Taylor Hicks talks Iron Bowl, ‘Idol’ and more before Gulfport show

Taylor Hicks will bring his brand of rock n soul to the Island View Casino in Gulfport on Saturday.
Taylor Hicks will bring his brand of rock n soul to the Island View Casino in Gulfport on Saturday. Courtesy

Here’s what you think you know about singer Taylor Hicks — he has gray hair, he’s a powerful soul singer and he won Season 5 of “American Idol.”

And while all of that may be true, Hicks is also a businessman and restaurateur, a self-proclaimed “foodie,” an actor and, now, a TV personality, as he hosts “State Plate,” which airs on Fridays on INSP.

Yes, he’s one of the most popular “Idol” winners in the show’s history, but there is much much more to Taylor Hicks.

The Birmingham native is coming back to the Coast for an 8 p.m. show on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Island View Casino in Gulfport. Tickets start at $30 and are available at Tickemaster.com

In an interview with the Sun Herald, Hicks discusses his new TV show, his musical career and his love for college football from the state of Alabama.

I noticed you recently turned 40. Are you where you want to be in life?

Well, my hair can’t get any grayer. I’m blessed. I love working hard. I felt like I wouldn't make it to 40 to be completely honest. When 40 happened, I feel like I aged 10 years — in one night. But it may have been the beers I was drinking.

Tell me about your new TV show.

Being from the South, it’s tough not to be a foodie. I’ve traveled so much around the South that I’ve been able to get into some really great places and meet some really great people. It’s kind of a natural progression of being in the entertainment field and co-owning Saw’s BBQ in Birmingham. It’s the perfect fit. It’s a really great concept. It’s not on a food channel. We’re talking state foods. It airs at 8 p.m. on INSP TV on Fridays. I love it. It’s something different than setting up and playing music. It allows me to get excited about music and performing. If I can take a break and do that for a while, the excitement builds on the other end.

The final “American Idol” winner Trent Harmon is from my hometown —Amory, Mississippi. Did you have any advice for him after he won the show?

Trent’s a great guy and he’s an extremely talented singer. You know, you have to follow your own path and use your own instincts. You can get caught up in a lot of people telling you which way to go in, but you’ve got to make your own path sometimes.

How do you think Auburn can beat Alabama?

They need (running back Kamryn) Pettway back. If he’s healthy, then kind of puts them back at Square One before their loss to Georgia. The technical side of the equation is this: we’ve seen what a former Alabama coordinator (Georgia coach Kirby Smart) has done to Auburn’s offense — is it going to be a repeat of the same game strategy for Saban? If this game were in Auburn, all bets would be off. I also think if you're going to be a first or second round draft pick and make millions of dollars and take care of your family for the rest of their lives and you don’t have anything to play for in the Iron Bowl except for pride, are you going to give it a hundred percent? By not playing for the SEC Championship and not having a shot at the national championship, the number of people that are going to see you play have cut drastically. Motivation is a big deal in college football.

If you go

Taylor Hicks

Island View Casino at 3300 W. Beach Blvd. in Gulfport

8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26

Tickets are $30 and are available at Ticketmaster.com.