Phillip Phillips interview with The Hollywood Reporter

Lots of artists let themselves go while recording an album. It might mean growing out a beard, wearing your favorite jeans several days in a row or shaking off all your inhibitions as you put pen to paper and voice to track. In Phillip Phillips’ case, it’s all of the above.

“I kind of got lazy,” Phillip Phillips tells The Hollywood Reporter of his increasingly fuzzy facial hair.

“I’m probably going to shave it soon. I actually need a haircut, too, but I want to keep my hair as long as possible, because I’ll probably be bald soon.”

Hardly, but the 22-year-old Leesburg, Georgia native may bear more of himself in other ways. Namely, the songs on his debut album, The World From the Side of the Moon, nearly all of which he wrote or co-wrote. Among Phillips’ collaborators: producer Gregg Wattenberg, who’s worked extensively with Chris Daughtry and Train, “Home” songwriters Greg Holden and Drew Pearson, who teamed up for the rollicking “Can’t Go Wrong” and his girlfriend, Hannah Blackwell.

“She helped me with a song called ‘Take Me Away,’” says Phillips. “It’s not on the core album but a bonus for the Target album.” Phillips says the pining track — which includes the lines “You’re all I wanna see / All I wanna touch and feel in every way” — came from a poem Blackwell wrote about him.

As for the lyric he’s most proud of, that comes from a song called “Tell Me a Story,” which Phillips wrote with David Ryan Harris. “I had all the music written,” he says of the melodic track accentuated by a scratchy vocal, strings and a Mumford-meets-Dave Matthews vibe. “The first verse and the chorus were written, I just didn’t have a second verse. So David Ryan, who plays with John Mayer a lot, came in there, we got to know each other a bit, and I showed him what I had. He started pushing me to write more and after a couple of days, this came to me one night: ‘Hope is just a ray of what everyone should see / Alone is the street where you found me / Scared of what’s behind you / Scared of what’s in front / Live with what you have now / Make the best of what’s to come.’ “

Phillips says it’s just one of the songs he hopes “people connect with,” but there’s plenty more material to tug on the heartstrings, including “Wanted is Love,” “A Fool’s Dance” and “Man on the Moon,” all accentuated by the sounds of strings — violins, cellos, banjos and many acoustic guitars — sometimes horns (saxophone, trumpet) and Phillips’ distinctive breathy vocal style. The singer sat down with THR to talk about the forthcoming release (due out Nov. 19) and where he sees his future.

The Hollywood Reporter: First, where did the album title, The World From the Side of the Moon, come from?

Phillip Phillips: It’s a lyric from the first song on the album, “Man on the Moon.” I was going through all the lyrics because I had to make decisions at a quick pace, and it kind of stuck out to me. I asked a few friends and they liked it. People might compare it to Dark Side of the Moon, but as long as I have a different album cover of the sun with my face looking down at the Earth, it’ll be okay.

THR: What does it mean?

I was starting to think about all I had been through, and someone gave me some DVDs of the whole [Idol] season, so I was kind of watching myself from a whole different world that no one else really knows. It’s interesting to see how it happened and so fast. That’s how I picked the title: I felt like I watched myself grow and this whole album is representing where I am.

THR: Did I hear right, you recorded the whole album in three weeks?

Yes. We just finished it. From first cutting acoustic guitars to last week, it was exactly three weeks. Like I said, I was pressured on time, but it kind of helped the sound. We didn’t overanalyze things or overproduce anything, we kept it raw.

THR: And you went with one producer, Gregg Wattenberg…

Great guy — just down-to-earth, and he made me feel home. We had a really good connection, he would listen and we’d figure out. It was a great learning experience.

THR: You recorded in the heart of Manhattan, which is surprising for a Georgia boy. Did the city seep into the songs?

I loved it! Honestly, I like New York a lot better than L.A., but I had the songs already written so it was a matter of getting in there and doing it. Now when I write I might feed off that, but I haven’t written since we got done.

THR: What did you expect the recording studio experience to be like and what was it really like?

I honestly didn’t know. I would record with my brother-in-law a bit at home, but nothing professional. It was interesting. Something I didn’t expect was this guy Dave Edgar played cello on almost every song on the album so I think I’ve got to get a cello player now.

THR: What was the most challenging part?

We would get tired because we were working like 15 hours a day, or even more. Me and Greg, we’d just look at each other all worn out and sometimes he would tell me, “We’re gonna do this, it’s gonna be alright.” That was probably the toughest part. Just getting as much done as we could because we had a time limit.

THR: Greg Holden and Drew Pearson wrote “Home,” which became a huge hit for you. What was it like to work with them directly this time?

We all got in a room and I showed them an idea of the guitar part, started singing the verses and we just wrote the lyrics together. It’s called “Can’t Go Wrong,” and I really like that song. It’s similar to “Home.” We all had a good time getting to know each other. This is all new for all three of us. … They understood where I was in my situation, and I understood where they were.

THR: But just the fact that the song is as big as it is, they must be so stoked.

They are. They were telling me it’s done great things for them. But they wrote it, like, a year ago. They didn’t expect any of this to ever happen so it’s just amazing.

THR: It’s been five months since you won American Idol, is it everything you thought it would be?

It’s a great experience, but it’s tough. Watching it on television on season ten, I was like, “Yeah, I could probably do that,” once it’s the real deal and you’re actually doing it, it’s not easy. You’re working 12 to 13 hour days, recording, waiting, a lot of hurry-up-and-wait. But it really helps you with the media and perfecting your performances. The worst part is you’re on live TV, because I messed up so many times on the show. I tried to pull it off and you can sneak it by people … hopefully.

THR: Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?

On a stage somewhere. I’m a live guy, I like playing out so hopefully I’ll just be touring out a lot. If people will want to come see me, that would be awesome.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Phillip Phillips On Access Hollywood

Phillip was on Access Hollywood, check out the full interview bellow.

It’s been nearly three months since Phillip Phillips scooped the title of American Idol, but the frugal crooner has yet to go on a spending spree.

‘All I’ve gotten is a Mac [computer], so far,’ the singer told Access Hollywood Live’s Billy Bush and Kit Hoover in New York on Thursday. ‘I usually save money. I’m not a big spender. It’s either gonna be on food or something.’

Phillip’s “American Idol” song, “Home,” became a hit again thanks to NBC using it during the network’s Summer Olympics coverage, and the artist was happy to see his song climb back up the charts – from the 80s to No. 1 at one point, during the games.

‘It gave it another life and I’m so thankful that they wanted to use it and it’s such an honor,’ he said.

But, Phillip hasn’t seen a financial windfall from the cut to date.

‘I haven’t seen any of it yet,’ he laughed.

Phillip is currently on the “American Idol Live!” tour, and he told Billy and Kit he is trying to really indulge in his downtime when he can, to continue his recovery from kidney surgery, which he underwent in June.

‘It’s going really well, man,’ he said. ‘I’m just taking it easy and taking it slow when I can and just getting better each day and having fun on tour.’

He also, once again, credited his long term girlfriend (a nursing student) for continuing to keep him on a path to getting well.

‘She’s a sweetheart. She watches after me,’ he said.


Credits:  NBC Universal, Inc / accesshollywood / Jolie Lash

Phillip Phillips interview for ‘Idols Live’ tour

“American Idol” winner and Leesburg native Phillip Phillips is a man of few words.

But he’s not a brooding, Clint Eastwood type. He’s more of the aw-shucks, happy-go-lucky variety of star.

He’ll bring his humble charm and musical chops Sunday to the sold-out “Idols Live” tour stop at Gwinnett Arena in Duluth.

And since he’s still recuperating from intensive kidney stone removal surgery a few weeks ago, he’s also going to be a man of economy in terms of movement. You won’t be seeing him running around or busting out any fancy dance steps on stage – or off.

“I’m just getting as much rest as I can, taking it slow,” he said, in a phone interview last week from a tour date in Glendale, Ariz.

During the interview, he discussed his “Idol” experience, desire to be a working musician and his upcoming first album:

AJC: You have now done 15 cities out of 45. How’s it been going?

Phillips: It’s been a lot of fun. And tiring also. We’re all getting as much sleep as we can. It’s coming along very well.”

AJC: I know you get this question every day since you had your kidney surgery but how are you feeling?

Phillips: I’m doing good. I really don’t try to do much.

AJC: Are the other “Idol” contestants bugging you about it?

Phillips: They’ll hassle me over it a little bit but not too much. They’re there to take care of me. It’s all good.

AJC: How comfortable is the tour bus?

Phillips: It’s very comfortable. We all sleep like babies. The guys do, at least. The worst part is if we have only a two-hour drive to the next city and have to wake up to go into the hotel. I prefer when we have long drives.

AJC: You were an early favorite to win the show and you did. Did any of that cross your mind while you were competing?

Phillips: Man. I tried not to think of anything like that when I was on the show. I just went out there each week playing music. It’s just a TV show. We were all out doing our best. People would get upset over who was eliminated. We all support each other. I honestly blocked out everything.

AJC: How much time have you spent in Georgia since you won the show?

Phillips: Zero percent. None. I’m excited to come to Duluth, eat some Southern food somewhere.

AJC: I expect a lot of your friends and family are coming up from Leesburg?

Phillips: We get a day off so I’ll get to spend some time with friends and family. I’m really excited to see them.

AJC: Have you had much of a chance to see your girlfriend?

Phillips: We’ve seen each other a few times. She’s doing great, supporting me 100 percent.

AJC: How long did it take after your surgery before you could sing or play guitar?

Phillips: It was at least two to three weeks. I couldn’t even bend over or anything. It would hurt to sit up. I just sat and stared at the TV or the walls for hours. I got a little paranoid! It was horrible. I hope the rest paid off.

AJC: Are there any foods you can’t eat?

Phillips: Mostly anything with calcium. I can’t take too much caffeine. And I can’t drink too much sweet tea, which sucks. I love sweet tea- especially my mom’s sweet tea.

AJC: How likely will it be that you’ll have more kidney stones?

Phillips: We’re working on preventing it. I may have them my whole life. I just have to prevent them from getting too big so they can pass.

AJC: You don’t get on stage until 90 minutes into the show. What do you do until then?

Phillips: It depends on the day. I might write. Sometimes, I’ll watch a movie.

AJC: How far along are you on the album?

Phillips: We’ve recorded 15 songs I’ve written. I’m still writing, trying to get as many songs as possible.

AJC: What type of music should we expect?

Phillips: It’s going to be rock with jazz and funk. Some songs will be acoustic. We’re still messing around with the songs. I’m excited to get them out there.

AJC: You haven’t travelled much before this tour. What’s been your favorite food so far?

Phillips: I ate some Chicago-style pizza for the first time. It was pretty different, took me a few bites to get used to it. I actually liked it.

AJC: Do you enjoy being on the road?

Phillips: I am. I am getting to see so many different cities. I’m not trying to be a huge star. If it happens, it happens. I just want to play music for the rest of my life and make a living at it.

AJC: Are you looking forward to your own tour bus?

Phillips: If I can afford it? Else, I can see myself driving little vans!

AJC: What’s it like being fawned over like a rock star?

Phillips: It’s strange to have people wanting my picture or autograph. I’m still feeling weird about it. But I love meeting new people. It’s just fun to get to hear their stories. They inspire me to keep going and keep writing music and keep doing my thing.

Credits: AJC