Phillip Phillips boarded a commercial jet for the first time when he traveled to Hollywood last year for the 11th season of American Idol. The laid-back 22-year-old from Leesburg, Ga., can now fly first class thanks to his win on Idol, the multiplatinum single "Home" and his album The World From the Side of the Moon. "I've only been home for three weeks since Idol's been over," he says. "It gets a little tough, but when I get up onstage I get energy." We talked with Phillips about his year and a summer tour with John Mayer that brings him to Blossom Music Center Aug. 6.
What were your best and worst experiences during American Idol?
PHILLIPS - It's a very long process. You're constantly working to learn new songs, and it wasn't as easy as it looks. I've never been a competitive person, so it really didn't matter to me how far I got. I was definitely still nervous each week, but I just felt it was an honor to be there. The best part was meeting the people who worked on the show. I've met a lot of great artists since then, something I never thought I would be able to do.
You've been compared to musicians ranging from John Mayer to Mumford & Sons. How do you describe your sound?
PHILLIPS - Eclectic. I think using different emotions keeps it interesting. At first I was more into the guitar than singing and my hero was Angus Young from AC/DC. I also liked Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Dave Matthews.
What was your reaction to the huge success of "Home"?
PHILLIPS - I was surprised, and the record company was surprised. ... I don't think anybody realized what it was going to do, and what really gave it life was when they played it during the Olympics.
What are your thoughts on touring with John Mayer this summer?
PHILLIPS - It'll be a fun time. I'm definitely looking forward to it. It is going to be strange for me playing shows at venues where I used to be in the crowd. But it'll be a good kind of strange.