Phillip Phillips growing into his music on Behind the Light
Behind the Light is the second album from platinum-selling 19 Entertainment/Interscope Records recording artist Phillip Phillips. The American Idol Season 11 winner recorded the 15-track project at New York City’s Quad Studios with producer Gregg Wattenberg (Train, Rascal Flatts, Five For Fighting), who also produced Phillips’ 2012 Top 10 debut, The World from the Side of the Moon. The new LP includes the ‘Home’ singer’s news singles ‘Fly’ and ‘Raging Fire.’ The latter currently sits at No. 14 and No. 23 on the Mediabase Adult Contemporary and Hot AC radio airplay charts, respectively. In addition, a deluxe version of Behind the Light includes three bonus tracks.
Singer-songwriter-guitarist Phillip Phillips kept up a steady pace of songwriting while touring in 2013. The effort helped him maintain his lifelong passion for rugged, rootsy, rock & roll on his new sophomore release. A news release posted on PhillipPhillips.com states the 23-year-old Georgia native offers up a batch of songs that are marked by a “more ambitious and refined sensibility, but still powered by the earthy authenticity that’s long shaped his sound.” Each song on Behind the Light was written or co-written by Phillips and showcases the guitar skills he’s been honing since age 14. He’s since achieved a level of musicianship that finds him opening for Matchbox Twenty and John Mayer as well as sharing the stage with Bruce Springsteen at the 2013 Rock in Rio festival.
Phillips prepared for the making Behind the Light by dedicating himself to broadening his impassioned brand of rock with an “edgy ingenuity” influenced by legendary artists such as Radiohead and Peter Gabriel. The moody, darkly charged “arena-sized rock anthems” combine “big emotion and unbridled energy” with sprawling arrangements and melodic songs. The “lush and harmony-laced” ‘Searchlight’ opens with a cascade of guitars on a number that “shimmers with a sense of redemption.” ‘Unpack Your Heart’ embodies hope and joyful courage, while dreamlike imagery and mournful cello give ‘Thicket’ a “shadowy cinematic feel.”
Lead single ‘Fly’ emerges as a “glorious all-out rocker fueled by tense and nervy pedal-steel guitar,” and ‘Trigger’ is a “pained love song” intensified by Phillips’ scorching guitar solo. Both highlight Phillips’ “triumphant spirit” that prevails throughout the album as a testament to the young artist’s “warm yet commanding grasp as a songwriter and performer.” The one-time pawn shop clerk says he took time to “feel out” each song on the album, and pushed into territory he hadn’t charted before. “I don’t believe in forcing a song,” he declares in the press announcement, “so if I start out with a particular vision and then it takes a different turn, I’m going to follow that and see what happens.”
Phillips reveals he felt like he was growing with the songs as he wrote them, resulting in a more complex collection of music. “A lot of the songs are about growing up and starting to feel that gravity’s making its way into your life,” he explains. “It’s a scary thing, but at the same time it’s also kind of beautiful.” He adds that he developed each of the songs on Behind the Light with an eye toward their impact in a live setting as he introduces the new album touring this summer with O.A.R. in the U.S. and Canada.
Watch Phillip Phillips in the official music video for ‘Raging Fire’ off the former American Idol champion’s sophomore LP Behind the Light.
As A Matter of Fact…
* Phillip LaDon Phillips, Jr. was born September 20, 1990, in Albany, Georgia. He moved with his family to Leesburg, Ga. in 2002. Phillips started playing guitar at age 14 and was mentored by his longtime friend and brother-in-law, Benjamin Neil.
* Phillips grew up listening to ‘60s and ‘70s classic rock by Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and others before discovering Damien Rice, Dave Matthews, and John Butler. He describes his music as having a “jazz and rock alternative sound.”
* In 2009, the Phillip Phillips Band was formed with Neil and another brother-in-law, Todd Urick. The group performed at various local venues and events, and Phillips won a local singing competition in 2010.
* After failing to advance on the second season of America's Got Talent, Phillips auditioned for American Idol Season 11 in Savannah, Ga., eventually winning the title in February 2011 over runner-up Jessica Sanchez. His coronation song, ‘Home,’ was a Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 single (No. ), topped the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, and sold more than 4 million copies in the U.S. alone.
* Phillips’ debut album, The World from the Side of the Moon, was released in November 2012. The album produced by Gregg Wattenberg (with Phillips writing or co-writing most of the songs) debuted at No. 4 in the Billboard 200 with sales of 169,000 copies in its first week. The album ultimately went platinum in August 2013.
* In 2013, Phillips released the single ‘Gone, Gone, Gone’ and toured extensively by opening for Matchbox Twenty as well as booking a series of headlining shows on college campuses. He also toured as an opening act for John Mayer's Born and Raised world tour. A solo tour of Canada kicked off 2014 behind new single ‘Where We Came From.’