From the platform of “American Idol,” Phil Stacey took a leap toward his musical ambitions.

Then he began to fly.

Since becoming a Top 6 finalist on the popular TV show last season, Stacey has released his debut album, performed everywhere from county festivals to the Grand Ole Opry to Carnegie Hall, and learned the effect his music can have on listeners. On July 6, he will perform in Shawnee, where he once lived and his in-laws, Mark and Tami McIntosh, still call home.

Life since “American Idol” has been fast-paced and exciting, but because it’s all about singing, Stacey is all about hanging on for the adventure.


From the platform of “American Idol,” Phil Stacey took a leap toward his musical ambitions.
Then he began to fly.
Since becoming a Top 6 finalist on the popular TV show last season, Stacey has released his debut album, performed everywhere from county festivals to the Grand Ole Opry to Carnegie Hall, and learned the effect his music can have on listeners. On July 6, he will perform in Shawnee, where he once lived and his in-laws, Mark and Tami McIntosh, still call home.
Life since “American Idol” has been fast-paced and exciting, but because it’s all about singing, Stacey is all about hanging on for the adventure.
“A lot of the molding of my life has been through music. As an artist, the most I can hope for is that the songs I sing will touch someone’s life, maybe help someone who needs to hear a positive message,” Stacey said in a phone interview this week.
Stacey performs at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 6, at Raley Chapel on the campus of Oklahoma Baptist University. Admission is free, but an offering will be taken to benefit Family Promise and Shawnee Rescue Mission, two organizations that help homeless families.
Stacey said he has been performing as much as he can since his album, “Phil Stacey,” came out April 29. Its first single, “If You Didn’t Love Me,” has gained notice for its message of devotion, and the music video features his wife, Kendra.
“I connected to the lyrics instantly,” Stacey said. “The song expresses appreciation for the person who pushes you and drives you to do what you need to do. For me, my wife is my driving force.”
The CD is from Lyric Street Records, a label that has allowed Stacey to be true to his musical inclinations: country with a strong thread of spirituality. He said he listened to 500-600 songs for the album, and the ones he picked have messages that are significant in his own life.
“Lyric Street wants me to be true to who I am, instead of just the ‘American Idol’ hype,” he said. “With the ‘American Idol’ machine, it’s easy to turn out things just because you can. But every song on my record is important to me. I chose them for very specific reasons.
“As a songwriter, I would have loved to have written for the album, but it was impossible to get with Nashville songwriters in time and polish everything record-ready. So I chose songs from my favorite writers. Every song has a story attached to my life ... lessons I’ve learned, things that have helped me, songs that have touched me.”
Among them is “’Round Here,” a rousing ode to stick-to-itiveness in the face of naysayers, written for Stacey by the country group Little Big Town. Stacey said it represents his perseverance to finish high school and college, despite offers to tour with a musical group, a mild learning disability that slowed him down and people who told him he wasn’t suited for higher education.
“I struggled with school, but I did the best I could, and when I graduated from college, I was very proud,” he said. “’Round Here’ is one of those songs for people who’ve been told what they can or can’t do all their lives. It’s also a story written about Jesus and how he changed the world. And 2,000 years after his death, so many people still follow him.”
Stacey also just came out of the studio for another project: recording a single called “Old Glory” that he wrote several years ago during his active-duty military days. The song isn’t on his album, but his record label may release it for play around Memorial Day, he said. The song’s message is one of unity and belief in America and its future, Stacey said.
In October, Stacey finished his active duty with the Navy, and now he’s in the reserves and using his newfound attention to bring attention to the branch of the military that he loves, he said.
In addition to his already busy touring schedule, he’s devoted to something far more important: raising his two daughters, McKayla and Chloe, with wife Kendra. They recently closed on a home in Hendersonville, Tenn., where his father and brother are pastor and music minister at the church that Johnny Cash attended.
At his Shawnee show, Stacey will perform cuts from the new album and some of the best-known songs he performed on “American Idol,” including his Bon Jovi renditions. Even though he didn’t spend many years in Shawnee, part of him still considers it home.
“I’m really excited about being there to perform, visiting with family and friends and meeting new friends,” he said.