Colton Dixon lives it up on "American Idols Live!" trek
A seventh-place finisher on 2012's "American Idol," Colton Dixon is loving every second of the Fox Television show's annual summer tour.
"It's nuts," Dixon told SoundSpike. "It's a different thing every day, but it's fun. You're spending time with great people, finally meeting the fans. It's our first opportunity really interact with them and see the support we have in each city. It blows our minds every time."
But Dixon is humbled by the response he receives during his three-song solo set. The two-and-a-half-hour show allows him to sing "Meant to Live" by Switchfoot, "Piano Man" by Billy Joel and his original song "Never Gone." He is only the second contestant who didn't finish in the top two to perform an original song. (Pia Toscano did it last year.)
"It was an opportunity that was kind of thrust upon me," Dixon said with a laugh. " took it and ran with it and didn't complain. It's huge. I'm thankful for that."
During the week of his interview with SoundSpike, Dixon was planning to hit the studio during some rare down time. He is expecting to make a "huge announcement" any day now about his album and potential single. He did give SoundSpike a hint: "Never Gone" is not available on iTunes yet; "that's one of the reasons I'm recording later this week. I'll leave it at that."
The song was co-written by Dixon and the Red Decibel Productions team of Andy Dodd and Adam Watts. The duo's diverse list of credits includes: Kelly Clarkson, Switchfoot, Jesse McCartney, Jeremy Camp, "High School Musical" 1, 2 and 3, and Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus.
"After I was eliminated off the show, my management company, 19, they just started booking sessions," Dixon said. "[They said] 'Hey try this guy out. Let's just get you writing and see what comes out.'
"I can honestly say there was not one bad song out of all the writing sessions we did. I have over 30 songs in my bank that I'm happy with. Now it's just a matter of choosing 11 or 12 songs to go on a record, which is so hard."
Besides "Never Gone," Dixon's favorite song to perform live is "Piano Man" because he loves to see the younger and "older" generation come together.
"The younger generation loves the modern twist I put to it, but the older generation can still sing along with it," he said. "All the group songs are a blast because we get to goof off and have fun with it."
The group songs give the contestants a chance to "be goofy and God knows, I don't dance," the 20-year-old Murfreesboro, TN, native said.
"The great thing about it is they [the ' American Idols Live!' production team] knew that a lot of us don't dance," he said. "They told us where to be at certain points of the song. They just kind of left that up to us. If we felt like attempting to dance one night, they set up staging, so to speak, and left the rest up to us to have fun and kind if improvise. It's kind of fun. It's never the same."
When the tour's over, Dixon is going to wrap up work on his album. He's also hoping to jump on a tour as an opening act. But nothing will compare to the "American Idols Live!" jaunt.
"We are so spoiled on this tour," he said. "I don't think any of us are going to do a huge arena tour after this tour. In that aspect, we're extremely spoiled. At the same time it's going to be nice and go to a venue and have 15, 30, 45 minutes to do your own songs and start worrying about selling your own merchandise out there, and getting your name and your image finally started for me as Colton Dixon and just kind of sharing your message, whatever that is. I'm really, really excited about that."
28 - Newark, NJ - Prudential Center
30 - Albany, NY - Times Union Center
1 - Bridgeport, CT - Webster Bank Arena
2 - Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun Arena
4 - Syracuse, NY - Oncenter Complex
6 - Wilkes-Barre, PA - Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
7 - Atlantic City, NJ - Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall
8 - Reading, PA - Sovereign Center
10 - Cincinnati, OH - U.S. Bank Arena
11 - Milwaukee, WI - BMO Harris Bradley Center