‘I’m just a normal guy who wants to make it in the world’

PHOTOS/Jill Lejano

Phillip Phillips may have won “American Idol” Season 11, but he claims that he’s “just a normal guy.”

Want proof? At the “American Idol Live!” Tour press con, while his fellow Idols had colored and heavily styled hair or were flaunting trendy accessories, P-squared wore a T-shirt, a pair of shorts—and flip-flops. He even showed us one of his weird habits—rubbing his feet together—to further prove his regular-ness.

But while his actions, such as laughing the loudest whenever Heejun Han would crack a joke, showed us how normal he is, Phillip’s honest and candid answers to our questions showed even more just how regular and authentic he is.

For example, while he said that he doesn’t regret how he “played the game” in AI, he wasn’t too happy about one performance.

“I’m proud of all the performances I did,” he said. “The only performance I wasn’t proud of was ‘Time of the Season’ because the sound messed up in my ears. That was a really bad performance. I don’t even mind saying that, at all.”

Phillip also knows how to credit other people. He mentioned how grateful he is for the great band in “Idol,” and that, when the “Idol” tour is through, he will miss not just his fellow Idols, but members of the production staff and security, too. And when we brought up the comparisons with Dave Matthews, he was quick to say that he takes those as a compliment.

“I love Dave! He’s one of my heroes,” he professed. “He’s an amazing writer and his band is amazing so I take it as a compliment. Our original stuff is different from one another. I’m not as complex; he’s got some pretty complex, crazy things going on. He’s an amazing guy, such a nice guy.”

The reluctant star

PHOTOS/Jill Lejano

One amazing thing about Phillips is how he doesn’t want to change—how he doesn’t really want to be a celebrity. We all saw this on the show, like when he defied designer Tommy Hilfiger’s fashion advice. During our interview, he proved that he hasn’t changed his perspective. While not really being specific, he said,

“There were times when they wanted to change me. They tried to change me a lot of times, and I told them, ‘This is me. I’m going to go out and I’m going to go out as something I’m proud of.’”

Phillip is actually big on highlighting how he likes doing his own thing, and being different from others, proudly mentioning how he did all the arrangements for his numbers because he wanted people to see the kind of artist he is and hear the kind of music that represents him. He also explained that while a lot of people see him as just another “white guy with a guitar,” just like a lot of the past Idol contestants and winners, he feels they’re different from one another.

“[Especially with] the way I play the guitar. I really connect with my guitar. If I didn’t play the guitar, I wouldn’t be singing.”

Phillip almost didn’t become the season’s winner. Everyone knows how he suffered from kidney stones and had to get around seven procedures done during the show.

“It affected me a lot because I didn’t have a lot of energy,” he said about being sick while competing. “I was always just so tired and I would be hurting and I always had to take some pain medicine, which I hated to take because it always made me feel even more tired.”

“It hurt,” he added. “I couldn’t get comfortable sleep. I would just try to get comfortable, and it would just hurt on my side. If I bent down, it would hurt. As the show went on, I kind of got used to the pain. I was always hurting everyday and I would cry all the time.”

It was so bad he wanted to quit the show. “One day it was hurting and I felt like it was getting worse so I went up to all the producers and talked to them [and said], ‘I think I need to get out, it’s hurting too bad.’ I’d rather be healthy than die trying to do it. I was ready to give it up. I’m not a competitive person. I wasn’t trying to win. The reason I tried out, I just wanted to see how well I would do.”

Good thing the producers gave him some extra time for rest or they’d make him come in a bit later than everyone else. Phillip didn’t talk much about it, however, because he didn’t want it to be an issue; he didn’t want the others to think he was getting special treatment.

But he was, in a way, and he’s grateful for that.

“It was very, very tough, and I’m thankful for the people around me. And my girlfriend helped me out a lot.”

Proud to be taken

Phillip’s girlfriend, Hannah, is actually with him for the Philippine leg of the “American Idol” tour—and he’s not keeping that a secret, unlike other celebrities who’d rather make it seem like they’re single. He said that they’ll be together for three and a half years by the end of the year, and that his “Idol” experience has changed both their lives.

“Both of us aren’t used to it, there’s always something different,”he said.

PHOTOS/Jill Lejano

So how do they make it work, considering they’re not together all the time, and a lot of women throw themselves at his feet? “We always talk about how it’s going to be whenever I’m on tour,” said Phillip. “We need to make way for dates and see one another, keep it fresh because it’s going to be very tough.”

“For the romantic part… she’s really the romantic one. When I do something romantic, it’s pretty big, and I probably won’t do it for a while—not that I don’t want to! I guess some guys are like that,” said Phillip, who is undeniably in love with his girlfriend. “She always does little romantic things. She’s a lot smarter than I am with a lot of things. She kind of keeps me in the right place.”

This “American Idol: champ seems to be in the right place right now, considering all the prizes he won from the contest, plus all the fame. However, he looks at things a little differently, of course.

“I don’t really feel that I’m famous. I guess I am, but I’m just a normal guy who wants to make it in the world. I’m not trying to be huge or anything but I just want to at least make a living doing something I love, have some extra money if I want to have a family later on and do a vacation—you know what I mean?”

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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

Phillip Phillips Reveals Details of Year-Long Kidney Crisis

The last year has been the most challenging – and rewarding – of Phillip Phillips’s life.

His joyful journey on Season 11 of American Idol – which he won in an emotional finale on May 23 – is something “I never thought would happen,” Phillips, 21, tells PEOPLE.

It almost didn’t: At the same time the gravel-voiced Georgia guitar player was following his music dreams on Idol, he was privately coping with a kidney disorder that often left him in excruciating pain – and sometimes wondering if he could continue with the show.

“It’s the toughest year of my life,” Phillips tells PEOPLE, “but it’s going to be exciting, too.”

It all started a year ago, just as Phillips was auditioning for Idol. After experiencing abdominal pain, he was diagnosed with two large kidney stones.

Over the course of the season, but away from the cameras, he quietly underwent seven painful procedures including a five-hour surgery earlier this month to remove more stones and restructure some of his damaged anatomy.

“This one’s supposed to fix me,” he says.

The Idol champ is now continuing his recovery at a Los Angeles hotel and “resting as much as I can,” he says, so he can be at 100 percent when the 45-date American Idol LIVE! tour kicks off in Detroit on July 6.

He’s also playing his guitar again post-surgery and has started writing music for his debut album, which he hopes to release later this year.

After all he’s been through, Phillips can’t wait for audiences to finally see him at 100 percent. “I’m excited to get out there and show people what I have,” he says. “It’s going to be something special.”

Credits: people

Phillip Phillips on Yahoo! Music [interview]

Phillip and his brother-in-law Ben Neil did an interview for Yahoo!Music. Check out the photos and the interview below.

  

Most “American Idol” champs hit the promotional treadmill hard the morning after the finale, but since winning Season 11 of “Idol” in May, Phillip Phillips has been laying low and staying out of the public eye, undergoing and then recovering from a serious kidney operation that he had postponed during his “Idol” run. But Phillip came out of hiding this week to play a rare acoustic performance of his winning song “Home” for Yahoo! Music, assisted by his guitar-shredding brother-in-law, Ben Neil. And the Idol was looking like his old self, humble and likable as ever. It was fantastic to see him doing so well.

“It’s still weird for me [that I won],” Phillip admitted later to Yahoo!’s Reality Rocks. “It hasn’t all kicked in, because I have been recovering and I’m still in my little bubble. I never took anything in until the finale, and that’s where it all hit me, like, wow.”

While some naysayers have theorized that Phillip’s kidney stone condition earned him sympathy votes on “Idol,” in actuality, viewers had no idea how ill he really was until after the show was over. Phillip explained: “I don’t like getting my own personal business out there too much. I never really told anybody until it got really bad at one point, so then it kind of had to get out there. But I didn’t want people to vote for me as a sympathy vote or anything. I wanted it to be about the music. Even throughout Hollywood Week it was kind of rough, but still, I didn’t want to talk about it. I wanted to see what people would think of the most I could do right then.”

Phillip did say that he felt he wasn’t always at his best on “Idol,” although that obviously didn’t stop millions of people from being impressed and voting for him week after week.

“During the show, I wasn’t at 100 percent at all. I would always try to save all my energy for that Wednesday night, and then I’d be drained and have to start saving up all my energy for the next week…There was a couple times I almost dropped out because it was getting to me. But I talked to the producers and doctors and whatnot, and they helped me get through it,” he said.

Now, with his post-surgery recovery on the right track, Phillip has a busy and grueling year ahead of him, with the 46-date Idols Live summer tour kicking off July 6 while he simultaneously works on his debut album. How will he maintain his health on the road, with such a punishing schedule? “I’m gonna tell them if I really need a break or something,” Phillip explained, joking that he may play the “kidney card” that helped him get out of shooting many of Season 11’s Ford Music Videos. “And I’ve been drinking a little bit of caffeine. I don’t need to be, but it helps me get through the day!”

Phillip’s victory was admittedly a polarizing one on “Idol”–many
viewers were hoping that Jessica Sanchez, or at least a female contestant, would prevail this year. But in his usual casual manner, Phillip has shrugged off such controversy.

“It’s not hurting my feelings. Jessica is an amazing, amazing singer, especially for her age, and she’s got a huge future ahead of her. I’m so proud of her, and she’s so proud of me. Life’s too short to be mad because someone won something, or didn’t win something! It’s just kind of silly to me,” he chuckled.

As for comparisons between Phillip and the previous four (male, guitar-strumming) “American Idol” winners, Phillip said:

“It’s all good. I feel like I play the guitar a lot differently than they do. We’re all different in our own ways. I don’t really like playing regular chords, I like doing something different with it, doing different tunings and stuff. Some people have noticed how I’ve approached music on the guitar and just music in general, and that’s really cool…Like [Season 10 finalist] Casey Abrams, he’d come up to me, and he’s an amazing musician. He’s one of the people who made me think about even trying out!”

Check out Phillip’s full interview above for more details on the Idols Live Tour, Phillip’s forthcoming album (slated for a November/December release), his off-camera jam session with Casey, and his thoughts about his entire “Idol” journey. Thanks so much to Phillip for coming in, and here’s wishing him a continued speedy recovery!

Credits: Yahoo!Music