Today's featured artist first came to the music world's attention in 2006, winning season five of American Idol. He was a first on many fronts on the program --- he was the show's oldest winner and the first artist to win the show without ever dropping into the final three on the voting list.

Taylor Hicks Performs At The Roxy Theatre
Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images

Taylor Hicks broke through in 2006, but he had been hard at work trying to break through in Nashville for close to a decade by that point. He was part of the group Passing Through while in college, and in 1997 released the solo, independent album, In Your Time. He moved to Nashville in 2000, recording three demo tracks, but was unable to draw attention from labels. He left Music City a year later, returning home to Alabama, but continued to drive his career forward, performing across the southeast, while getting the opportunities to open for established acts like James Brown, Tom Petty and Jackson Browne. He even secured a spot performing on the infield of Talladega Super Speedway during a NASCAR event.

Hicks released a second independent album in 2005, just prior to auditioning for season 5 of American Idol. He managed to stay just inside the show's rules, which don't allow contestants who have previously signed recording contracts. Since Hicks self-produced and self-released his two projects, there was no contact singed with a record label, which allowed him to compete on the program.

FOX's "American Idol" Finale For The Farewell Season - Arrivals
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Hicks auditioned for Idol in October of 2005, and got the immediate approval of judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson; Simon Cowell wasn't sold right away. Cowell told Hicks after his audition that he didn't see the singer making it to the program's finale. Just a couple of weeks later, Cowell recanted after another Hicks' performance, calling back his comment and apologizing.

Hicks cruised through the season, never once falling into the bottom three in votes and facing elimination. When he defeated Katharine McPhee (Scorpion) and Elliott Yamin in the season finale, he became the first Idol winner to not face elimination during his run. He also became the show's oldest winner at age 29, a title he held onto throughout the show's 15 season run.

Cowells' opinion of Hicks had definitely changed, as the singer signed with Cowell's 19 Recordings Limited/Arista Records after winning Idol in 2006. Hicks released his major-label debut single, "Do I Make You Proud" in May and toured with other former-Idol contestants Yamin, Chris Daughtry, Ace Young and Bucky Covington through the summer. The single hit #1 on the country chart, to date, Hicks' only charted country single, though he has reached the top-20 on the pop charts three more times. 2006 was a busy year for Hicks, as he also released his self-titled "debut" album, co-authored his biography and settled a lawsuit with a former producer over songs he had previously recorded.

2015 Hollywood Christmas Parade
Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for The Hollywood Christmas Parade

In 2008 the old tapes Hicks had fought the former producer over resurfaced once again, as the album Early Works and in 2009 he released The Distance. The albums, while critically accepted have failed to set off any alarms on the commercial front, as only his debut album has managed to sell more than 100,000 copies. The singer has been back in the studio, working on an as yet unnamed album, his first project of new music in almost 9 years, and we have the lead single from the project in our spotlight today.

Brought to you by All American Super Car Wash of Lawton, Taylor Hicks and "Six Strings and Diamond Rings" is today's Catch of the Day, new music you haven't heard, but you'll want to hear it again.

Text today’s key word to 580 353-1013, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card from All American Super Car Wash of Lawton, presenting the Catch of the Day on Oklahoma’s Best Country KLAW101.

Today’s Key Word: “STRINGS”

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