Thanks to his high-powered stage performances of classic rock, blues, and R&B music, Taylor Hicks captured the highly coveted title of "American Idol" (Fox, 2002- ) during season five of the reality competition series. Taylor Reuben Hicks was born on Oct. 7, 1976 in Birmingham, AL. In elementary school, Hicks often performed and played the harmonica during class. By the time he was 14, his hair gradually started to turn gray. The future "Idol" winner wrote his first song when he was 18, and learned to play the guitar a year later. After graduating from high school, Hicks enrolled in his home state's Auburn University to major in business and journalism, but dropped out after three years to pursue a music career. He first tried his luck in Nashville, TN, but because he was unable to land a recording contract, Hicks returned to Alabama, where he found steady work at various parties and events. By this time, he had already released two albums, In Your Time (1997) and Under the Radar (2005).