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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 5

Taylor Hicks taking grassroots approach to boost album sales

By Christopher Rocchio, 03/01/2007 

Season five champ Taylor Hicks is hoping he's not the first American Idol winner to see his debut album sell less than a million copies.

"It's slow and steady wins the race," Hicks told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "You know, to have overnight record success, you know, it's tough to do. You have to massage the record buying audience as much as you have to massage the live performing audience, you know?  And, you know, you really can't pull the wool over 34 million people live. That's just tough to do, you know?"

Hicks had no problem swaying Idol enthusiasts into his corner during the Fox mega-hit's fifth season, as the silver-haired singer was a fan favorite from the beginning.  However his self-titled debut album, which was released on December 12, has sold 640,000 copies and is currently ranked 136th on The Billboard Top 200 album sales chart.

"[I have] a strong suspicion that [Hicks] might be the first winner who falls shy of a million units," Geoff Mayfield, a senior analyst at Billboard magazine, told The AP.

Tom Corson, executive vice president of J Records -- a label within Sony-BMG that signs the show's singers -- said there's a reason for that, explaining how  Hicks took a little longer than some other Idols to complete his album.  Hicks' first single, a power ballad called "Just To Feel That Way," made its radio debut only three weeks ago and currently sits at No. 26 on the adult contemporary radio charts.

"It's a work in progress, and, would we have liked to sell a little bit more? Yeah. But [the album is] still gold and on its way to platinum," Corson told The AP. "And, if the single performs, we'll turn it around, so we're quite optimistic about things as it stands right now."

Corson described Hicks audience as "more passive," adding "it just takes a little longer to get those people to buy."

"With Taylor, you're going into an adult format," Corson told The AP. "We hope it translates younger, but the music right now is much more adult. It's a longer burn, a longer process."

Much like a politician, Hicks is taking a grassroots approach, currently on a nationwide tour to support his album.

"I think the best thing for me as an artist is to get out and be with the people and tour the record," he told The AP. "And go to the radio stations and be personable."

So how has the Soul Patrol responded to Hicks' live performances?

"I mean, it's been a packed house every night," he told The AP. "It's a very musical show and it's very real and very raw. And that's who I am as an artist.  I think you have to set yourself apart."

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