Phillip Phillips shows another side on new work
Many fans have gotten to know Phillip Phillips through his hit singles, “Home” and “Gone, Gone, Gone.” Those two folk-flavored anthems have propelled the 2012 “American Idol” winner to major stardom. But those same tracks have been criticized by some as attempts to mimic the arena-sized folk of the hit-making bands Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers.
Fans who own Phillips' debut album, “The World From The Side Of The Moon,” though, saw that there was another side to his sound. While the CD included a few of other folky tunes, such as “Hold On” and “So Easy,” it was equally defined by tracks like “Wanted Is Love,” “Get Up Get Down” and “Drive Me,” punchy rockers with a bit of funk and jazz that sound more like the Dave Matthews Band than any sort of new-school folk.
It turns out the rockers are closer to Phillips' musical heart than the songs that have put him on mainstream radio — and a better indication of where Phillips would like to go musically on future albums. He's the opening act for John Mayer on Aug. 25 at First Niagara Pavilion, Burgettstown.
“ ‘Home' came out, and it was really folky,” Phillips says. “I didn't want to step too far out of bounds from that (on the album) and kind of weird people out, like ‘Drive Me' is nothing like ‘Home.' My passion is more into the rock and jazz or whatever, so I kind of just put a mixture of them in the album and kind of got people to be a little prepared, (hinting at) steps into the future.”
So, perhaps it's not surprising that “Home” and “Gone, Gone, Gone” didn't originate with Phillips. They were brought to Phillips — albeit in a roundabout way with the latter song — by his record company, 19 Entertainment/Interscope.
“The label came to me and said let us give you two songs and you can have the rest of the album, so I was like, ‘Yeah,' ” Phillips says. “And they had a different song. It wasn't ‘Gone.' I just didn't like the song. I was trying to figure out, man, I've got to get a different song.”
That's when a pair of songwriters who happened to be working in the same studio — Derek Furhmann and Todd Clark — came to Phillips and his producer, Gregg Wattenberg, with “Gone, Gone, Gone.”
They liked the song, took it to the label and got the OK to put the tune on the album.
“I'm glad that happened, because that song's a lot better than the other song,” Phillips says. “It's funny how that worked out.”
“Home” was an obvious choice for a first single. Phillips performed it on the final performance night of “American Idol” and again as his coronation song after being voted the season 11 winner.
The song debuted at No. 10 on Billboard magazine's Hot 100 singles chart and went on to top Billboard's Adult Pop Songs and Adult Contemporary charts. It also crossed over to country, peaking at No. 6 on that chart.
“Gone, Gone, Gone” appears headed for similar success. It's Top 5 in Adult Pop and Adult Contemporary and has cracked the top 25 on the Hot 100 chart.
This success, obviously, has gotten Phillips' post-“Idol” career off to a strong start. But just winning “Idol” was a major test for him.
As he was going through auditions, Phillips developed kidney stones, but decided to push forward. He eventually went through eight separate surgical procedures to get through his “Idol” journey. He was still recovering from his surgery when he joined the “American Idols Live” tour last July. After the tour, he went into the studio to record “The World From The Side Of The Moon.”
Then, it was on to promoting the album, and more touring. He had to cut short a college tour because of ongoing kidney issues, exhaustion and dehydration — a product of the tour schedule that often featured six shows a week.
Phillips said he has recovered now and is ready for his summer tour, opening for Mayer. With a 45-minute set, Phillips will be able to showcase much of “The World From The Side Of The Moon” each evening.
Alan Sculley is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh producer revives, re-airs an expanded ‘Motown 25 ’
- Saxophonist Carter proves he’s up to any musical challenge
- Pittsburgh Rock ’N Roll Legends Awards honors rock legends, locals
- PLS Trio seems like more voices on ‘East River’
- Duquesne University music students learn more than scales
- Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s new season will feature 11 conductors
- Ed Sheeran coming to Pittsburgh in May
- PSO’s Honeck coaxes orchestral brilliance in ballet themes