Shortly after his parents' divorce, Hicks discovered Ray Charles' music on the radio.
Charles' woe-filled voice helped him cope with the divorce.
"I would find, like, the key that an airplane flying overhead was in or the sound of a running car," he remembers.
He then embarked on a surreptitious music career, sneaking out at night to perform at local bars.
Hicks has suggested his difficult childhood as the reason for his turning to soul and blues music for solace. He played varsity baseball, soccer, and basketball while studying in Hoover.
He then pursued a major in business and journalism at Auburn University, but lost interest and dropped out after three years.
His hair started turning gray by the time he was 14.
His parents divorced, and stepmother Linda shared custody of their son until he became of age.
You’re absolutely helpless in this situation because, you know, we lost a complete engine. And I just felt like my life and all of our lives kind of flashed before our eyes a little bit.“Extra’s” Charissa Thompson sat down with “American Idol” Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks to see what he’s been up to in the decade since his big win.“I’m very fortunate, you know,” the harmonica-toting entertainer said."He thought he was the white Michael Jackson," his father recalls.Gifted with perfect pitch, Hicks taught himself blues harmonica and guitar at the age of 16 by playing off different sounds he heard throughout the day.