Phillip Phillips: The Billboard Cover Story

The ‘Home’ star has turned the top-selling coronation song in “American Idol” history into a gold album

During the final week of 2012, the most recent “American Idol” champion, Phillip Phillips, saw his debut album cross the half-million sold mark. It occurred at a rare moment of rest for Phillips, who was enjoying his first break after a nine-month whirl of activity.

Phillips’ “The World From the Side of the Moon” has sold 533,000 copies in six weeks, according to Nielsen SoundScan, making it the fastest-selling debut from an “Idol” winner since the self-titled debut from season-seven champ David Cook sold 811,000 copies in the same time span in 2008.

Where Phillips stands alone is in the success of a single first performed on the show. His coronation song, “Home,” written by Drew Pearson and Greg Holden, has delivered at a level unlike any other track performed by a current “Idol” contestant. It has hit No. 1 on a host of Billboard charts like Hot Digital Songs, Rock Digital Songs, Adult Top 40 and Triple A and reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 (No. 7), Mainstream Top 40 (No. 8) and Adult Contemporary (No. 6), while selling 3.3 million copies, more than any other coronation song.

“The folks at Pulse Recordings brought me a great song and I knew it was perfect for Phillip,” Interscope Geffen A&M chairman Jimmy Iovine says. “Then the Olympics came and”-he lets loose with what can best be described as a train whistle sound: “Woo-hoo!” NBC used “Home” as a music bed for Olympic coverage of the women’s gymnastic team, which helped drive huge gains for the song nine weeks after it sold 278,000 in its debut week. The track leaped to 228,000 downloads sold the week of Aug. 5, up from 40,000, and sold more than 100,000 per week through Sept. 23. Top 40 airplay kicked in in mid-November and it again started posting sales of more than 100,000 units per week.

Phillips, speaking from his home in Leesburg, Ga., where he was resting for a couple of weeks before heading out on the road, says he realized it was a good song as soon as he heard it. The positive, when recording and performing it in the show’s final week, was “that it didn’t feel like a cover.” The negative? “I didn’t have time to let it grow and become my own before we recorded it.”

Touring with nine of his fellow “Idol” contestants from early July through mid-September, Phillips found himself growing more comfortable with the song. “After I had been playing it for quite some time I sat down and played it by myself, learning the ins and outs of the song and looked for a way to make it more of my own. I don’t like playing songs straightforward-I like switching them up.”

Phillips has a heavy-duty touring schedule coming up. He has 10 college dates in January with a four-piece acoustic band, 21 dates opening for Matchbox Twenty from Jan. 29-Feb. 27 and more college shows with an electric band from March through May.

The key for Phillips is to keep expanding musically, leaning on the training he got through jam sessions as teenager. “I always tell people that you have to play shows, you have to do what you can to get out there, and it can’t be about the money,” he says. “Jam out with a band for three or four hours. Do a live gig for food. You have to get out and do it.” Part of that will be seen in the way he toys with “Hold On” and “Man on the Moon”-two of the five songs he wrote solo on his debut-in his concert sets.


Superficially, Phillips fits a stereotype of recent “Idol” winners-guitar strummers from the South who lean toward story-based songs and maneuver through the competition by staying within their comfort zones even during the themed weeks. It worked for season 10’s teen country singer Scotty McCreery, season nine’s folky finalists Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox and the two winners before them, Kris Allen and Cook.

Phillips’ distinction is that he’s the first winner with a sound rooted in jam bands and folk-rock-an alternative to the styles covered on the Fox program. “This wasn’t music you were hearing on the radio,” Iovine says, referring to the show’s run early in the year, which predated the pop acceptance of the Lumineers, Of Monsters and Men and the second Mumford & Sons album. “Phillip is a true artist and the fact that people are embracing his album shows they accept him as an artist.”

When 19 Recordings went through BMG and then Sony-BMG, then-chairman/CEO Clive Davis said the first 300,000 of any winner’s album sales were “a souvenir of the show.” Pushing sales beyond a half-million was the responsibility of the record company and owed to the material and the marketing. If one were to recalculate that based on album sales being two-thirds of what they were in 2002, the year “Idol” debuted, Phillips’ start more closely resembles that of Carrie Underwood than Taylor Hicks.

“I knew what I wanted to do before I tried out for ‘Idol,'” he says. “I had written a lot of the songs before the show. A few co-writes came up and [19 and Interscope executives] knew what they wanted and I think it met the expectations. They understood what kind of album I wanted to make.”

One of those writing sessions was with Gregg Wattenberg, a writer on Daughtry’s “It’s Not Over,” O.A.R.’s “Shattered (Turn the Car Around)” and Goo Goo Dolls’ “Let Love In” whose production credits include Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister” and Five for Fighting’s “Superman (It’s Not Easy).” Together in Wattenberg’s New York studio they wrote “Get Up Get Down” (with Derek Fuhrmann) and “Can’t Go Wrong” with “Home” co-writer Pearson.

The sessions, Phillips says, “helped build our friendship — he’s a goofy guy and I’m a goofy guy — and when I had to come up with a producer, I mentioned him and we made it happen.”

They had three weeks to make the album, and while Phillips co-wrote 10 of the 14 tracks, the label put some songs in front of him he didn’t care for. After he discarded a few of 19’s selections, he was handed “Gone, Gone, Gone” from the pen of Wattenberg, Fuhrmann and Todd Clark; it is his second single. “I’m glad we switched,” he says. “The other ones made me want to scream.”

Phillips says he was surprised at how stressful the making of the album was, yet was pleased how Wattenberg “taught me a lot about production, but let me make a lot of the decisions.”

One could say that somewhat resembled his run on “Idol,” songs from which he believes will remain in his concert sets — Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out,” Usher’s “Nice & Slow,” Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” and Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight.” His attitude toward “Idol,” he believes, was different from most contestants. It wasn’t until he saw season 10’s Casey Abrams, the double bassist/singer who favored Ray Charles and jazzy interpretations of pop (and finished in sixth place), that he could even envision trying out.

“I honestly didn’t think people would like me — I didn’t care what happened on the show,” he says. “It never seemed like a competition. I always made sure I was having fun and the band was having a good time. I didn’t give in to what some people give into — the fame. I went in, played the song and went back and got in bed. I hope it opens doors for other [non-pop singers] to do the show.”

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Source: Billboard

Phillip Phillips nominated for World Music Awards

Phillip’s up for “World’s Best Male Artist” and “World’s Best Song” for the World Music Awards which will take place in Miami on December 20.

According to their Facebook page, the World Music Awards is an “International Music Awards Ceremony honoring the World’s Best-Selling Recording-Artists chosen by fans!”


Best Male:[button color=”eg. black, red, blue, orange, green, silver, pink, brown” link=”!worlds-best-male-artist/c24k4″ target=”_blank”]Click Here to VOTE for Phillip Phillips[/button]

Best Song – ‘Home’:[button color=”eg. black, red, blue, orange, green, silver, pink, brown” link=”!worlds-best-song/cjfu ” target=”_blank”]Click Here to VOTE for Phillip Phillips[/button]

Please be sure to vote. You can vote as many times as you want.

World Music Awards: Twitter | Facebook

Phillip Phillips at ‘All Star Christmas’ in CT

Phillip Phillips performed at 96.5 TIC ‘All Star Christmas’ in WallingfordCT in the last 12/8.

Check out the pictures from Phillip Phillips’ amazing All-Star Christmas performance:

Concert (click on image to see full gallery)



Check out Damon’s (from 96.5 Tic fm)  interview with Phillip Phillips backstage at All-Star Christmas:
[mp3j track=”Phillip’s Interview@″ flip=”y”]

Gone Gone Gone

Hold On

Man on the Moon

Nice & Slow


Source: 96.5 TIC | youtube

Phillip Phillips at F.M. Kirby Center in PA

Phillip Phillips and the other stars of “Let It Show!” brought a pop rock party Sunday to the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

Pop stars Meg and Liz, Chris Wallace and Cody Simpson joined Phillips and local boys The Sunset Villains for 98.5 KRZ’s annual concert. Based on the shrieks and screams throughout the evening, the audience – boasting a strong contingent of teenage girls – highly enjoyed the parade of pop stars, starting with The Sunset Villains.

The most anticipated performers elicited shrieks and screams every time a DJ mentioned their names. So it wasn’t surprising when earsplitting squeals and shouts of “I love you!” accompanied Phillips and his band on stage. The most recent American Idol winner brought a deeper, skilled acoustic guitar sound, starting with “Hold On,” a song from his debut album, “The World from the Side of the Moon.”

“Y’all been having a good time, tonight?” he asked the audience before starting his next selection, the love-affirming “Gone, Gone, Gone.”

Phillips, playing guitar from a stool center stage, continued with “Take Me Away,” a ballad heavy on the cello and slightly reminiscent of a Dave Matthews Band tune. Next, he did justice to a mournful, slowed cover of “In the Air Tonight,” a song older than many of the audience members – and Phillips himself.

“We’ve never done that before together,” he said. “I think it went pretty smoothly.”


– Hold On
– Gone Gone Gone
– Take Me Away
– In the Air tonight
– Man on the Moon
– Home

Hold On



Source: Citizensvoice

Phillip Phillips interview with PopCrush

PopCrush spoke to Phillips, a week after the album’s release, and he opened up his songwriting, his health (kidney problems) and his future. Check it out

2012 was a banner year for Phillip Phillips. You won ‘American Idol’ amidst challenging circumstances with your health. Your first single went platinum…twice. You released an album where you wrote your own songs. Is your mind totally blown? Are you pinching yourself?

It’s been a crazy year, that’s for sure. But I made it through. I didn’t expect any of this to happen, from the Olympics using the song to commercials. Now that the album came out, people seem to like it. It’s just crazy how fast this year has been. I try to take it all in when I can, but it’s tough. I am thankful, though.

Back when ‘Idol’ was wrapping up, you had said in an interview that you were not sure you’d choose ‘Home’ as your first single. Has your mind changed about that, given the success it has achieved?

I always knew the song was great. I just wanted some kind of input musically, you know? But now that I have played it out more, I feel like I have made it my own. It’s been great. I am so thankful for what it’s done, not just for me, but for other people, too. That song has helped people, with those who are dealing with the effects of Hurricane Sandy and those who were competing in the Olympics.

Let’s talk about the Olympics! Did that make you feel any sort of pressure?

I actually thought it was really cool and amazing. I felt like it was an honor for them to choose the song. It caught me off guard, the fact that they wanted to use it. That is an honor. I remember getting on Twitter, at first, when people were saying they heard the song. Everything that has happened after that has just been a “wow” to me. The song was on all the time. I am so thankful for that.

Your health issues were well documented this year. How are you health-wise?

I am doing great. I am taking it easy, whenever that’s possible. Everything is good.

You really soldiered through it, often performing through pain.

It was tough, but I pushed through it. I have to say that I had great doctors.

You were also a bit of a heartthrob on the show. We still remember when Ryan Seacrest reacted “aggressively” to his girlfriend Julianne Hough saying “yummy” when you walked by! How do you deal with that aspect of fame?

I don’t pay attention to it. I am more about the music than anything else and I want people to connect with that. It’s music that helps me out therapeutically, and I believe that it will help other people. I don’t pay attention to that kind of stuff.

So, let’s talk about the album. When did you find the time to write songs?

Some of my songs were written before ‘Idol’ and some were written during, and then I wrote a few new ones after ‘Idol.’ The album represents me musically, since I wrote everything but two songs.
I had a great producer, who taught me a lot of things about the process of recording an album. He taught me about taking something out and putting something back in when creating a song, and I appreciate that. We did the record in three weeks from start to finish, and I will tell you that it was a crazy three weeks.

Three weeks? How did you manage to get it done in such a short span of time?

From cutting the guitars to mastering, we did it all in three weeks. It was unbelievable for all of us.

Did you hook up an IV of caffeine or coffee?

I drank a little bit. [laughs] I admit that it was tough at times, but we did it. We still can’t believe that we did it. When we listen to the album now, we have told each other that we don’t remember doing anything.

Some ‘Idols’ are huge – Carrie, Kelly, Scotty – and some peter out. You seem to be the former, not the latter. Why do you think the fans latched on to you?

I think they can sense that what I am doing has meaning. The songs were not thrown together to try and make an album. It all comes from my heart. Maybe people see that, that it’s real and they will find some way to connect to it.

In my opinion, it seems like music is taking a bit of a turn. Look at Mumford and Sons, and the Lumineers. It’s seems like people and music fans are enjoying the more artistic side of music, and that popular music is taking a turn and accepting that, so I appreciate that. People will enjoy my album if they feel like that.

What’s on the Phillip Phillips agenda for 2013?

Hopefully a lot of touring and playing out. I am a live guy, anyway. I’m looking forward to it.

Pick one song from the album and share a writing or recording story.

I can tell you a story about ‘Tell Me a Story.’ I wrote it after ‘Idol’ had ended. I had the music written during the show, but I had not written not any words.
I was in a hotel room one night and started writing lyrics. I wrote the first verse, and then the ending. Later on, I wrote the chorus. But for the life of me, I couldn’t write a second verse. A good friend helped out with second verse, and after that, I didn’t like the chorus anymore.

You’re a Southern gentlemen. What is your absolute favorite thing about the South?

The food. It might not be the best thing for you, but it’s one thing I enjoy.

Which is your favorite cuisine?

Oh, that’s hard. There are just too many. Chicken and dumplings, and chicken pot pie. I love chicken and anything to do with chicken. I love anything that’s homemade. Oh, and BBQ. And I love green beans. There is so much good food. I can go on and on and on.

You’re making us hungry. But we notice you did not mention any sweets or baked goods.

How did I forget something sweet?! I gotta go with pecan pie. That’s great, and so is the fresh apple pie.

When we first saw you on the show, and you said you’re name was Phillip Phillips, our first reaction was, ‘Come on! That’s not his real name.’ You get that a lot, right?

Oh my God, yes. I get it all the time. Sometimes I have to show my driver’s license to prove that it’s my name and the person asking will believe it then. Even when I am at the airport, people ask, ‘Is this your name?’ And I am like, ‘Yeah, dude. It’s a weird name, but oh well. It’s mine.’ I’ll tell you the one good thing. It was easy to write when I was learning how to write my name.

You went through the whole ‘American Idol’ rigmarole. Do you have any advice for Season 12 hopefuls?

Be yourself, and don’t be scared to do that. Don’t be scared to speak what’s on your mind, but be respectful. Don’t be afraid to show America who you are and the fact that you don’t have to change. If people, like you, then they like you. If they don’t, they don’t. Don’t be mad at people who don’t like you. Just be who are you. Be the artist that you want to be.

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