The winner of the 11th season of Fox's American Idol, singer Phillip Phillips is a soulful vocalist with a throaty style and a bent toward mixing acoustic singer/songwriter material with jam-oriented rock. Born in Leesburg, Georgia, Phillips began studying music in his teens. He eventually formed a group with brother-in-law Benjamin Neil and began performing locally. During this time, he won first place in the local singing competition Albany Star in 2010. While attending school at Albany Technical College, Phillips auditioned for American Idol, performing both Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" and Michael Jackson's "Thriller" — on which he accompanied himself on guitar. Phillips was sent through to the Hollywood rounds and eventually made it into the Top Ten after performing Otis Redding's "Hard to Handle."
Phillips suffers from a congenital kidney condition; during his time on American Idol, he underwent eight surgeries to remove stones. Despite the pain, he continued to compete on American Idol and ultimately beat out vocalist Jessica Sanchez for the top spot. He released his Idol-winning single, "Home," on May 23, 2012. The song was also included on his 2012 post-Idol performance compilation Journey to the Finale. After Idol wrapped, Phillips underwent successful reconstructive surgery. Once he'd recovered, Phillips went on tour with the American Idol LIVE Tour that summer and set about recording his debut album. Entitled The World from the Side of the Moon, the album appeared in November 2012, and was reissued in 2013 with three bonus tracks, which were culled from that year's Phillip Phillips: Live EP
Phillips began recording his second proper album in 2013, working with producers Todd Clark and Gregg Wattenberg. "Raging Fire," the first single from these sessions, appeared in March 2014; it peaked at ten on the U.S. Adult Top 40 chart and 58 on the Hot 100. In May 2014, Behind the Light was released, after which Phillips sued 19 Entertainment, alleging he was being "manipulated" in his career due to an "oppressive" contract. It was settled out of court in June 2017, and once the lawsuit was out of the way, Phillips returned in early 2018 with his third album, Collateral. ~ Matt Collar