writing with other writers. You get some new flavors in. Still trying to find the right writers. Some of ‘em don’t really click, some do. I’m really excited. It’s going to be kind of jazz-rock. Some acoustic songs as well. Maybe a couple of songs similar to ‘Home.’ I’m really excited about it. I want to proud of something that represents me. I’m really critical of lyrics and music.

You hear “Home” everywhere. How do you feel about that?

It’s so insane. It’s pretty amazing. I never thought any of this would ever happen. Just to see the song do so well and people have different connections to it. It’s pretty amazing to hear their stories and to see how well it’s done. And people are already doing covers of it on YouTube, which is weird.

How is the tour going?

The tour is going really well. It’s very busy, sleeping when we can. But it’s a lot of fun and seeing all the different cities. Seattle was awesome. Orlando is amazing. St. Louis, Denver, it’s been cool.

“Idol” will be a different show with new judges. What do you think?

I’m curious to see how it’s going to pan out. Mariah Carey, I’m curious to see how she’ll be judging. I’m sure there’s going to be some great talent.

What about the judges who departed? I was surprised to hear Steven Tyler say it wasn’t his cup of tea.

I think he really enjoyed it. But he also is ready to do his own gigs and touring, because that’s what he’s done his whole life. That’s what he loves. He’s a true artist. He told me to be always be myself, don’t be scared to be who you are even though you might be different and strange. He’s an amazing guy, and so is Randy [Jackson]. Jennifer [Lopez] is amazing. She told to keep doing my thing.

You haven’t changed your wardrobe?

No, not really.

How would you describe your wardrobe choices?

Very simple. Regular. Not a lot of stripes or crazy things. I’m a very simple guy. I don’t like putting on many clothes. The less clothes is the best.

How is your health?

My health is coming along well. I’m still taking it slow. The doctor said to take it slow. It was hard throughout the show, but I had a lot of great doctors.

Were you in danger of leaving the show?

A couple of times.

Are you 100 percent?

I’m getting there.

What was the highlight of the show beyond winning?

You learned something from each contestant. You got to meet some amazing musicians and singers and artists. That was a great thing. The producers and camera people were really great people. I was going into it thinking, ‘These people are probably going to be snobby because it’s Hollywood.’ They are fun people and they want you to have a good time.

What about the famous people you sang with?

We performed with Queen, which is awesome. I got to meet Stevie Nicks, and she is a sweetheart. She is a sweet woman. She did her homework … She critiqued us, and she told us what she thought. She was a true mentor.

How soon might we hear a second single from you?

I’m hoping pretty soon. It’s been tough, being on the road and touring so much. I’m ready to get some production done on a couple of tunes.

What advice do you give to contestants?

Before you try out, make sure what kind of artist you want to be and what kind of music you want to go into. Just stay strong in it and be who you are.

Credits: orlandosentinel.com