Colton Dixon encountered a bit of skepticism from the Christian music world at first, wondering that an "American Idol" finalist was doing in its midst.
Two No. 1 albums later, though, it's not a problem anymore.
"Man, I love what I do. I absolutely love this industry," says Dixon, 22, a Tennessee native who placed seventh during "Idol's" Season 11. "There have been several 'Idol' contestants who tried out the Christian thing; some worked, some didn't, so I would've been skeptical, too. But we tried to show any way we could that I was legit and I wanted to be there, and now I think the industry knows that."
Dixon comes to Christian music honestly, as an avid churchgoer who leads worship services and was in a Christian rock band, Messenger, prior to "Idol." (He was also an extra in "Hannah Montana: The Movie" in 2008.) He was the rare "Idol" non-champion to release an original song, "Never Gone," during the concert tour that followed the season, and there was no question where he felt most at home in music.
"I grew up with Christian music," Dixon explains. "To me it's about the message. It's about giving people hope. That's one of the biggest rewards to me. You turn on Top 50 radio and you hear a...load of different topics. It's cool when I see people of my generation and younger choosing Christian music over some of that stuff. I'm not saying all mainstream or secular music is bad, but (Christian music) offers a more positive message."
And, Colton is quick to note, his chosen genre can do so while still sounding like contemporary pop music, as he feels he did on 2013's "A Messenger" and its successor, "Anchor," which came out in August.
"I'm trying to think outside of the box a bit, and I think we accomplished that on 'Anchor' for sure," Dixon says. "It's just the message that's different; I don't think the music should necessarily be much different than anything else that's out there. So we explored some new sounds, the electronic thing a little bit and some other stuff.
"I didn't want to go overboard wtih it, but there's some really cool touches on there. And the message still stands out clear, so I think it works on all the levels it needs to."
MercyMe, Third Day, Colton Dixon and Ellie Holcomb
6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13
DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township
Tickets are $20-$39.50 pavilion, $15 lawn with a $44 lawn four-pack
Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com
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