We knew it wouldn’t take long for Colton Dixon to resurface on our American Idol radar. Our favorite faux hawked Season 11 contestant has just released his debut album, titled A Messenger, and we couldn't be happier for him! We loved seeing him as a guest performer on American Idol 2013 this season, and hope to see much more of him in the future.
Wetpaint Entertainment caught up with the busy singer, who confessed to us his favorite songs off the new album and even gave us the lowdown on who he’s dating.
Read on for all the juicy details!
It seems like a long time since we caught up with you, but when you think about the fact that you actually put out an entire album in the last six months, that's no time at all.
It's been a lot of work between the last time I saw you and now.
How did it come together?
Well, I started writing right after I was eliminated. Honestly, the hardest part of it was trying to choose 11, 12 songs for the record out of the 50 or so that I wrote, but it came together so well. I'm very, very proud of this. So I'm excited for everyone to hear it.
Was this something that was a long time in the making, or did it all come together during Idol?
There's a couple songs on the record that I either had ideas for or started as far as back two, three years ago and finished them out after Idol, but my first record has been a long time in the making. I know I've wanted to do this since I was 15. All those songs that I wrote and all those gigs that I played have led up to this, so, yes, a very long time in the making.
Tell me about the album. What inspired it? What are your favorite songs? What was the process like?
The process was amazing. My production team is so awesome. They're called Red Decibel. They did a lot of work with Disney and did Jesse McCartney’s Beautiful Soul. Man, it was such a creative atmosphere. We just had a fun time in the studio. As far as favorite tracks though, I have no clue. Man, there's so many favorites that I haven't even gotten tired of listening to yet.
Which songs are people responding best to?
A there's a song called “Rise.” It's kind of Coldplay, One Republic‑ish, but it rocks a little bit harder. But, man, that song is fun to sing. It's got a great message. There are some who love that one. There's one called “In and Out of Time,” which is Muse to the bone — a really, really cool song. There's a song called “Noise,” which opens up the record. I had a showcase in New York actually and had a great reaction after playing that song. It's very dramatic. It involves car alarms, sirens. It sounds like you’re in downtown New York actually. It's pretty awesome. I’m stoked to hear people's opinions on that one. There are so many.
I feel like I'm asking you to pick your favorite child.
I know. That's what it feels like. I can't pick just one. Even the bonus tracks, man, for iTunes, especially, you get a song called “Wake Up.” And it's just another cool song that takes you on a journey. I'm stoked [to] hear people's thoughts and opinions.
I know you were really big on doing music with a message. Do you feel like you got what you wanted with this album?
Absolutely, there's some songs where it's in the forefront, and it's obvious what I'm talking about. But I didn't want that to be the case for every song just because I know that I have a wider fan base than just the Christian market. So I wanted to write songs that were still positive and uplifting, but you didn't necessarily have to tie that with religion or faith. That's what they mean to me, but it doesn't mean everyone's going to interpret it that way. Songs like, “I'll Be the Light” — for me, that's God guiding me home with his light, but it could be whoever. It could be a loved one who's there for you, or whatever, but it's a great song. I’ve got something for just about everybody on the record. And I had a lot of fun, so I hope everyone, of every background can enjoy it.
Have you had time to step back and think about how amazing it is that six months after you finished Idol, you actually have a fully completed album, or are you so consumed by the process that it just feels like, ‘Okay. Got to keep moving’?
It's still in ‘I've got to keep moving mode.’ It hasn't really stopped. I mean I've had maybe two weeks at home, something like that. I think that this time at home has been the longest I've had since Idol. I have to tell myself that I need to slow down, and I need to enjoy time at home. I'm still going full speed, and I know when January hits, I'm going to be right back in the middle of it.
I feel like you guys were the most vocal crop I've ever seen on Idol. And I'd love to hear your advice for the new guys who are coming in and don't know to what degree they can push back?
Oh, man, always be yourself. No matter what a producer, what a vocal coach or whoever is pushing in your face, always be yourself. That goes from song choice to even what you wear. I remember our stylist, Soyon, was trying to get Philip into other things. And I wasn't there for the conversation, but I'm sure it just kind of went something like this: He looked at her and said, ‘Soyon, you’re not getting me in skinny jeans.’ Phil was Phil through and through. He wouldn't budge, but look what happened. America loves that. They love it whenever people stay true to who they are because that's how they get there in the first place. Just remember that. I would also think twice before wearing red leather pants. Yeah, I would say the biggest thing is be yourself, and the rest will play out.
So it's okay to say, no.
It is. It totally is. At the end of the day, you have to be happy with yourself on a TV show in front of 20 million people. The producers are producing for a TV show, and they're going to want something exciting. But if that's not you, then don't do it. It's really important because it's going to be either how you're portrayed for the rest of your life.
In your words, not taken out of context, tell me about your love life, so that we can set the record straight.
I am currently in a relationship with a girl named Annie. She is wonderful. I met her right before the tour in Los Angeles. She was at a venue that I happened to be in. It's one of those stories that you meet him or her through a mutual friend. It's really been great. She's actually here for the weekend. So we're enjoying what little time we have together. We're going to see where it goes. We're just having fun right now and enjoying it. She's hanging on for dear life just like I am, just all the craziness happening.