Phillip Phillips’s ‘The World From The Side Of The Moon’: Exclusive Album Audio Preview!
Phillip Phillips became an overnight sensation after winning "American Idol" this year. So perhaps it's fitting that the recording process for his post-"Idol" debut album, The World From The Side Of The Moon--the preview of which is premiering right here, right now--was just as much of a whirlwind. Coming off summer 2012's Idols Live Tour, Phillip had just THREE weeks to record the album, and even now he admits, "I'm still shocked that I did it!"
Explains Phillip, "At first it was going to be coming out in December, then February, and then [the label] came back and said they wanted to get it out by November. And I was like, 'Aw, crap!' I have no idea how we did it. A lot of hours. We were in the studio for at least 13, 14, 15 hours a day, just getting work done."
In retrospect, Phillip thinks the crazy deadline was actually a blessing in disguise. "I think it was best to have a really short amount of time, because we didn't overanalyze things. I didn't want to overproduce anything, anyway. I didn't want to do anything that I couldn't perform live; I really wanted to keep it raw. So it was an awesome experience, having to get everything done that fast and learning so much in such a short amount of time."
And how did Phillip's health hold up during this grueling experience, considering that he underwent major kidney surgery shortly after his "Idol" victory and shortly before going on tour? "My health is awesome," he insists. "I couldn't ask for anything better. The doctors did an awesome job. I still have to watch what I eat, to help prevent problems from happening again, and I have to take a few medications, but I'm doing really good."
Aside from all these pressures, Phillip was in fact afforded some luxuries and freedoms in the studio that past Idols haven't enjoyed--which thankfully prevented his album from sounding like a rush job. First of all, he was able to work with only one producer, Greg Wattenberg (Train, Daughtry, Goo Goo Dolls, Five For Fighting), to create a cohesive sound--when other Idols in the past have had so many producers, their CD booklets required multiple extra pages to fit in all the credits. Additionally, Phillip was able to record several of his pre-"Idol" original compositions, and he wrote or co-wrote all but two of the 11 new, non-"Home" tracks recorded for the album. He even got to recruit his brother-in-law, Ben Neil, to play lead guitar on the album and co-write one of the cuts, "Drive Me."
Phillip received flak from Jimmy and the "Idol" judges during Season 11 for some of his obscure song choices and arrangements--"arty" was one adjective that was tossed around, disdainfully--but Phillip insists that when he was in the studio, he learned how to balance "American Idol's" commercial pressures with his own artistic tendencies. "I definitely got to be 'arty' a lot! But I also learned to write songs that were more simple. That was a learning experience for me, but I like to have a little bit of a challenge. But they learned from me, too. Sometimes they'd be like, 'That's a little strange...but I like it!' So I fought for it. It was a give and take from everybody. But I think the album is arty.