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Colton Dixon releases debut album ahead of Manila concert with Jessica Sanchez

Colton Dixon.

Even as anticipation for her upcoming Valentine’s concert at the Big Dome reaches fever pitch, Jessica Sanchez is reminding everyone to also support her special guest.

“Please go support and get @coltondixon album today! Amazing music,” she tweeted early Wednesday morning (Manila time) in reference to her fellow “American Idol” finalist.

And the album she’s referring to is Colton’s debut release “A Messenger”, now available in CDs at Astroplus and Odyssey Music & Video or online via iTunes or www.MyMusicStore.com.ph.

Colton, the 21-year old skunk-haired fan favorite from Murfreesboro, Tennessee who placed seventh in the 11th season of “Idol”, is a singer-songwriter who is partial to rock and Christian music, which explains the stylized crucifix in the “t” in his logo.

He admitted that work on “A Messenger” started immediately after his elimination in the reality competition series, which no less than judge Steven Tyler found as “beyond shocking”.

During the subsequent “American Idols Live tour” that featured all finalists as co-headliners, Colton became the first ever contestant to perform an original song onstage.

“The tour knew I had been in writing sessions since I was eliminated. I probably had 20, 25 songs at that point,” he told USA Today in a recent interview. After the tour’s producers told him to pick one of his original songs that he can perform in the set, he wrote “Never Gone” with Andy Dodd, Adam Watts and Gannin Arnold a little over one week before the tour started.

“I was like, ‘I really feel strongly about this one’,” Dixon enthused. “I don’t know if it was because I had just written it or if I thought it would fit the arena style. But they really liked it, so it worked.”

An uplifting power ballad, “Never Gone” was heard by over 360,000 fans on the tour and was an immediate hit digital single, selling 21,000 units in its first week before peaking at number 1 on the iTunes Christian and Gospel singles chart as well as Billboard’s Christian Digital Songs and Christian/Gospel Digital Songs charts.

More importantly, the phenomenal success of the song also placed him in a very unique and elite company: He and and Jennifer Hudson are the only 7th place finalists in “Idol” history to reach number 1 on a Billboard chart.

Proving that he’s no one-hit wonder, Colton released a follow-up single, the equally inspirational “You Are”, which again peaked at the top spot on the said charts. It was also selected as USA Today’s Song of the Week last October.

With the release of “A Messenger”, Colton became only the second finalist from Season 11 to release a full-length album that contains original material, after winner Phillip Phillips.

Dixon said out of the more than 50 songs that he wrote after his “Idol”, 11 made it to the album. One track, “Rise”, was written with Chris Daughtry, another “AI” alumnus.

Other noteworthy tracks include the power rock “Noise” which he co-penned with producer Busbee (Daughtry, Pink, Switchfoot, Smash Mouth), “I’ll Be The Light” featuring renowned Nashville-based songwriter Zac Maloy (Daughtry, Plain White T’s) and “This Is Who I Am” that he co-wrote with Dave Bassett (Shinedown). “Shape Of Your Love” is also added as a bonus track in Colton’s Philippine CD release.

“Calling the album ‘A Messenger’ was a good way for me to put things in perspective in terms of my personal faith, to make sure people realize, that while I am sharing honest emotions and experiences based on this,” he noted.

“The album moves along like a rollercoaster ride. There are not two songs that sound alike, which is something I worked hard to achieve and am excited about. Working with my amazing team of writers and producers. I wanted to share different experiences that I’ve gone through, the lows and the high. I wanted to shed some hope on people no matter what they’re going through.”

Jessica Sanchez tweeed this photo of herself and Colton Dixon rehearsing a song for their upcoming Valentine concert at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

As for Jessica Sanchez’s upcoming concert in Manila which features Colton as her special guest, it seems like no less than the headliner is more excited about it.

“You ready, Manila?” she again tweeted late Wednesday morning as she also posted a picture of her and Colton rehearsing for what appears to be a duet, which should be one of the highlights of the big event.

Presented by MCA Music, Ovation Productions and Bench Philippines, “Jessica Sanchez Live In Concert with special guest Colton Dixon” will take place on February 14, Valentine’s Day, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. For ticket inquiries, visit www.ticketnet.com.ph to buy tickets online.

InterAksyon.com