Daring To Dream Bigger

 

PEOPLE_AFI_Phillip Phillips_11.19.14

 

Phillip Phillips didn’t think his dream of playing his music
on a national stage would ever become a reality. A self-taught guitar player who picked up the instrument at 14 years old, he loved to perform at small clubs and festivals but never aspired to go beyond that. “I would go to sleep every night and think about what it would be like to play for thousands of people,” he says. “But I didn’t think it was something that would actually happen.” That is, until his family and friends encouraged him to try. “They believed that I should give it a shot.”

With their encouragement, Phillip won a spot in a television singing competition. “They believed that it was something I could do, and I just believed that they believed it.”

Phillip faced challenges along the way, including a kidney condition that necessitated major surgery at the end of the competition. “There were times when I almost quit—but I had the support of the people on the show, and my family and friends and my fans, and so I decided not to give up.”

With his sophomore album, Behind the Light, now in stores, Phillip is amazed at how much his life has changed. “To be in a stadium and hear 85,000 people singing every word to

every song—it is such a dream moment,” he says. The album illustrates his growth as an artist, offering songs that are more refined while still showcasing the earthy authenticity that has shaped his sound. “I felt like I was growing with the songs as I was writing them.”

That doesn’t mean he has forgotten his small-town roots. Phillip finds that after a few months on the road he needs
to recharge back at home, where he can be his same old
self. “People in the south aren’t shy,” he says. “They keep me grounded. They are proud, but to them I am just me.”

“To be in a stadium and hear 85,000 people singing every word to every song—it is such a dream moment.” —PHILLIP PHILLIPS

Now that he is living his dream, Phillip hopes that he can encourage others in the same way his family encouraged him. “There may be a kid out there who is thinking about picking up a guitar, and maybe my story will inspire him to do it,” he says. “I want them to know that anything is 110% possible.”

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