He's become the artist that he wants to be - and he's still the same humble guy with the baseball cap that America fell in love with. A year after his victory, I connected with The Voice
season one winner Javier Colon to ask how his career is going and what it means to pass the title of "The Voice" to Jermaine Paul.
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From the moment Javier stepped on the Voice
stage to sing Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," everyone knew he was something special. Audiences buzzed. His fellow competitors became fans. All four coaches turned their chairs for him; he chose Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine, who took him all the way to the inaugural title.
It's been less than a year since he was named "The Voice," but Javier has already released an album (Come Through For You
) and a holiday EP (A Very Acoustic Christmas
), gone on tour both as part of The Voice
Live on Tour and as a solo artist, and will now be opening for Levine and Maroon 5.
That's an impressive turnaround for an artist who had previously been dropped by Capitol Records and who told me on the red carpet
last June that without the show, "I'd be doing something other than music...The income just unfortunately wasn't enough."
Yet you wouldn't have known that from how Javier impressed the Voice
audience with performance after performance, how his colleagues spoke of him (Team Cee Lo's Tje Austin talked to me about going "fanboy" after meeting him), or the smile he always had on his face each week. He didn't care that he was the favorite; all he wanted was to be able to support his family by doing what he loves.
And in retrospect, his experience on the show was everything he wanted it to be and then some.
"I'm in a much better place now than I was a year ago by a landslide," he told me when I checked in with him
in March at a Southern California show. "I judge [success] by looking back and seeing where I was to where I am now. I've been to San Diego once as an opener for someone else. It wasn't my show. I couldn't draw this many people to come and see me and now I can."
Yet even so, Javier has not forgotten what made that success possible, giving back to The Voice
. He returned to the Voice
stage earlier this month
to perform his new single "A Drop In The Ocean," and before that, was spotted backstage spending time with his coach and the second generation of Team Adam. What did he think of the new artists on his team?
"He had a really strong team," he said of Levine's choices, which included one of Javier's old friends, Orlando Napier. "I really thought Tony [Lucca] would win it all."
Instead, it was Team Blake's Jermaine Paul who pulled off the victory, and followed Javier as the second person to be named "The Voice." Said Javier: "I wish Jermaine a lot of luck, a lot of success. I'm actually going to be doing a show with him in a couple of weeks - me and Jermaine and Adam Lambert at Six Flags in Massachusetts." (That concert takes place May 26; you can buy tickets here
"It's good to see the show continue," he added when I asked about passing the title on. "It's awesome. I'm sure
there'll be many to come; the show will have many seasons under its belt
eventually. But it's nice to have been the original one."
Javier will also be performing with his coach at a handful of Maroon 5 shows in May, including this Thursday, May 17 at Foxwoods; Friday, May 18 in Atlantic City; and on July 21 in Lake Tahoe. (All three shows are, unfortunately, already sold out.) "I'm excited to be doing some shows with them," Javier told me, adding that he'll also soon be playing with Gavin DeGraw, who previously opened for Maroon 5 on their 2011 tour.
And if all of that sounds like a lot to do, well, to Javier it's just the beginning. While he's grateful for the success he's enjoyed over the last year, he's cognizant of the fact that he needs to build upon it, and moreso than that, he's determined to give back to the fans who made it possible.
"The plan is really just to get out there. The only way to keep fans is to really get out there, that and releasing new singles," he said. "There's a lot of folks that supported me; they had The Voice
on in 20 different countries or something like that. If things go the way I was hoping they'd go, we'll be working this record for at least another year."
It's heartwarming to see Javier enjoying a more prosperous career after knowing the hardships that he and his family previously endured. To think that we might never have heard him sing again if not for The Voice
is certainly a chilling prospect, and we can all identify with his commitment to take care of the people he loves.
Yet what's most beautiful about Javier's story is that he's also a true case of the phrase "the good guys win." He's an example of a great musical artist who is a solid individual: a family man whose humility hasn't been changed by national TV exposure, who stayed on that press line in June until he did every last interview, and who refers to his family and his fans more often than he does to himself.
Even a year later, he's not taking anything for granted, just thinking toward a brighter future. "I'm looking forward to moving things forward," he told me, adding that "I've had the best year in life that I've ever had." It's certainly a year well deserved.Voice fans can check out Javier's official website JavierColon.com, and follow him on Twitter (@javstwtr). For more on The Voice, you can follow my Voice-exclusive Twitter at @bigredchairs.Image courtesy of James Dimmock/Susan Blond Inc.