Connecticut's Own Javier Colon Bringing 'The Voice' Back To Newtown
For two years, including the summer before he gained international fame as the inaugural season winner of The Voice television talent competition, Javier Colon made the trip from his Hartford area home to Newtown so he could entertain volunteers and supporters at the local Relay for Life.
It’s been a long roller coaster ride since then for Colon, a Stratford native and University of Hartford Hartt School graduate who still lives a short distance west of the Capital City.
He made a couple of albums, worked with a ton of talented music industry professionals, sold countless singles, including “As Long As We Got Love”; “Stand Up,” featuring his Voice mentor Adam Levine; and “Raise Your Hand,” as well as toured with and opened for some of the biggest names in show business.
Colon even made a return to his old Hartt School roots in musical theater, most recently playing PT Barnum — one of the greatest names in show business — during a short run of Barnum, which was part of the 2019 Bridgeport Barnum Festival.
Colon, who recently called in for a chat with The Newtown Bee, is returning to the community that embraced him at those Relays for Life back in 2009 and 2010 to headline a Zoot Live presentation at 8 pm on September 27 in the Edmond Town Hall Theatre.
Marking his first "return" to Newtown for a performance since he graced the local Relay for Life entertainment stage, Colon talked about how fundraising and philanthropic events like those he headlined here previously are still a very important part of his work as a more globally recognized recording artist and entertainment personality.
"I love doing it," he said "I love doing all kinds of charity events not just in Connecticut but all over the country. I've got lots of friends who support lots of worthy causes — for example, I did a big gala for the New Britain Museum of Art last year that was really great and close to my home here. I also did a Kidney walk at my alma mater the University of Hartford. I travel a bunch, but when it's something like your relays where I just throw my guitar in the car for a short drive, it makes it easier and I still try to do that as often as I can."
Colon said giving back to communities and organizations that have spawned fan bases for him is important.
On the subject of Colon's lifelong residency in Connecticut, he explained his affinity for the nutmeg state, and why his career pursuits never caused him to relocate to New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, or other entertainment hub.
"Connecticut has been my home for all but about three years of my life, when I lived in Massachusetts," he said. "The big thing that keeps me here is my family. Most of my family is here, I was born and raised here, this is home. This is what I know and where I'm most comfortable. My wife and kids love our home town, the kids are in great schools with great teachers, and this is where I want them to grow up.
"It's also between New York and Boston, so I'm near those hubs, and I'm 20 minutes from Bradley airport, and they know me quite well there because I'm in and out a lot," Colon added. "For me Connecticut is easy, and I love Connecticut — it's where I want to be."
Since Colon’s latest full album, Gravity, was released in 2016, he confided that he has been working on new material and hopes to complete a new release in the coming year.
“You know I’m constantly writing,” Colon said. “I’ll pick up the guitar and write a little bit of a song here and come up with some lyrics there. But I actually am hoping to put a new record together and get it out in front of folks in 2020. As soon as I spoke with some songwriter friends of mine about doing a new project, they committed to assisting me in putting that together and presenting that to my label Concord Music Group. I want to have some more of my vision and groundwork laid before I show them anything.”
The mention of Colon’s turn as PT Barnum this summer brought back a flood of memories from when he acted, danced, and sang fairly regularly during his time at Hartt College.
“I jumped back into musical theater after a long time away from it back in 2017 when I did a musical called Big River,” Colon said. “I did that same role in high school, so it was great to be able to do it now as a professional alongside a guy named Nick Podany, who is now playing in the Harry Potter musical on Broadway. And Barnum was only my second return to musical theater since 1997.
Colon said he made a conscious decision a couple of years ago to explore some theatrical endeavors.
“I had two dreams as a kid. One was to be on Broadway and the other was to be a recording artist,” Colon said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a recording artist and share my music with folks all over. But I still have a void in me that I would like to fill working on Broadway.”
Colon said he’s hoping to bring a special guest or two along for the show — including local guitarist Ian McHugh — and promised that his fans and attendees will hear a diverse selection, including originals from his four recording projects and cover songs he became known for during his competition on The Voice.
“I’m constantly adding and changing my live sets depending on the vibe of the room and the audience I’m in front of,” he said. “But there are a few staples like ‘Time After Time,’ which I did on The Voice. I like to throw in different covers and a few songs from Gravity. I like to say that if you’re two years old or 92, I’ll sing something that will connect with you in one way or the other.
Colon is an artist who is hard to pin down stylistically, and he knows it.
“Some say I’m an R&B artist, some say I’m a pop artist, others think I’m a rock, indie, or folk artist,” Colon added. “I love the fact that I’m a chameleon in a sense and play you a Coldplay song and then go right into something from James Taylor, and then a song I wrote that has a little kind of country feel.
He said he is looking forward to the challenge of “making sure everyone in Newtown leaves with something that spoke to them.”
“These days, I won’t even make my setlist until I get in the theater and get a vibe for the room or until I look out at the audience and get a feel for who I’m going to play for,” Colon said, “to cater to the audience that’s in front of me.”
Tickets for his Edmond Town Hall show September 27, as well as this weekend’s three concerts by the acapella group Rockapella, are available by visiting zootliveevents.com.
Check out Javier Colon performing a crowd favorite he has promised to play at Edmond Town Hall: