Rhema FM Newcastle’s Wayne Hindson went all the way to the U. S to catch up with American Idol finalist and Christian contemporary artist Colton Dixon! Lets find out what he thinks about being on reality TV, his latest album and touring with Toby Mac!
Most people know you from American Idol, particularly in Australia, and you’ve just gone back for the finale of Idol, does it feel like that part of the journey is finished for you now?
I think that will always be a part of who I am, some Artists shy away from it, but it gave me a great platform and I am honoured to be a part of the show. The finale was such a great way to end it and I had a blast reminiscing with old friends and family.
Growing up, you weren’t from a musical background. Your parents aren’t musical and when you started to learn piano you absolutely hated it. You were more of a sports guy is that right?
Growing up I loved sports, it’s complete 180 now, it’s hilarious. When people ask me if my parents sing I say no! My talent and my sisters is truely a God given talent, because it was not genetic by any means. I took piano when I was eight years old but I loved playing sports – I loved hockey , and baseball was probably my number one. Anything competitive. Now it has turned into throwing bags with Toby Mac and his crew backstage.
On a road trip in the States with my family, your debut CD ‘A Messenger’ was on high rotation in the car, and the thing that struck me was, for a first release, it was a really mature, well crafted CD. Did you look back at that and think, ‘Yeah, that was pretty good’?
It just came from a very real place. Before Idol, people would tell me that ‘Artists have their entire life to write their first CD and they have a year to write their second’. The more I thought about it I thought ‘Wow, you’re so right!’. All these songs when making the first album I was able to be selective, but when I came off American Idol, I didn’t use any previous songs, so it was all new, and I just cranked it out.
God had just brought me through so much, and matured me so much, because you either sink or swim on a show like that.
I felt like God gave me a lot to say, I wrote about some things that I saw fans struggling with and I wrote some personal things. ‘Never Gone’ was a huge song on the record for me, not in the charts but personally. There was a time on the show where I felt super disconnected, I questioned the whole thing. Was I doing this for me or God? But I was reminded of the promise he gave Moses, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you’ and it turned into ‘Never Gone’.
So tell me about the song ‘you are’. It was probably the first song in Australia in terms of radio airplay where we got to know the true Colton Dixon. What’s the story behind this song.
This is really cool, ‘You Are’ started as I was about to leave, I think the top 40 of American Idol, I was hanging about with a couple of buddies of mine, and one of the guys Jared, was going through a hard time, which I didn’t know about at the time. He started picking out a couple of tunes on his electric guitar and I liked it so I asked if we could do a song with it, then the chorus of ‘You Are’ came out. What I loved about it was its rawness. It was worship in the spirit in the moment. We were all a part of it and later Jared told me as we wrote some more of the song that he had dealt with depression for a long time… He had trouble in high school feeling wanted and loved and even contemplated suicide, but he was able to channel that through the song and let go of all of that. It was just taken from him then and there. Every time I tell this story it chokes me up a little bit.
‘A Messenger’ sold a hundred thousand units and received a lot of awards. Was there an element of surprise when that happened?
Absolutely! God blew me away with that. I remember waking up in the morning and seeing ‘A Messenger’ at number one on the Christian charts.
I am a living testimony that God can use anybody. Here I was a kid playing sports and I felt God told me to do music so I was like ‘Okay, let’s do it!’.
Recently you were married, congratulations! I was pondering this and I was wondering, is your third album going to be a love song dedication?
I’m going to be honest, I knew that marriage was around the corner for my wife Annie and I, so for a split second I thought about doing something with that, but man, I wish I had demos of me trying to write a love song, it’s hilarious. It is the cheesiest cheese you have ever heard in your life.
It was kind of like, ‘Here’s your sign that you’re not called to write love songs’. So I just took it for what it was and said ‘Alright I’m going to stick to writing songs about Jesus’. I do know what the theme of the third album is going to be, I can’t divulge it yet, but man, it’s going to be cool.