"I've always played out live and then [got] asked to go on tour with Matchbox Twenty earlier this year," Phillips tells Billboard with a smile. "[I] got asked to do the John Mayer summer tour and that was just unreal. John Mayer's a great guy. It's been a freakin' busy year, but it's been good."
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The 23-year-old Georgia native says that Mayer was a welcome influence this year -- not only was one of Mayer's tunes among the five tracks that Phillips loved most this year, Mayer also actively encouraged the younger musician.
Phillips picked out "Waitin' On The Day," from Mayer's new album "Paradise Valley," as one of the five 2013 favorites he included in his Billboard Artist Jukebox listening session. It's a "great song to me and very emotional," he says.
"He's given me a lot of great advice," Phillips says of the time he's spent with Mayer on tour. "Whether it's business decisions or music decisions. He's already a legend, an amazing guitarist and he loves songs too. We'll soundcheck some new songs or something sometimes and he'll come up to me [and say,] 'That's tight. Keep at it.' It just makes you feel good for somebody in that position to say those types of things to me."
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In addition to Mayer's music, Phillips' favorite songs of 2013 also include tunes from an array of genres and both newcomers and longtime hitmakers. Lorde's "Royals" easily made his key listening list. "I can't believe she's only 16. That song's great," he says. "I definitely see it on the radio. It's just so catchy and the beat is sexy." On the rock side of things, Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" caught his ear this year because, "it's massive, it's got huge arms to it." And veteran rapper Eminem's recent single, "Berzerk," is on his playlist because "it gets you hyped up." In the pop realm, he singles out Katy Perry's "Roar" for the way that, "It makes you feel like you're just invincible."
But rocking the road and listening to 2013's best isn't all that Phillips has been up to this year. Not only has he just released both an expanded edition of "Moon" and "Phillip Phillips Live EP," he's been readying music for a new album. "I'm always writing some music," he shares. "I've got some things I'm pretty excited for. I'm going to try to have an album out by spring or summer, to be able to tour next summer."