Name: Phillip LaDon Phillips, Jr.
Born: September 20, 1990
Occupation: Singer. Guitarist
Georgia native Phillip LaDon Phillips, Jr. has the best-selling American Idol coronation song to date and just released his second album, but he was working in the family pawn shop right up until he tried out for the show. Family has always been important to the performer who learned to play guitar from his friend and brother-in-law Benjamin Neil. His first band, formed in 2009, featured Neil and another brother-in-law, Todd Urick.
Phillips won the eleventh season of American Idol in May, 2012. He was the only contestant never in jeopardy of being voted off the show and his debut song, sung as his Idol coronation, sold more than 4 million copies. The song, “Home” was performed at the Major League Baseball All-Stars game and for the PBS July 4th celebration “A Capitol 4th.”
Just six months after his Idol win, Phillips was opening for Matchbox Twenty during part of their North America tour and had a ten date college tour planned, but had to postpone nine of those dates due to continuing health issues. While he was appearing on American Idol, Phillips had on-going issues with kidney stones, including having eight procedures to remove them. Phillips has said the pain was so intense that he thought about leaving the show.
Phillips attended Albany Technical College and graduated with a degree in industrial systems technology, but missed graduation due to his American Idol commitments. His voice has been compared to Dave Matthews and Phillips calls his music as a jazz and alternative rock sound. The singer’s versatility with music may have played a role in his Idol win.
His initial audition in Savannah, Georgia, began with a vocal performance of Stevie Wonders “Superstition.” When judges asked for a second performance with his guitar, he opted for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” In his Top 3 performance, he opted for Bob Seger’s “We’ve Got Tonight.”
Phillips has an estimated net worth of $5 million. He supports charities including the anti-bullying effort DoSomething.org and veterans charities as well as the National Parks Foundation. Recently, Phillips filed a lawsuit against 19 Entertainment which owns Idol and signs pre-winning contracts with contestants. The lawsuit contends that the firm gets 40% of earning from endorsements and keeps the artist in the dark about his own career, including the title of his last album.
How much is $5 million?
Five million dollars may be enough for Phillips to challenge the behemoth 19 Entertainment, but there’s no telling if it will be enough for him to win.