The overnight fame that R&B singer-songwriter Javier Colon received from winning the inaugural season of NBC’s “The Voice” continues to escort him through nifty doors of opportunity.
For instance, Colon, of Stratford, Conn., brushed shoulders with a prominent member of the PGA Tour at a pro-am golf event in Connecticut on Wednesday, June 20. On the Fourth of July, he’ll have the honor of debuting in “A Capitol Fourth” concert — celebrating America’s 236th birthday — at the West Lawn of the United States Capitol in Washington, DC, which will be broadcasted live by PBS. He’ll also begin touring with singer-songwriters Colbie Caillat and Gavin DeGraw later that month, as well as with Maroon 5 in the coming months.
But for those of you who can’t wait until July to see the silky smooth Colon in action, you can catch him Friday at World Café Live at the Queen; he’ll be sharing the bill with singer-songwriter Jen Creed, of Philadelphia, Pa.
Colon spoke with the Community Pub about parting ways from Universal Republic Records, what he’d change on the third season of “The Voice,” and more.
Q How was your recent golf outing?
A It was awesome. I played poorly but it was a good time. I was with the PGA Tour guys and got to play with… are you a golf fan at all?
Q I follow a little bit. Who were you playing with?
A I was playing with [2012 Masters champion ] Bubba Watson; he’s one of the best players on the PGA Tour right now. It was really awesome to stand next to him and see him play for 18 holes. It was really fantastic.
Q On the topic of music, you announced this month that you parted ways with Universal Republic. Explain what led to the split.
A It’s just a culmination of things. I don’t really want to get into the finger-pointing and blaming folks, too, much because I’m a firm believer in “what is, is” and if it happened it was meant to be this way. I’m not bitter about it, especially because they did the right thing and let me go relatively quickly. It was less than a year that we were together in a contract. I have respect for them and I think they do great things for some people and I’m sure they’re very good at what they do in certain cases. But we didn’t jive. There are some things I wanted done that, unfortunately, didn’t get done. And there’s some things we disagreed on as far as the release [of “Come Through For You”] and the marketing of that album.
Page 2 of 4 - Q Did Universal drop you, or did you request to be released?
A It was definitely: “If you guys aren’t going to do the right thing — you got to let me out.” We had talked about it for months and [me and my camp] sent in a letter that basically said, “Can I go now?” They were actually gracious enough to let me go, and relatively quickly. I have a family to take care of and I can’t afford to lose any more momentum.
Q How long had you been pushing to get released?
A [The label and I] kind of started to talk about things: what the strategies were and just trying to figure out if there was any life left in their eyes, as far as if there was anymore fire left in this project. We started figuring this out in March and April. But in April we definitely started talking about it. And unfortunately it didn’t happen then; I ended up kind of letting it go for a while. Then we picked it back up and it was done.
Q When you mentioned having a fire left in the project, were you referring to an unfinished album you were working on, or were you just referring to yourself?
A I’m talking about me as one of their projects. It seemed the fire was lost with respect to pushing my project and trying to get it out there.
Q You’ve been around the block before. Prior to Universal you were signed to Capitol Records. But this time around you’re leaving a label at a point when you’re famous, as opposed to being less known. So what are you taking away from your experience with Universal Republic? And what are you looking for in your next record deal?
A The good thing is that you’re right — I had been through this thing before with a major label and I saw how things could be good and how things could turn in a different direction. I promised myself I would learn from that and take that experience to the next thing. And that’s exactly what we did. When you realize things aren’t going well and you realize you’re not going to move forward any further, there’s no reason to delay something. You have to move quickly in this business. I’ve learned it’s the same thing, man [laughs]. Back then with Capitol Records they were trying to push me in a particular direction. This time it wasn’t, too, different, but we saw eye to eye more than on my previous deal. I feel they got who I was for the most part, but with a couple of exceptions. But I definitely have grown as an artist and I understand who I am. I guess what I’m looking for in the future is… I’m kind of keeping my options open, but I really want someone that gets who I am and who would allow me to do what it is that I do and have faith in that. I was able to perform in front of a lot of folks when I was on “The Voice,” and I got a lot of votes and support when I just being myself.
Page 3 of 4 - Q In the meantime, do you have a timeline of when you’d like to sign with a new label? And will you be mostly gigging until that’s finalized?
A Right now I have a lot of stuff coming up. I’m singing on the Fourth of July in Washington, DC, with the National Symphony Orchestra for “A Capitol Fourth.” It’s going to be a big PBS special they’ll be doing on the Fourth of July. I’m going on tour with Colbie Ciallat and Gavin DeGraw and then I’m doing a tour with Maroon 5 in South America, so there’s a lot of stuff going on and I’m trying to bring the music to the people: and that’s what it’s all about. That’s what I’m most happy with about being on [“The Voice”] is I was able to go to North Dakota and perform for 450 people that had no clue I was even alive before [that performance]. Just the ability to go out and tour is something I didn’t have before and I’m very, very thankful for that. As far as a timeline for getting a deal — I’m not going to rush into things. Whatever happens, happens. There’s a couple of things that have come our way that we’re discussing, but it’s got to be the right thing.
Q Is there a possibility we’ll see you performing a duet with one of the contestants on the third season of “The Voice?”
A Yeah man, I would be open to it, absolutely. That would have to be issued obviously by [NBC], but I would absolutely be open to that.
Q Are there any tweaks or new ideas you’d like to bring to “The Voice?”
A I’m not going to pretend and say I know the TV business. I know it’s a show and it’s a show based on ratings, and a lot of people like the show: everyone can tell by the ratings when people are watching it and they like what they see. A lot of people have been talking about whether the emphasis is on the coaches more than the contestants, or what have you. But I think it’s working for “The Voice.” It’s got great ratings and the show is doing really well. I don’t know how to put the focus more on the artists like some people are saying — if that’s even the case. I’m not saying it is, but I don’t know what steps would be needed to do that. I think you have four superstar coaches on the show that everybody wants see and hear from — and that’s a good thing.
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