It was anything but a no-brainer.
When auditions were taking place for the first season of NBC’s The Voice, singer Javier Colon originally had no interest in giving it the old college try.
With two solo albums on Capitol Records under his belt, Colon, a onetime member of the Derek Trucks Band, believed that finding a record deal the old fashioned way would happen for him again.
But he’d been trying for almost five years to get that second shot. Then one day his manager sent an e-mail with information about auditioning for The Voice along with YouTube links showing the hit Dutch version of the series.
“It looked really cool,” Colon admits, “but I still wasn’t sure if I should audition. Every single friend I knew told me that I absolutely had to audition.”
The turning point came the day before the tryout, when Colon’s brother asked him: What do you have going on right now that makes you think you can miss an opportunity like this?
“He was right,” Colon says. “I had nothing going on. I had no shows on the books, no labels waiting to sign me and a family that was counting on me to provide for them.”
Colon went to the audition in New York the following day. Flash forward to late June 2011: In the finale of the first Voice season, there was a victorious Colon, under a snowstorm of confetti, accepting a congratulatory hug from show judge and his chosen coach, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine.
With the win, Colon finally landed that second label deal, but his time with Universal Republic didn’t last long or turn out like he wished. Leading up to the release of Come Through for You in late 2011, Colon says he expected to have the full support of the label — “to visit a ton of radio stations and do everything we could to spread the word and let people know that the record was coming. It just didn’t happen that way. They tried in some areas, and I was grateful for that. There were, however, other times where I felt so much more could be done.”
After parting ways with Universal Republic, Colon considered releasing an album on his own. That thought vanished once Colon’s new manager approached Concord Records on his behalf.
“From the first meeting I had with [Concord A&R executive] John Burk, I knew this time would be different — and it was,” Colon says. “John understood, right away, who I was as an artist and the music I wanted to make. Instead of trying to change me into something I’m not, he embraced who I am and helped me create the album that I’ve always wanted to make.”
In September 2014, after he’d signed with Concord, Colon got down to writing the bulk of his latest solo effort, Gravity, which is due April 15. (Two days prior, Colon will appear on The Voice.)
“There’s a little bit of rock, pop, R&B, country and acoustic elements in Gravity that give the listener a true idea of my musical influences and give them insight into who I am as an artist,” Colon says. “What makes this album different [from my past efforts] is how it was created. The creative freedom I had while recording it was like no other record I’ve made. I feel it’s the best representation of my sound to date, and I’m really proud of how it came out.
“Now that the recording process is over,” he adds, “I’m really excited to tour and get the new music out to people, but I honestly can’t wait to make another record.”
— By Chris M. Junior
Javier Colon on tour (schedule subject to change):
• April 9: Centenary College — Hackettstown, New Jersey
• April 11: Monday After Masters — North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
• April 21-22: Murray Bros. Caddyshack Charity Golf Tournament — St. Augustine, Florida
• April 23: Vinyl — Atlanta
• April 24: Emmanuel College — Boston
• April 25: Jammin Java — Vienna, Virginia
• April 26: World Café Live — Philadelphia
• April 28: Ridgefield Playhouse — Ridgefield, Connecticut
• April 29: Le Poisson Rouge — New York
• April 30: The Palladium — Carmel, Indiana
Photo by Tony Dube