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Entertainment

Message alert from Colton Dixon

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo - The Philippine Star

Mabuhay!

That’s probably what Colton Dixon will say to his fans as soon as he arrives in Manila to perform with Jessica Sanchez at a special Valentine concert on Feb. 14, 8 p.m., at the Smart Araneta Coliseum produced by Ovation Productions together with Bench (of which Jessica is an endorser) and MCA Music, Inc. (which has just released Colton’s debut album A Messenger).

“That was one of the few Filipino words that I learned the first time I was here last year,” Colton told Funfare in a phone interview, referring to his concert also with Jessica and the rest of the finalists of American Idol (AI) Season 11 in which Jessica placed second (to Phillip Phillips) and Colton seventh. “I hope to learn more Filipino words when I get back there.”

A devout Christian, Colton was born on Oct. 19, 1991, to a middle-class family in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He was a choir member during his high school days and sang at worship services. He and his sister Schyler belong to a rock band called Messenger. When he was 17, Colton did a bit part in Hannah Montana The Movie.

Perhaps not many of his fans know that Colton actually auditioned in Nashville for AI’s 10th season together with Schyler. Unfortunately, neither of them made it to the Top 24.

“The message of my album is ‘never give up’ and that’s just what I did on AI,” said Colton.

But when he returned to AI the next year, it was to accompany his sister. On second thought, Colton did try again, singing AI champ David Cook’s Permanent. Both he and Schyler passed but Schyler was eliminated during the Las Vegas round. Colton stayed on.

In the following interview, Colton talked about his album, how AI changed his life overnight and, yes, how to never give up.

Valentine’s is a big day in the Philippines; everybody is so in love on that day. How do you feel about Valentine especially since your album has just been released?

“Honestly, a lot of my friends and I get silly with it. We would buy Valentine cards and write really nice love letters signed them ‘From your Secret Admirer’ and then place it on the wind shield of their cars and make them wonder who the senders were. That was really funny! But I have a girlfriend this Valentine’s Day so we might have to celebrate in a special way. Unfortunately, she can’t come with me to the Philippines. Hopefully, next time she’ll come with me.”

Do you have any favorite Valentine song or love song?

‘There are so many great Valentine love songs. When I was a senior high school, we would usually go around to different classes singing love songs. Hmmmm, and what’s my favorite? Let me see…maybe How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You.”

The title of your song is A Messenger which is how you called your fans in AI. Can you talk a bit more about it?

“Messenger comes from a Bible verse John 13:16 which says, ‘I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.’ I just want people to know that I care for someone bigger and greater than I could ever be. So whereas some people look up to me, I’m trying to redirect that because first and foremost, I am not the master but just the messenger of the good news of The Bible. It’s cool that my fans and supporters take up that name as well, doing the same thing, so I thought it’s the perfect title for my album.”

The general message of your album is never to give up, isn’t it? 

“It’s kind of an encouragement to those who are going through a rough time. Whether they’re doubting if God is there or not, my music tries to reassure them that, yes, God is there and He will never leave you; He’ll be with you the whole time.”

You have a song called You Are and it’s a very powerful, inspirational song. That song saved your friend from committing suicide, didn’t it?

“He’s one of the reasons why we wrote the song You Are…for my friend who was contemplating suicide. His name is Gareth and he actually played the guitar for our group. He hit some low point, he was searching for something, so when I had the privilege of writing that song with him in his apartment I remember that after we did the chord he told me his story. That song made Gareth feel better and hopefully it would have the same impact on those who are in the same situation that Gareth was in and get out of that situation.”

Like Jennifer Hudson, you placed seventh among the AI finalists. It’s a good thing that you were not discouraged by that. Any more advice for people your age about not giving up?

“Just that — don’t give up, never give up! That’s true not only in a competition like American Idol but in life in general. Always remember that God made us all different and unique and we should be proud of that. Whether or not you have monkey hair like I do or whatever, be proud of it, have fun in life, you know. I think people are too serious and so dramatic about a lot of things. Be smart about life, be proud of who you are.”

American Idol has radically changed your life overnight. How did you cope with it?

“Uhm, I’m used to it yet; I don’t think I ever will --- you know, people knowing my name and knowing who I am, and being able to point me out in a crowd. It gives me a different feeling and at the same time I take it as a cool opportunity to connect with people. Asking you to pose for a picture with them can really light up someone’s day. It’s as simple as that. If that’s all that I have to do…pose for a picture…to make someone smile, go ahead, I’ll do it! American Idol really sharpened a lot for me, like playing the piano with an amazing band and learning so many songs. I’m very thankful for all that.”

How well do you know Jessica?

“Well, I know her very well. I first met her at the American Idol premiere in California.”

Are you singing a duet with her on your concert?

“Sorry but I am not allowed to say that. All I can say is that I’m doing a collaboration of some sort between Jessica and I.”

If you were to serenade your Filipino fans, what song would it be?

“Oh man! Hmmm, a great question!”

Maybe a Filipino song, if you know any?

“I don’t know any Filipino song. I’m still catching on to some Filipino words like mabuhay and a few others that skip my mind at the moment, words that I learned the first time I was there. I think it’s really cool to learn a Filipino love song. I will look into that.”

As a messenger, do you have any Valentine message for your Filipino fans?

“First and foremost, thank you for inviting me back. I really had a great time the first time I was there. Everyone was so kind. I’m really excited to spend Valentine’s Day with you. We’ll put on a great party. And, Mabuhay!”

(Note: For tickets to Jessica Sanchez and Colton Dixon’s Big Dome concert, call TicketNet at 911-5555. Colton will have his Fans Day at 5 p.m. tomorrow, Feb. 12, at Eastwood Mall Open Park. He and Jessica will meet and greet fans at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at the Lucky Chinatown Atrium; and at 6 p.m. same day at Venice Piazza in McKinley Hill. Call 709-0888 or 709-9888 for inquiries.)

 (E-mail reactions at [email protected]. You may also send your questions to [email protected] For more updates, photos and videos visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on www.twitter/therealrickylo.)

A MESSENGER

AMERICAN IDOL

COLTON

FANS

JESSICA

SCHYLER

SONG

VALENTINE

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