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Entertainment News

Sunday, 29 June, 2008 1:46 PM

CMA New Artist Spotlight: Phil Stacey

Photo by Chapman Baehler

Lyric Street recording artist Phil Stacey

By Bob Doerschuk
© 2008 CMA Close Up News Service

It was a tough climb, not a fast track, that Phil Stacey followed on the way to his place among the Top 6 "American Idol" finalists in 2007. Diverging paths confronted him; by following his conscience and sense of responsibility, he sometimes took the tougher road - but those decisions invariably strengthened him along the way.

His ascent began on rock-solid ground, as the son of a pastor. Moving from one congregation to the next, through Kentucky, Ohio and Kansas, Rev. Stacey encouraged his children to embrace music along with faith as sources of stability and assurance in their mobile lives. As a result, Phil joined with his brother and sister to form The Stacey Trio, whose victory in a statewide talent contest led to his first crossroads.

Electing to stay in high school rather than drop out to perform full-time, he would soon make other, equally correct choices: to decide on the night he met his future wife that they were fated to be together; to perform with the Lee Singers while earning a degree at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn.; to enlist in the Navy after September 11th and become part of the Navy Band Southeast; and to fulfill military obligations rather than attend a friend's wedding as best man - and then to accept that friend's challenge to atone by auditioning for "American Idol."

Taking note of his technically assured and emotionally inspiring style, Lyric Street Records signed Stacey and introduced him to producer Wayne Kirkpatrick. The fruit of their collaboration, Stacey's self-titled debut, featuring the first single, "If You Didn't Love Me," written by Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts, Wendell Mobley and Jason Sellers, heralding a presence as powerful on disc as it was during Stacey's "Idol" run on screen.

IN HIS OWN WORDS

MUSICAL HERO

"Rich Mullins."

INFLUENCES

"Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and George Strait."

CD IN YOUR STEREO

"Little Big Town's A Place to Land. I'm working with their producer, Wayne Kirkpatrick, and he's such a master at that elemental, organic sound."

DREAM DUET PARTNER

"I'd love to record a duet with Carrie Underwood."

BOOK ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND

"The Bible."

FAVORITE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION

"Forget planes, trains and automobiles. I'd rather walk."

HOMETOWN

"Jacksonville, Fla."

On the Web: www.philstacey.com

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