For the best part of the last six years, Phillip Phillips has been on the road. And for the best part of those years, Phillip has toured with his wife Hannah Blackwell by his side. This year, his small touring family was expanded, when Phillip and Hannah decided to bring their beautiful boxer Izzy to join them on the 43-stop Magnetic Tour.
The tour marks the first on support of Collateral, Phillip’s much anticipated third album. The story of his legal dispute with 19 Entertainment is well known now, as were the years of waiting and uncertainty that followed his demand to be released from his contract with the management company in early 2015. Still, Phillip believes Collateral, released on January 19 this year, is a better album because of it: [had collateral been released in 2016] “It may not have been as good, to be honest, or I don’t think the songs would have been as good. I had a lot of the earlier songs, [but] it did not have “Into The Wild,” “What Will Become of Us.” It’s kind of weird, how time and things happen in your life and how things work out…God’s has perfect timing.”
The album was written almost entirely in Nashville, a city that for Phillip feels “like home, only busier!” There, Phillip worked with the incredible Nathan Chapman, who helped him write the soulful “Magnetic,” a song Phillip gushes about, as well as the hot and heavy “Love Junkie.” Also in Nashville, Phillip enlisted the help of his friend Tim Bruns to co-write “Dance with Me,” one of the earliest songs to make it to the album and which Phillip wrote for his first dance at his wedding in October 2015. Aaron Espe, co-writer and producer on the sublime “Part of My Plan,” and Dave Cobb (“Dance With Me”) round up his main collaborations in Music City.
For Collateral, Phillip also connected with Seattle-based produced Ryan Hadlock, and recorded most of the album at his idyllic, middle of the woods studio, Bear Creek: “I was just looking for a producer to connect with, he’s just a super nice guy, really smart about getting sounds […] just a genius.”
At Bear Creek, Phillip brought some of his past and then touring band mates to help him record the songs, including Errol Cooney on guitar, JJ Smith on bass, Jason Thomas on drums, and Bobby Sparks on organ and keys. Cellist Dave Eggar also played on a number of songs, including the striking “Sand Castles” and “What Will Become of Us.” Working with Phillip since his first album in 2012, Dave Eggar has become one of Phillip’s most intimate friends: “Dave is one my closest, best friends, one of the best people that I’ll ever know or that I’ve ever known. I just love that guy to death.”
It is obvious the deep appreciation and respect that Phillip has for the friendships and connections he has developed with these musicians and collaborators throughout the years. It is also clear how important it has been for Phillip to have Hannah, his wife for two years, but partner for close to nine, by his side : “She definitely watches after me, and she’s a lot smarter than I am. And I watch after her too and she’s my best friend[…] We don’t have too much of a business relationship, you got to stay friends, husband and wife, that’s more important. We always have that discussion, if things were to ever get weird like that you got to cut it off, you got to be there for each other first.”
PhillPhillcom had the incredible honour to sit with Phillip to talk about Collateral before his show in Vancouver, Canada, over the weekend. We are forever grateful to Phillip, Hannah, and his incredible tour manager and crew who made us feel at home, on the road, for a few wonderful minutes. Check out our entire conversation below.
All photos and video by Sebastian Lavigna.
Buy or stream Collateral.
The Magnetic Tour continues until April 14. Visit Phillip Phillips’ official site to get your tickets!