Have you ever imagined what you would talk about with a famous musician if you ever got the chance? Well, when Phillip Phillips called me Thursday afternoon for a phone interview about his upcoming performance at CWU, we did talk a little about the obvious, his incredibly successful career, but we also talked about his having worked at his family’s pawn shop in his home state of Georgia and his friends’ views on his nose hair. It got a little weird, which is proof that despite being famous, Phillips is still a human, or to use his words, “just a guy.”
“I’ve always been myself,” Phillips said. “That’s just the way I was raised, and I try to stay true to how I feel.”
Unless you’ve been living under a very large, very soundproof rock for the past few years, you probably know that Phillips won season 11 of “American Idol” and his songs have been dominating the radio waves and iTunes ever since. “Home” and “Gone, Gone, Gone” are two of his most popular songs, and have propelled the 24-year-old to multi-platinum stardom. “Home” was released the day Phillips was crowned winner of “American Idol,” and became the most popular coronation song of any “Idol” winner.
“I didn’t even want to try out (for American Idol), but my family kept telling me the worst that could happen was they would say no, so I gave it a try,” Phillips said. “I had just been playing in bars or wherever they would take me, so I didn’t think (American Idol) was for me, but I got lucky with it.”
Since his “American Idol” win, Phillips has released two albums: “The World from the Side of the Moon” and “Behind the Light.” He has toured with Matchbox 20 and with John Mayer on Mayer’s “Born and Raised” tour last summer. Despite his level of stardom, Phillips hasn’t forgotten his friends and family.
He told me that his family supported his music from the beginning, and that they and his friends have been praying for him and calling him with encouragement since he’s been on the road. I asked Phillips how he thought his friends and family would describe him, and there was a pause.
“Well… man I’m scared to answer that,” he said.
I laughed, and said, “Not sure you want to pull at that thread?”
“Well yeah,” he laughed. “I mean, I guess they’d say I’m quiet, a little shy. I’m weird. I have a hairy nose, I don’t know.”
That begged my obvious next question: “Hairy, like, just on the inside? Or really bad like the outside too?”
“Maybe both!” He said.
I guess we’ll all have to turn out for his show to find out. Phillips will perform as the Homecoming entertainment headliner at CWU on Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. in the SURC Ballroom. Tickets are on sale at http://www.cwu.edu/tickets, and are $20 for CWU students, $30 for general admission and $40 for reserved seating. They’re already almost sold out, so getting them now-ish would be a good plan.
“I love playing colleges, because that’s my generation, and it helps me build my fan base,” Phillips said. “College kids know how to have fun, and I want to see ’em dancin’ and movin’.”