OKLAHOMA CITY GAZETTE
Oklahoma Gazette, 03-30-2011
8 p.m. Saturday VZD’s Restaurant & Club
4200 N. Western vzds.com 524-4203 $18 advance, $20 door
Sometimes, you just need a little time to catch your breath.
It’s been almost a decade of jet-setting and TV appearances for Oklahoma City pop-rock singer Graham Colton, all amounting to very little rest and downtime in his hometown.
Some changes have afforded Colton a welcome return to the Sooner State, and he’s taking it as an opportunity to re-establish his roots and connect with local charities. In donating a great deal of his time and talents to organizations, the clean-cut, All-American vocalist found an unlikely mentor: the front man of The Flaming Lips.
“I’ve gotten pretty tight with Wayne Coyne. He’s such an ambassador for Oklahoma City and the state,” Colton said. “It’s an inspiring thing to watch somebody that is that passionate about his hometown and doing such great things. I think he appreciates that I come from a completely different place, but we can still speak the same language. We don’t have to be playing the same music to connect at that level.”
Having a music-biz veteran around has been most helpful to Colton, who faces some major changes. For one, his new album, “Pacific Coast Eyes,” the release of which he will celebrate Saturday at VZD’s, is his first as an independent artist.
It almost killed me.
The past nine years have been good to him, but also incredibly demanding, including national tours with John Mayer, Counting Crows and Kelly Clarkson (whom he briefly dated), and three full-length albums through Universal Records. He hopes to replicate and even expand upon that success now that the label deal has expired, and he doesn’t have to live up to someone else’s expectations and timetables.
“With my last album, the label wanted me to write as many songs as I could possibly write. I ending up writing well over 150. It almost killed me,” Colton said. “Hopefully, I grew as a songwriter, but it’s a lot of pressure. With this album, I started with a blank canvas, wrote and rewrote the songs, lived with them for nine months and then shook them out. Twelve kind of appeared.”
The title track has begun making its way on to radio stations, following him as he has toured regionally in the past few weeks. Show attendance has been as good as ever, and even without the backing of a label, all signs point to a long, steady career with a wonderful home to which to come back.
“I was treated really well, and I got some really fortunate breaks ... but it was the right time for both of us,” Colton said. “I knew I could make the album I wanted to make, and tour the way I wanted to tour. You just have to be good, and people will hear you. It may or may not be on the radio or ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ but there are plenty of ways to make a career out of it.”