Phillip Phillips fans got their first taste of a new album this week with the release of "Raging Fire," the first single from his upcoming as yet unnamed offering, and a bonus -- the "American Idol" Season 11 winner appeared on the "Idol" Top 12 results show Thursday night to perform the song. And it would appear that the 23-year-old Georgian is picking up where he left off with his first album, firmly ensconced in solid guitar-driven rhythms and the now mainstream sound of Mumford & Sons-esque neo-folk.
Oh, and that somewhat Dave Matthews-like growl that won over the "American Idol" viewers in 2012.
But if you think a couple of years-worth of touring experience, a hit album, and two major hit songs has him looking at the live one-off as routine, it most certainly is not. Phillips told The Hollywood Reporter March 7 that he still gets nervous doing live shows, especially on television.
“I was like a kid meeting Santa for the first time,” he admitted. “I get so nervous on live television because you can’t change it if you mess up.”
"Raging Fire" was released to iTunes on March 3 and although it had placed inside the Top 40 on the iTunes Songs chart for the week, it wasn't until after Phillips' energized performance of the song on "American Idol" that the tune took off. It bounded up the iTunes Hot 100 Songs list (for the U. S.), then settled in at No. 9 for a few hours before moving up to the No. 6 spot. (As this article is posted, the song remains in the Top 10.)
It looks as if "Raging Fire" just might get in line with the platinum successes of "Home" and "Gone, Gone, Gone," with the former selling over 5 million copies and becoming one on only 50 songs to sell over 5 million units in the Nielsen Soundscan age (since 1991). "Home," needless to say, is the top selling single in "American Idol" history and was Phillips' coronation song when he took home the Season 11 title.
Phillip Phillips said in a video clip run-up to his results show performance that the new album would have romantic songs as well as some with "dark topics." He said he was looking forward to "rocking out" to the new music.
After he burned up the stage, host Ryan Seacrest asked what it was like to play Rio de Janeiro, where he rocked alongside John Mayer and Bruce Springsteen. A somewhat breathless Phillips said that "John was cool" and "Bruce body-surfed" the Rio crowd. Seacrest couldn't help but plug the show, "Win on 'American Idol' and be on a first name basis with people like Mayer and Springsteen."
Be that as it may, one thing the live performance showcased that is fresh and new: horns and strings. Now, they might have been present in a few of the studio tracks on The View From The Side Of The Moon, but they weren't present in his live performances.
The View From The Side Of The Moon, Phillips' debut album, has sold over 1 million copies, one of twenty platinum-certified albums awarded to "American Idol" graduates.
Phillip Phillips isn't the only "Idol" alum presenting new music in recent weeks. Season 12 winner Candice Glover dropped her debut album, Music Speaks, on Feb. 18, just a week after Season 11's Elise Testone, who once performed duets with Phillips on the "Idol" stage, released her debut collection, In This Life. And during this week's Top 12 performances, Ryan Seacrest gave a shout-out to Season 9's James Durbin, whose sophomore album, Celebrate, is in pre-sales mode, slated for an April 8 release.