BWW Interview: AMERICAN IDOL Winner Phillip Phillips Chats About his IDOL Experiences and More
You worked at your father's pawn shop before Idol. How does everyone there feel about you winning American Idol?
I think they're all proud. My dad and his Friends told me that they couldn't really believe it. I played guitar in the shop sometimes whenever I wasn't busy and people would just come listen sometimes. I think they're all proud of me. That's where I got a lot of practicing in.
Tell us about your brother-in-law Ben. He was quite an influence in your life.
He started dating my Sister when I was about 12 or 13. I didn't really start paying attention to him until I was around 14. I would see him like once a month or once every couple of months. He'd play guitar when he'd come over and I was like, "Wow, you know, that's really amazing." And I wanted to start playing. I got a guitar and he taught me a few of the chords and kinda went from there. I taught myself using this karaoke Machine and I had CD's or cassette tapes and I would play it back. I would show him and he would tell me, "Oh, you got this right but this is wrong." He would tell me right from wrong. He's the biggest inspiration playing the music.
And your sisters too.
Both my sisters sing. My whole family sings and plays some kind of instrument. Both of my sisters started playing way earlier then I started singing. I didn't start singing until I was about 18. They started singing a lot younger. They have a lot better voices than I do. They will always tell me whenever I sound bad or not. It's good to have them there.
American Idol, what an achievement. Tell us a little about that journey.
Idol was definitely a tough journey. It's not as easy as it looks on TV. You have to definitely work for it. If you want it bad enough, you just have to put all your heart into it. You gotta make the right decisions and have fun. That's my biggest thing and my family would tell me that as well. Just have fun. I never was a competitive person when I played baseball or anything. I was a little competitive. In music, it's very free. You are you doing something from a different musician all the time. I was never competitive throughout the show and I just wanted to have a good time. It's really nerve-wracking. You're putting yourself out there on such a big platform and people are going to judge you for it. It's going to be good and it's going to be bad. It's obviously a scary thing to do but it's a great experience. I'm thankful for that.
When you went into American Idol, did you have the attitude that you would win the whole thing or did you go in thinking, "What a great experience?"
I went in thinking I was going to get really bad feedback. It was kind of surprising to me. The only reason I really tried out was because Casey Abrams from Season 10, he's a very good jazz player, played stand-up base on the show. He brought something different so that gave me the idea to try-out. My friend at the time said, "You should just do it because the worst that could happen is that they'd say no." So, I just kinda did it.
What do you categorize your music as?
I don't know. I let people decide that for themselves now. I had this woman who has media training asking what my music was. I said, "I don't know." She looked at me like I was being a smart alec. I let her listen to it and she said it had a little bit of everything. There's folk, Americana, jazz, rock. So I don't know. I just let people choose for themselves.