Javier Colon (B.M. 2000) studied Music Education at Hartt from 1995 to 2000. He is currently living in West Hartford.
What have you been up to since you graduated from Hartt?
A couple months after graduating from Hartt, I was asked to be the lead singer of a band called The Derek Trucks Band. (Now known as the Tedeschi Trucks Band.) It was my 1st touring gig as a musician and I got to see what being on the road was like. I learned so much from Derek, who I believe is one of the best guitarists out there. I was with him for almost 2 years before I left the band to pursue a solo career. I signed to Capitol Records as a solo artist in 2002 and released albums with them in 2003 and 2006. The albums had moderate success but I was eventually dropped from Capitol and found myself searching for a new deal.
After 5 years and many meetings with labels but no offers, I found myself in a tough position. I still toured as much as I could doing mainly college and corporate gigs but it was getting to the point where it wasn’t enough to support my family. Right around that time, my management had heard about a new show called “The Voice” that was starting up. After being talked into auditioning by my family and friends, I made it on the show and eventually won the 1st season. It was an amazing experience and opportunity that changed the course of my career and life.
What are you involved with right now?
I continue to tour the US and the world with my music and will be releasing a new album with the new label I recently signed with, Concord Music Group.
What is one of your most memorable things about your time at Hartt? What is a career highlight?
I remember loving the atmosphere and loved being surrounded by so many musical people. I was always the guy playing my guitar in a courtyard looking for someone to join in with some harmonies or forming acapella groups. I remember feeling so lucky that I got to study something I loved. I had some amazing teachers that really inspired me to practice and be a better musician.
Major highlight for me has to be singing with a living legend, and one of my biggest idols, Stevie Wonder. Not only did I get to sing with him, but he actually knew one of MY songs and sang it for ME! I ended up harmonizing as Stevie sang lead to my own song. It was amazing. Winning “The Voice” is definitely a huge highlight as well as singing “Landslide” with Stevie Nicks during the show.
What did you learn during while at Hartt that you did not appreciate or recognize until after time passed and you had some time to reflect?
I always appreciated my ear training classes with Gabor Viragh, who was definitely one of my mentors. I didn’t realize how much I would use those skills in my everyday life as a recording artist and touring musician. When I’m in the studio recording or writing with other song writers, I find myself constantly humming melodies and converting them into solfege. If the song is new to me, I will write the solfege on the lyric sheets with rhythm notations so I don’t forget how it goes. My band mates and I sometimes challenge each other when we are out and hear a song to see who can solfege the melody of whatever song is on the radio the fastest.
Another example is that while in Music Ed, I was trained classically which completely changed the way I sang. I didn’t realize the difference it had made until I was out of school and listened to some old recordings I had made in high school. My voice had grown leaps and bounds from where it was and I attribute that to the techniques that I learned during those classical voice lessons.
What is next for you?
Next thing for me will be the release of my new album, “Gravity” which will be out in March. Once the record is out, I plan on touring in support of the record here in the US as well as abroad.
If people want to get in touch, how can they do so?
Folks can reach out to me via my Facebook page which is Facebook.com/javiercolonmusic or they can reach out via Twitter. @javstwtr