In 2006 Taylor Hicks became the fifth winner of American Idol. His natural talent and comfort on the stage may make it appear as though Taylor was born to sing, but in truth hard work is what helped Taylor become the next American Idol. From the time he was a teenager he has been working on both his music and his stage performance, though he did not become serious about this career path until he was in his twenties. Taylor proves that you can become a star even if you didn’t begin vocal training as child.
Taylor first began showing serious interest in music and singing at the age of 16. He discovered he had perfect pitch after playing around with a flea market harmonica, easily reproducing the notes from some of his favorite songs on the cheap instrument. Taylor took advantage of this talent and began teaching himself to play the harmonica and the guitar while practicing his vocals.
Imitating his favorite singers was Taylor’s first method of vocal training. An avid blue’s fan, Taylor sang old songs from Ray Charles, Sam Cooke and Otis Redding–practicing relentlessly. While Taylor may have never had one-on-one vocal lessons, innate talent is not the secret of his success. Taylor is self-taught, but his lessons came from the masters in his chosen genre. By studying those who came before him and mastering the techniques of the Masters of Blues, Taylor took advantage of what tools he had at his disposal.
Most aspiring vocalists understand that a large part of singing success depends upon performance as much as on vocal prowess. At 19, Taylor began writing songs and performing on stage with his first band. He mastered the art of not just singing in front of an audience, but singing to the audience and bringing every listener into the song. Taylor continued to perform and practice hard while carrying a full course load at Auburn University. Taylor produced two independent albums during this period featuring both studio and live performances, earning a name for himself before he ever stepped foot into the Idol stage.
Whether you want to earn fame and launch a successful singing career on the American Idol stage or on your own terms, the lesson proved by Taylor Hicks is a strong one. Long hours spent with a vocal coach aren’t necessary and there is no need to give up your dreams because you lack professional training. Like Taylor, if you are willing to put in time, practice hard and stretch yourself to become the best that you can be, you too can realize your dreams.
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