Phillip Phillips: UPC Brings American Idol Winner to Campus

This Saturday, Jan. 26, Denison University will be hosting Phillip Phillips and his four-piece acoustic band at 10:00 p.m. on the third floor of Slayter. Thanks to UPC, the 22-year-old American Idol winner and singer-songwriter will be stopping at Denison on his tour of ten colleges this month.

Phillips is best known for his debut single which was released right after his American Idol Season 11 win, “Home.” The single, selling over 3 million copies, became the highest debut on the Billboard Digital Sound Chart and had the biggest digital sales week for any coronation song of an Idol winner. It also became the unofficial theme song of the Summer Olympics. This successful double platinum song is just a taste of his inviting Georgia campfire sing-along type songs. His first album, The World From the Side of the Moon, debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200. He is also featured on the American Idol Season 11 Highlights. Other popular songs include “Gone, Gone, Gone” and “Can’t Go Wrong.”

Growing up in Leesburg, Ga., Phillips started playing music when he was fourteen. In 2009, he formed with his longtime mentor and brother-in-law Neil, “The Phillip Phillips Band with Neil.” They played at nearby venues especially small colleges for little money, while Phillips began winning local singing competitions. Taking a break from working at his par- ents’ pawnshop, and with encouragement from family and friends, he auditioned for American Idol in Savannah, Ga. Opening with the song “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder, in the next round the judges asked if he would audition with his guitar and he did when performing “Thriller” by Michael Jackson.

He potentially could have fallen under the radar, due to the fact that he fulfills the popular theme of the last five American Idol winners “White Guy with Guitar.” But thanks to the amazing success with his debut single, he has happily ridden the acoustic-indie wave into college kids’ iPods, and has landed himself as a radio station repeat. His raspy and folksy sound may sound familiar to The Dave Matthews Band, Damien Rice, or the more popular than ever Mumford & Sons, which Phillips agrees have all influenced his style greatly. His album The World From the Side of the Moon does not stray away from his famil- iar low-key musical approach, resonating with his folk-voice. But recently he has been working on a new album that will be slightly different than the previous. His new record company 19entertainment/Interscope Records claims it will have more of a rock heavy sound, due to another one of his musical influences, Eric Clapton. Phillips recently played at the benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy Relief, which took place in New York. He also performed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, singing “Gone, Gone, Gone,” ironically following Ellen’s interview with the former Idol judge, Jennifer Lopez. He also shared the cover of last week’s Billboard Magazine with Jimmy Iovine.

According to UPC, the organization will be expecting a full house, and people lining up as early as 9:00 p.m. Doors open officially at 9:30p.m., and students should try to show up early due to limited space on the third floor of Slayter. However, this small space will provide a much more intimate and appropriate setting for Phillips and his acoustic set. Students must have their Denison ID to enter, and no guests are allowed in attendance. There will also be an enforcement of the use of cameras, recordings, purses, backpacks, heels, food, or drink. As part of the concert, UPC has launched their #LoveHome campaign. This will involve pictures, videos and covers taken by UPC members that will be available for viewing on Facebook, Twitter and the Denison website.