'American Idol' Finalist Colton Dixon Releases New Song, Looks Back on Summer Tour and Ahead to Season 12 (Q&A)
American Idol's Colton Dixon didn't pick the greatest week to release his new single, “You Are,” on iTunes. But even in the midst of Hurricane Sandy, one of the worst storms to hit the Northeast in years, the season 11 finalist took the time to speak to The Hollywood Reporter’s Idol Worship. Our chat happened minutes before the 80 mph winds killed almost all power in New Jersey (yours truly's home state) and the superstorm began its destructive path.
“I’ve already been praying,” said Dixon at 6 p.m. Monday night. “It's insane -- I saw the picture of the storm coming over the Statue of Liberty, and while it looked absolutely beautiful, I thought, 'Holy cow, they must be scared out of their minds!'”
Dixon's new song was originally slated for release next month, but perhaps the choice to put it out this week will allow listeners a certain comfort in its beautiful lyrics. Sample verses: “You are the light that’s in the dark … And when my circumstance leaves me with empty hands / You are the provider of my needs / When all my dirtiness has left me helpless / You are the rain that washes me.”
“I am glad it got bumped up,” said Dixon. “I’ve been listening to it nonstop since I got the mix back, so I’m stoked for everybody to hear it.”
Dixon has certainly been a busy guy since his elimination. On this past summer's American Idol tour, he was the only finalist besides winner Phillip Phillips allowed to perform an original song, “Never Gone,” during his scheduled set time. Additionally, Dixon is one of only three season 11 alums to land a record deal. The 21-year-old Murfreesboro, Tennessee native announced his signing to the EMI Christian Music Group's Sparrow Records last month.
“I had one meeting with them and I was sold on them as people," he said of the label whose roster includes other well-known artists in the Christian music world, including Toby Mac, and Chris Tomlin, Oleander and Idol season five alum Mandisa. "We have the same mission in mind."
In an interview with THR, Dixon explains that mission, shares his favorite memories from the summer and thoughts on the upcoming season of Idol -- including whether his sister, Schyler Dixon, got through to Hollywood? Read on to find out...
The Hollywood Reporter: Congratulations on your record deal with Sparrow! How did that come about?
Colton Dixon: I didn’t know what I should or shouldn’t do coming off of the show. I told 19 Management that my interest has always been Christian Music, and then we started playing the field a little bit. They set up a meeting with EMI which is, CMG Sparrow Records, where I got signed.
Idol Worship: Fellow Idol alum Mandisa is also on the label, have you met her yet?
Dixon: I met her before season 11 of Idol. She was in Nashville with Melinda Doolittle and I saw both of them and just said hello. She had no idea who I was, which is all good, but I’m excited to talk to her and see how the journey has been for her. I know she’s doing well now, and she has a couple of singles on the radio. It’s been a lot of fun. I have really enjoyed getting to know the EMI team. I’ve been out on a radio tour for a half month and getting to know the radio people from the label. They have all been really great.
Idol Worship: What can you tell us about your full-length album?
Dixon: It will be out either in late January or the first week in February. There are a few rock songs on there, but there is also that softer side, like “You Are” or “Never Gone,” that hits hard but it’s a slower tempo and has some tender moments. I think it’s going to be a good variety of music for whoever wants to listen. It’s not targeted towards one audience. I know I have my favorites, but I am definitely a rocker at heart. It’s a fun album. I can’t wait to finish recording it in a couple of weeks. I am laying down vocals on it and finishing up a couple of tracks then we’ll be set to go.
Idol Worship: It seems like you have been set to go since May!
Dixon: That’s what it’s felt like. I’ve been writing non-stop since I was eliminated. I remember when I first had enough material for an album, and I thought there was no way I could get rid of any of those songs, and then you keep on writing and you find something better. It’s a neverending process. We finally capped off the writing for this album, so we know the songs that are going on it.