NEW YORK -- With the success of his debut single, Home, Phillip Phillips isn't just the dude who won American Idol. He's the dude with that folk-rock hit, according to the fans he has met.
"People are like, 'You're the guy with the song Home,' and I'm like, 'Yeah, yeah.' They say ... 'So do you have any other music out?' I'm like, 'There are some covers.' 'What from?' I say, ' American Idol.' 'You were on American Idol?'" he recalls.
"There was a lot of people who didn't even know I was on Idol," he says. "I think that's cool."
The star power for winners on Idol -- or other singing competitions on TV -- don't usually continue after the season's run, but Phillips is hoping he won't be one of those stereotypes, thanks to the success of his multiplatinum Top 10 hit and first album, The World From the Side of the Moon, which debuted at No. 4 on Billboard's 200 albums chart after selling 169,011 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Home -- the only song he didn't write or co-write on the album -- also got a boost when it was used in commercials for the Fierce Five, the five American female gymnasts who scored gold during the Olympics.
The 22-year-old talked about his music, being laid-back, and the insta-family and friends who have surfaced since he won the Idol crown.
1 What do you think of the comparisons of Home to Mumford & Sons' music?
People are always gonna compare somebody to somebody else, but I think when people hear the album, it's not gonna remind them of Mumford & Sons too much because I'm a little more rock, and you know they're very folk and they're amazing.... I think once they hear this album, it's gonna turn their heads a little bit.
2 Most Idol winners haven't had success like Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood. Does that make you nervous?
I mean, if it doesn't do well, it wasn't meant to do well.... I'd be upset for a little bit, but it's just what it's meant to be. I can only hope for the best. I can't make anybody do anything. I'm nervous about it, definitely, but all I can do is hope that it does well.
3 What do you think of the new Idol judges?
I'm curious to see how they're gonna judge and to see what they're looking for. Keith Urban is an amazing musician, so that'll be cool to have him.
4 How's your health? (Phillips had major kidney surgery after he won Idol this year.)
I'm doing great. I'm tired, but staying busy. This reminds me, I have to get a doctor's checkup.
5 Do you find a lot of people came out of the woodwork after seeing you on TV?
People that were saying they were cousins and good friends with my friend's friend whose friend of another friend and my grandma's sister's other half-sister's baby's child. I'm like, "Nice to meet you, finally."
-- Alicia Rancilio, The Associated Press