By Michele Stevens Bernard, TSB Lifestyle Editor
It’s amazing the difference a year can make. Just ask 14-year-old Colton Jacobson.
Since introducing himself to the world via YouTube in July 2011, this up-and-coming pop singer has learned a thing or two about how quickly things move and change when you decide to share your love for music with the rest of the world. From posting home videos and entering local talent contests, to professionally recording and going on location to shoot his first full-on music video, not to mention managing the thousands of fans known as Coltonites that he’s made along the way …
Well, the difference a year can make can be pretty amazing.
I first met this young singer last November during the 2011 McKinney Music Mash-Up where, by popular vote, Colton placed as a Top-10 finalist. A Frisco resident who is entering ninth grade, Colton lives at home with his parents, Eric and Terri Jacobson. Terri is a McKinney High alumnus whose family still lives here.
I recently had the opportunity to check in with the young singer to find out more about what’s been happening in his world since we last met.
“Since I saw you last, a lot of things have happened,” Colton said. “I’ve been performing more, I came out with an album, and I got to go to Tampa to record a music video. That was fun. I brought a friend with me. Her name is Emily and she is in the video. It was a really cool experience, except for the weather. We were down there when [Hurricane] Debbie was down there, so we were not alone. She definitely rained on our parade in a literal sense.”
The release of Colton’s video featuring his first single, Sand Castle, is scheduled to be released on YouTube, VEVO and television in the next few weeks.
“I’m not used to saying it’s my song,” said Colton. “It feels weird to have a song that so many people say they like. The song is about a love that was too good to be true and it’s like, yeah. It’s about putting yourself forward and trying to be the better person to overcome things, but basically it all falls down anyway.”
Following the release of the video, will be the release of five more tracks off of his debut EP, Unstoppable, to be distributed by Universal Music Group.
This time last year saw the beginning of Colton’s sky-rocket journey to where he is now.
“I made this YouTube video that pretty much went viral,” Colton said. “It’s been viewed something like 2 million times.”
Within six months of that fateful posting, Colton received over 1,750,000 views, with 12,500 subscribers and 30,000 friends on his YouTube Channel. His cover of Bruno Mars’ “It Will Rain” ranked No. 2 for the most shared video on YouTube.
“I’ve definitely started gaining a fan base,” Colton said. “Yeah it’s YouTube, but I think it’s my personality too. I’m very true to myself and I won’t try to be someone I’m not. I think people understand that I’m not fake. I’m a real person and I’m not going to pretend my life is perfect. We all go through ups and downs, and so do I.”
In the course of our interview, Colton shared that he knows first-hand what it feels like to be on the receiving end of bullying. As a result of his personal experience, he said he hopes that others watching him work hard to follow his dream will see him as a positive role model and do the same for themselves. To that end, Colton has also made a point to give back to his community in the past year by recording the song Mary Did You Know for a Christmas album sponsored by Bethlehem Place, benefiting families in need. He also logged a performance at the 2012 Carry The Load Celebration in honor of the families of fallen soldiers, fire fighters and police officers.
With an army of fans garnered through social media behind him, live performances didn’t fall far behind. Since his McKinney Music-Mash-up performance, Colton, now with a full band, has enjoyed rocking Dallas-area stages at the House of Blues, The Palladium Ballroom, Hard Rock Café and Six Flags Over Texas. He also performed at “The Blind Pig” sponsored by RedGorilla during the 2012 SXSW Music Festival in Austin, and has opened for American Idol contestant Tim Halperin. Most recently, he was selected to be a member of the 2012 Kidd Kraddick Rock Band, Three Day Magick, and had the honor of working with Jack Black and performing live on air with Amy Heidemann from the band KARMIN.
“I’ve really enjoyed getting to know my fans. I don’t even really call them that, I call them family,” said Colton, who admits being an only child may play a part in why he enjoys meeting so many new people. “It’s like having a very large extended family.”
For Colton, who describes himself as funny, loud, and sometimes annoying to his best friend down the street, his musical journey began early. Listing a range of singers from Aguilera to Streisand as influential to his R&B laced pop sound, Colton knew early on he possessed a God-given gift, but it wasn’t until he decided to sing in his 5th grade talent show that he realized just how powerful his gift was. After the experience of receiving a standing ovation, he says he knew that this is what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
Shortly thereafter, Colton began taking piano and singing lessons. Soon, Colton found himself singing the National Anthem before a Frisco Roughriders game and being selected as one of eight young men to audition for Simon Fuller’s Boy Band for the Next Generation Project, aka IM5, co-produced by Jamie King and Perez Hilton.
“Colton’s voice glides before instantly throwing his voice into higher gear, piling riffs on top of each other like no other 14-year-old I have ever heard in my 20-plus years of coaching,” said vocal coach Linda Septien.
Today, Colton continues his musical studies as a member of the Septien Entertainment Group’s Master Artist Program. Alums also under the tutelage of Septien include Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez and Jessica Simpson.
When not behind the microphone, Colton likes to do what most 14-year-old boys like to do. That’s hang out with his friends.
“When we’re not hanging out, we’re texting like all the time. My best friend is even trying to Face Time me right now,” said Colton as he glanced toward his phone, “Sometimes we Skype, but only if we’re like really good friends, because the front camera on IPhone makes you look like an alien.
“My goal is to be like a top-40 artist, someone who is a household name, someone who everyone knows about and has an opinion about, good or bad. As long as you’re thinking about me, even if it’s like, `oh I hate that kid’s music,’ I think that’s better than not knowing at all that I’m out there working and singing. Obviously, I hope no one says that but I’m sure it happens. We’re an opinionated generation, very opinionated, probably, more so than ever. Even so, what I want to do is just keep putting myself out there and keep meeting new people and exploring new opportunities.”
It’s amazing what a difference one year can make.
Be sure to check out the video that started it all by checking out the link below. Chances are you’ll consider yourself a Coltonite too after you do.
Top three photos courtesy of ColtonJacobson.com. Photo of Kidd Kraddick Rock Camp 2012 Band Three Day Magick copyright Randy Peterson and courtesy of Colton Jacobson Music Facebook page.