In 2012, Phillip Phillips won the 11th season of American Idol, and his hit coming off the show, “Home,” became the singing competition’s best-selling coronation song in its nearly 15 years on television. However, Phillips’ passion for music dates back long before his American Idol audition. The singer, who hails from Albany, Georgia, began pursuing music as a teenager when his sister and brother-in-law taught him how to play the guitar. Now he has two albums under his belt—his 2012 debut, The World from the Side of the Moon, and his 2014 sophomore follow-up, Behind the Light—and he’s in the process of writing his third. Before fans can get their hands on that record, they can see Phillips on his co-headlining tour with kindred singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson, which makes a stop at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center on Aug. 10.
What made you decide to become a singer?
I didn’t think I could sing until I was about 18 years old. I started playing the guitar at 14 or 15 years old, and I would sing to myself because I liked to play weird things on the guitar and [singing] helped me keep time … I didn’t realize I could sing until my sister overheard me one night when we were practicing and said, “You should sing this Sunday at church.” She’s the one who pushed me to sing that Sunday in front of a couple hundred people. I didn’t look up the entire time because there were pretty girls out there and I was terrified.
What did you want to do, if singing wasn’t your plan originally?
I wanted to play baseball. I used to play baseball from when I was 5 until I was 16 when I picked up a guitar … But when I picked up a guitar, that all went out the window.
Who or what inspires you as an artist?
Inspiration comes in many shapes and forms. Writing music, there’s always some kind of inspiration, whether good or bad. Live life and see where it takes you.
What do you want people to take away from your music?
Maybe I’ll inspire them … if something is going on in their life or maybe inspire kids to pick up a guitar.
What is the best thing about performing?
All [your] worries go away on the stage. I’m just there with my guys in the band and rocking out as hard as we can.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Sleep [and] chill out; I’m a pretty relaxed kind of guy. I watch Netflix and sleep and [then] sleep some more.