Phillip LaDon Phillips Jr., popularly known as Phillip Phillips in the music industry, is an American singer who won the eleventh edition of the American singing talent show ‘American Idol’ in 2012. He holds the record for the all-time best selling song from ‘American Idol’ after his coronation song titled ‘Home’ broke all the previous records. After his win in the reality talent show, Phillips has released three studio albums to date, ‘The World from the Side of the Moon’, ‘Behind the Light’, and ‘Collateral’. Two of his albums have featured in the top ten of the US Billboard 200. While growing up, he listened to popular rock bands like ‘Led Zeppelin’ as well as artists like Jimi Hendrix. Later, he came into the influence of the likes of Dave Matthews, Damien Rice, and John Butler. His debut album, ‘The World from the Side of the Moon’ was platinum-certified in both the United States and Canada. The singer has been nominated for the Teen Choice Awards and the Billboard Music Awards many times. He has been actively touring in different parts of the country as well as in Canada and has successfully earned his fair share of fame within a short period.
Childhood & Early Life
Phillips was born in Albany, Georgia, on September 20, 1990, to Phillip LaDon Phillips, Sr. and Sheryl Jacks. When he was 12, his family moved to Leesburg, Georgia where he grew up along with his two elder sisters, LaDonna and Lacey.
He went to Lee County High School and later enrolled at the Albany Technical College. He graduated from there with a major in Industrial Systems Technology in 2012 but he could not attend his convocation ceremony, as he was busy with his involvement in ‘American Idol.’
As a youngster, Phillips formed a band with his brother-in-law and long-term friend Benjamin Neil and Todd Urick. They played at various local venues and events. Phillips also won a local competition named ‘Albany Star.’ Before venturing into music as a fulltime artiste, he worked in his family pawnshop.
Phillips brands his style of music as ‘jazz and rock alternative sound’ and openly acknowledges Dave Matthews and John Butler as his biggest inspirations.
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American Idol & Rise to Fame
Phillip Phillips auditioned for the reality competition show ‘American Idol’ in Savannah, Georgia and performed Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’. He was also asked to sing another song while playing his guitar and he delivered Michael Jackson's ‘Thriller’.
In February 2012, Phillips was chosen among the top 25 semi-finalists after he cleared the Hollywood round and later the Las Vegas round. He then moved forward into the top 13 semi-finalists.
He performed one of Dave Matthews’ songs, ‘The Stone,’ and the audience as well as the judges found similarities between his and Dave Matthews’ singing style. Even Matthews himself praised Phillips when he was asked about this similarity and the imitation of his style.
Phillips suffered severe pain in his abdomen after the Top 13 performance and was taken to the hospital. He was diagnosed with kidney stones. He thought of quitting the show due to his medical problems but persisted nonetheless despite the pain.
He eventually advanced to the Top 3 finalists round. He delivered Bob Seger's ‘We've Got Tonight’ and later advanced to the finale along with Jessica Sanchez. Phillips won the show by beating Jessica Sanchez after a record 132 million votes were cast. Throughout the show, he had been the only contestant who was never in danger of elimination in any week of the competition.
Phillip Phillips went on the ‘American Idol LIVE Tour’ from July to September 2012, and later delivered the national anthem at the opening game of the 2012 World Series.
He appeared on several live shows and primetime television shows like ‘Late Show with David Letterman’, ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’, ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno’, ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’, as well as the American Music Awards and Billboard Music Awards.
On November 19, 2012, Phillips released his debut studio album ‘The World from the Side of the Moon,’ under the production of Gregg Wattenberg. Phillips wrote or co-wrote the majority of the lyrics in the album. The single ‘Where We Came From’ had been released in advance of the album as a free download on pre-order on November 6, 2012.
The album was a huge hit, both commercially and critically. It debuted at No. 4 in the Billboard 200 and recorded a sale of over a million copies. It acquired a platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2013.
His second studio album, ‘Behind the Light,’ was released on May 19, 2014, and received a mixed reaction from different magazines and critics. The album debuted on the Billboard 200 at No. 7 and recorded sales of over 123,000 copies in the US within the year.
On January 19, 2018, his third studio album ‘Collateral’ was released under the production of Ryan Hadlock.
The highlight of Phillips’ career so far was his stint in the ‘American Idol’ show. This is where he earned an identity in the show business. He not only won the show but also etched his name in the history of the talent show as his coronation song, ‘Home’—released after his final performance—became the all-time best selling song from ‘American Idol.’ This song won nominations for several awards, including the World Music Awards and Billboard Music Awards.
His debut studio album ‘The World from the Side of the Moon’ was a huge success. It not only earned him a platinum certificate in the United States and Canada but also witnessed sales of over a million copies in the country itself. The album debuted at No. 4 in the Billboard 200. He was nominated at the Teen Choice Awards for the single ‘Gone, Gone, Gone’ in 2013.
Phillip Phillips got married to his long-term girlfriend Hannah Blackwell on October 24, 2015, at the Resora Plantation in Albany, Georgia.
Phillips is known to be an active social worker and is involved with several organizations like ‘DoSomething’, ‘National Park Foundation’, ‘NCIRE - the Veterans Health Research Institute’, ‘Habitat for Humanity’, and ‘Save The Music Foundation’. He is also the ambassador of ‘Brave Beginnings’ and is actively working with the Gibson flood relief campaign.