Happy New Year, Soul Patrol!!! In the spirit of the holiday season, you have all joined us as we reminisced 2007. On behalf of all Taylor's Angels, I want to thank each of you for enjoying our thoughts, our guests' thoughts, and for supporting us in our cause to Tay-It-Forward.
Less than a year ago we formed only because we were fans of Taylor Hicks and we wanted to help one person join his official website. To say that that one act of kindness mushroomed into something none of us ever imagined would be an understatement. With your help, and ONLY with your help, we all sent over 400 people who could not afford to go to Taylor's concerts, we have given back to our troops, we have discovered and supported new charities, and, most recently, we all came together to help out one of our favorite promoters of Taylor's show when he and his family lost everything. When I look back on 2007, the profound generosity of so many people who I only know through my computer just floors me. And when I remember that all of this came about for one reason: because we all share respect, admiration, and love for the music of Taylor Hicks.
Because of our belief in his music, we have each been inspired to come together and to do so much good work. We have been inspired to travel places we might not have otherwise visited and to become friends with people on the other side of your state, your country, our globe.
This very day one year ago, I didn't know the significance that 2007 would have for me. I had no idea there would be a second Birmingham show, much less that it would be the show that made 2500 people cry during Taylor's encore song and that it would be the last one of a week of Taylor shows that I'd share with a wonderful woman from Canada who I had never met until then. I also had no inkling that I would be flying next to and staring in awe at the magnificent Mt. Hood as my plane was descending into Portland; or that I would visit the beautiful venue formerly known as Woodstock in the breathtaking range of the Catskills; hadn't dreamed I'd learn how to play video poker in Vicksburg or that I would even visit the battleground there alone with a fabulous woman I had just met the night before, and I certainly didn't think that I would be able to hug for the first time someone I was about to grow close to over the internet and the phone; didn't have a clue some awesome chick from California would rope me into a killer game of "Name That Tune" somewhere and everywhere between Biloxi and New Orleans; I had never heard of a "HOB" but I was in for a real treat at the one in New Orleans. And Taylor's Angels wasn't even a twinkle in anyone's eyes. Not only did I have no idea what was in store for me, but, every bit of it was inspired and driven by an appreciation of man and his music. Slowly but certainly, going to a new location became more than just catching Taylor in concert, it has become a chance to see a different part of our big and wonderful world, and, most importantly, a time to reconnect with my new friends and to embrace even newer ones. That is the true spirit I take with me when I go to a new city to see one of Taylor's shows. The concert is the icing on the cake.
So, what do I resolve to do (or not do) in 2008? I don't know. I wish I could have 2007 again. That much I do know. But, as the saying goes, I will not cry because it is over, but I will smile because it happened.
With so many surprises that last year held for me, I hesitate to even try to make any New Year's resolutions for 2008. I don't want to be so rigid that I don't have room for more surprises. None of us knows what 2008 holds for us, but my wish to each of you is that your year is as full of the gifts, happy times, and new friendships as mine was last year. My committment to each of you and to myself is to continue helping all of you spread the goodwill that we all accomplished in 2007.
So, instead of coming up with a list of resolutions, I will make a committment. A committment to the Soul Patrol, on behalf of the man who inspired me in so many ways. And I can't think of a better way to begin that commitment than with some words from Taylor himself. So, in appreciation to each of you for the good work that you did last year through Taylor's Angels, we would like to help you start the year off right and re-committing yourself to the Soul Patrol by bringing to each of you an interview we had with Taylor Hicks, the man and the reason we have all been inspired in so many ways. We would also like to share with you some exclusive and never-before seen pictures of Taylor taken by our own Tina-- I think you'll find them as fabulous as we do. Enjoy the interview and pictures and have a fabulous New Year!!! I hope to see each of you in 2008-- I just don't know where yet!
TA: Who is your hero living or dead? What is it about his person that makes them your hero?
Taylor Hicks: I have many heros. Ray Charles is the first that comes to mind. He was definitely my biggest musical inspiration growing up. Ray Charles defined rhythm & blues, soul, and authentic rock 'n' roll. I respected the genius.
TA: What else about him aside from his music, has been an inspiration and motivated you to keep on with your ultimate life goal.
Taylor Hicks: His drive. With so many hardships in his life it would have been easy to give up but instead he pushed himself to do more and achieved greatness!
TA: Taylor , what do you consider to be your greatest strength, and what is the source of the strength of your character?
Taylor Hicks: Perseverance and Self Confidence. You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them. Confidence comes with proper preparation; everything else is beyond your control. I once heard that a successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her. I definitely apply that to my own life and use every experience as a learning opportunity.
TA: It is perhaps three important attributes personified in you that have endeared you to your fans. In your book, Heart Full of Soul, you elaborate in detail on two of these including your passion for music and your perseverance against all odds. However, the third attribute that you consistently display is one of a caring and compassionate spirit combined with humility. Can you elaborate on these qualities and the experiences in your life that have helped shape your views and actions, which in turn has touched so many, particularly children and those less fortunate, in immeasurable ways.
Taylor Hicks: Being humble is so important. It is so easy to loose sight of the things that got you to where you are. I strive on staying grounded and not get “blinded by the light”. You also have to be selfless in your actions. I believe that actions speak louder than words. Give and you shall receive.
TA: If you had children, what would be the most important things you would want to instill in them?
Taylor Hicks: I would tell them to always be giving, loving, kind, and most importantly respectful. And always say yes when their parents ask them to do something!
TA: Do you have a favorite or daily mantra? If so, what is it, when did you adopt it and what does it mean to you?
Taylor Hicks: I don’t have a mantra, however, every morning I start my day with breakfast. To me, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it provides the energy I need to start my day off right!
Written and Published by Leslie Mozingo
All photos taken by Tina Shaddix
Tags: Taylor Hicks, American Idol, Soul Patrol, Taylor's Angels