American Idol Taylor Hicks helps celebrate Flora-Bama anniversary

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WALA) – It’s not every day that a bar turns 50 years old. And for American Idol alum Taylor Hicks, who spent 20 years performing at the bar, it’s something you want to be there for.

“This taught me a lot about performing in front of all kinds of different folks. And when I got on Idol, I just thought about the Idol audience as the Flora-Bama audience. So it translated,” Hicks said.

Beyond the Idol stage, Hicks said being able to spend time here also paved the way for another prominent gig: starring in “Grease” on Broadway.

“When you spend so much time at the Flora-Bama, you never think that in a million years you would actually grace the stage of Broadway. But there’s no difference. This is an audience that wants to be entertained, the Broadway audience wants to be entertained,” Hicks said.

And if you ask the owners, that’s really what the Flora-Bama boils down to: people and music.

“The best one (memory) was actually a conversation I had with my partner Joe and he said, ‘John, the Flora-Bama is only a shell with a bunch of great memories. It’s the people who are the Flora-Bama,’” Co-owner John McInnis said.

“It’s about people. It’s about original music. About how people can treat one another with equal respect,” Pat McClellan, another co-owner added.

Hicks said he’s also in the midst of a new album, which will come out soon. And the Birmingham native may give a nod to his coastal music roots on the record.

“(It’s) blues, soul, country. I spent a lot of time with it. So I’m excited to release a country-soul record,” Hicks said.

When asked if the Flora-Bama might get a mention, he added, “Oh, of course, of course. They always do. This is a special place in my heart.”

And Hicks said whether or not there’s a big party down at the Flora-Bama, he’s always happy to return to his home away from home stage.

Hicks performed Friday night at the Flora-Bama and will return for another performance Saturday, August 2 at 8:30 p.m.

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