Idol's Colton Dixon becomes 'A Messenger' in January

Christian rocker Colton Dixon is set to release his first album, A Messenger, in January and he's set to take the Christian music charts by storm.

One thing "American Idol" finalist Colton Dixon was not afraid to do -- profess his faith in front of a live audience. In fact, while he was on "Idol," Dixon often spoke of his faith, deferred his personal talent as god-given, and said that he would pursue a career in Christian music when his run on "Idol" was complete. In a press release from his record label this week, the 21-year-old singer announced the release date of his first album, A Messenger, which is set for a January 29 release.

And he's kept his word.

"Set to release his inspiring powerhouse debut album A Messenger on January 29, 2013 on EMI-CMG/Sparrow Records," the release (via The Hollywood Reporter) began, "American Idol Season 11 finalist Colton Dixon is already a chart-topping artist via the album’s first two singles, 'Never Gone' and 'You Are,' both of which were released this past Fall."

The 11-track collection is a work dedicated to themes about faith. Dixon premiered "Never Gone" while still on tour with his "American Idol" colleagues, becoming the first "Idol" finalist to perform an original song penned by the finalist themselves on the "American Idol Live Tour." Upon its release as a single in late September, "Never Gone" topped two Billboard charts -- the Christian Digital Songs chart and the Christian/Gospel Digital Songs chart. "You Are" duplicated the feat upon its release in October.

Colton Dixon graduated from a strong class of "American Idol" finalists. Considered as a frontrunner early during Season 11, it was a major shock when it was announced he was eliminated in seventh place. In fact, he'd just risen to the top of the power rankings lists on the back of several rousing performances, making his low vote count even more surprising.

But it was a successful journey on "Idol" nonetheless, especially given that he had never intended to audition in the first place. He showed up at the auditions simply to support his sister but the judges called him in and got him to sing them a song. They also gave him, along with his sister, a ticket to Hollywood for the next round.

Opportunity often has a strange way of presenting itself...

Dixon was signed to EMI-CMG/Sparrow Records in early September.

According to the press release, Dixon worked with some heavy-hitters putting A Messenger together. Some of his co-writers and producers had even worked with "Idol" alums before. For instance, Red Decibel (Adam Watts, Andy Dodd and Gannin Arnold) co-wrote "Never Gone," “Shape Of Your Love” and “In and Out of Time” and had previously worked with Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson (not to mention Switchfoot). Songwriter Zac Maloy, who previously worked with Season 5 finalist Daughtry (and Plain White T’s) penned the power anthem “I’ll Be The Light." Producer busbee (with credits including Daughtry, Pink, Switchfoot, and Smash Mouth) co-wrote "You Are" and "Noise" with the young singer. And the song, "Where The Heart Goes," was co-written with writer/producer David Garcia and the inestimable Ben Glover, ASCAP’s Christian Songwriter of the Year for 2012. David Bassett, who has done extensive work on Shinedown's third and fourth studio albums, co-wrote "This Is Who I Am."

Another notable inclusion on the album: The Tennessee born musician/singer offers an acoustic version of "Let Them See You," a song written by Scotty Wilbanks, who tours as the keyboardist for Christian rock group Third Day.

Dixon has another tie with Third Day. He is set to tour with the popular band in February.

Full track listing for A Messenger:

1. Noise
2. I’ll Be The Light
3. You Are
4. Never Gone
5. Love Has Come
6. Scars
7. Rise
8. Where My Heart Goes
9. This Is Who I Am
10. In and Out of Time
11. Let Them See You

Look for Colton Dixon to appear as a featured guest during the twelfth season of "American Idol," which premieres January 16 on Fox Television.

For more information on Colton Dixon, access his official website or his Facebook page.

Take Home Message: Colton Dixon is inspired by his faith and conviction and a good example that one doesn't have to hide or sideline one's true beliefs to be successful, something he could have easily chosen to do as part of the "American Idol" franchise in the hope of attaining greater popularity and success in the music industry.

(photo credit: EMI-CMG/Sparrow Records, Fair Use)