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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Taylor Hicks says, "I Came From Alabama With A Banjo On My Knee"!

In a recent interview for a New York television station, Taylor Hicks was asked a seemingly routine question about life in the Big Apple. His answer was simple, yet perhaps poignant. Taylor answered, “I came from Alabama with a banjo on my knee” indicating that the life he led in Alabama prior to winning American Idol was far different and slower paced than his present.

(video credit: Barhart1)

Of course over the past two years, much has been written and even Taylor himself has discussed how dramatically his life was altered by "fate". When reading the words of the Stephen Foster song, “Oh Susanna”, to which Taylor was referring in his comment, one can’t help but wonder if Taylor has ever before linked the lyrics to the irony of his life. The words of the song go like this:

I come from Alabama with my banjo on my knee;
I'm goin' to Lou'siana my true love for to see.
It rained all night the day I left,
the weather it was dry;
The sun so hot I froze to death,
Susanna don't you cry.
Oh! Susanna, don't you cry for me;
I come from Alabama,
with my banjo on my knee.

Taylor Hicks did indeed come from Alabama to New Orleans, Louisiana during the midst of one of the greatest tragedies of this century, Hurricane Katrina. Yes, it rained all night the day he left in one of the last taxis leaving from the city, yet his own personal weather gauge was dry. Metaphorically, he had fallen on hard times musically and the world had yet to discover the depths of his talents. The sun was so hot he froze to death, again a metaphor relating to the despair of his situation. Yet, no one cries for him, because he turned that tragedy into triumph.

Taylor Hicks can now casually say, two years later, that he came from Alabama with a banjo on his knee, but we all know he left for Las Vegas and ultimately Hollywood with more than that. He left with the drive, determination, focus and plan that would ultimately allow the world to hear his voice….that same voice that resonated virtually unnoticed in the bars and clubs in Birmingham, Alabama and across the southeast for so many years. Jay Leno asked Taylor if he thought his winning American Idol was coincidence or fate, to which Taylor answered that he did not believe in coincidence so it had to be fate.

The odds of this man from Birmingham, Alabama winning the most prized reality show in America are staggering. Was it fate? Was it coincidence? Did America want something different musically? We would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below and let us know what you think! But first, we thought that you would enjoy reliving Taylor’s journey from his unknown early years on the “chitlin' circuit” to his triumphant return at the end of his solo tour to his beloved Florabama in September 2007 as a mega star!

(video by Samz999999)

Here is a sample of Taylor's schedule from 2005, just prior to American Idol. Well, what a difference a few months make!

And now take a look at Taylor Hicks' triumphant return to his beloved Florabama on Labor Day weekend of 2007, which was the one of the last gigs of his solo tour of that year. He had indeed come full circle!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

(picture credit: Ragsqueen)

Taylor at the Flora-Bama from Azee on Vimeo.

Written by DidNotExpectThat


Cheeto Curl said...

Taylorism alert:
One cannot deny coincidence, which is the occurence of two events at the same time and/or place. Fate, on the other hand, is the concept of pre-determination or "guiding hand" that makes events happen - that is something that is debatable as any other potentially religious idea. Once again, Taylor Hicks has mangled his cliches.

RagsQueen said...

It's amazing the insight sometimes we find in the comments Taylor makes. I'd heard the 'banjo on my knee' comment but didn't really think about it much thought until your post. Taylor's come a long way in just a few short years, from bars to Broadway via New Orleans, Las Vegas and Hollywood! What a journey and ride this must be for him. I wonder what his thoughts were when he saw his picture and name on Broadway for the first time! Thanks for the reminders!

tishlp said...

I believe that Taylor is meant for something larger than a life of going from gig to gig in small clubs and bars. Perhaps Taylor has referred to what has happened as fate because he has felt a guiding hand in his life.

Pat said...

Thanks for that insight...

My thoughts are very simple: Taylor created his own fate. He had the determination, the will power and of course the talent to make his dreams comes true.

First, he had the guts to go and audition even though some very close to him told him it was not a good move. He took a big risk in losing his credibility with many musician peers who think that anyone who goes on AI is no better than a wanna be – No REAL musician would ever get caught doing something as cheesy as AI. He saw it differently. He saw the the opportunity and in spite of what others thought, he went for it.

In another recent interview for Taylor said this:

"I remember standing outside in Las Vegas at American Idol [auditions], and kids were coming up to me asking me where my kid was that was auditioning. If that doesn't make you want to walk away, I don't know what does. But I never walked away. I knew I had a vision, and that was to entertain people—and here I am." --TH

This is someone making their own fate.

Then he went for it 1000% - he gave it his all. I saw an experienced bar band singer morph into a powerhouse entertainer.

Each and every week, he raised the bar higher and higher and higher. I watched 3 previous AI seasons before Taylor and NO ONE ever grew as an singer – as an entertainer - the way Taylor did – no one - ever. The demand he placed on himself – You could see the determination in his eyes, just for a split second after each performance. He never took the easy route – but always the route he thought he should take.

Again I say – this is someone making their own fate.

I have never had anyone grab my attention and hold it so tightly that I thought I was going to scream and scream I did many, many times during AI in sheer glee of disbelief of the power that this young man from Alabama could deliver.

I still don’t know why he has this effect on us – he just does. Young – old – male or female - It doesn’t matter.

It is truly amazing how far this man has come in 2 short years.

And, I think you are right. I don’t think Taylor even suspects the true depth of his achievement. He’s too busy doing it to stop and analyze it.

That’s why we are here. LOL

Sorry this is so long. I didn’t even realize that I had this much to say until I started writing. 

Taylor's Angels said...

Pat -

Your comment was very insightful. We appreciate you writing it. Thanks to all that have commented.

Taylor Hicks has moved step by step towards his goal. He has done an incredible job. He is amazing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this interesting perspective on Taylor's determination and spirit. I think that Katrina was a coincidence...I think that Taylor shaped his own "fate" when he used the opportunity that was given to him. I think that it was the drive to achieve a lifelong dream AND believing in himself and his music that kept him in that line in Las Vegas. He said at the end of Heart Full of Soul the message he wanted to leave was Ray Charles' message in Believe To Your Soul. Taylor believed to his soul that this was his destiny. He didn't JUST believe...he did what he had to do to make it happen. Perhaps our fate is always in our own hands!


Anonymous said...

Nothing ever changes.

First we have Taylor speaking to us and willing to share some of his inner thoughts.

Then we have the SP taking his words.. changing them.. correcting him.. and spitting out their correct version! Yeah right!

Its Taylor's life! Its Taylor's dream! He's lived it and is still lving it!

If Taylor says its fate! Then by golly its FATE!!

Anonymous said...

This is such a wonderful blog entry! I really enjoyed reading it.

KarinP said...

I really enjoyed reading this blog. It is rather surreal how the words of the song coincide with Taylor's life (I came from Alabama with a banjo on my knee - or we could say a harmonica in my pocket).

We could all interpret the words 'fate'/'coincidence' in various ways depending on the things that we believe in. I happen to think somewhat "outside of the norm" in that the course is charted long before we ever get here. The trick, however, is to follow the pre-determined map.

Taylor has never waivered from his path even when it seemed to look hopeless for him to achieve the kind of success that he dreamed about back in those early days when he was performing bar-to-bar.

I am not so sure that I could have remained on course but, then again, I have never really experienced what he has experienced. He has always known that the music was going to take him places and his persistence has led him to the success that he is now experiencing. Taylor is a great example of why we should believe in ourselves and make our dreams come true.

Thanks for the great blog, Angels!