's seventh-place finish on Season 11 of American Idol was one of the most surprising and memorable Idol cuts of all time, but it was only the beginning for the artist. Last year Dixon released his debut full-length album, A Messenger
, featuring the hit songs "You Are" and "Never Gone." That album takes its title from the Bible passage John 13:16: "Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him."
Dixon has returned with a new set of songs on his sophomore album Anchor
, including the lead single "More of You." In addition to hearing Colton sing these very worshipful and vertically directed new songs at Creation Northeast, I had the opportunity to speak with Colton about "More of You."
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
A fun fact from the writing side is that this was the last song we wrote for the album. I went into the studio and the guys I was writing with said it was the last day to get whatever we hadn't said out on the table. I remember thinking "what is that?" I started going through my notes from Winter Jam. What I love to do when I get a song or lyric idea on tour is jot it down in my notes and visit it later. I was re-visiting those notes, and the idea of "More of You
" kept resurfacing.
The best way I know how to explain is from the analogy my youth group leader shared with me growing up in the church. Think of two cups of water. One cup is you, the other cup is God. The water represents anything you're putting before God. It could be entertainment, your family, or any of your favorite things. The water in God's cup simply represents Him. What God wants to do is fill us up with Him. He wants to draw us closer and closer to Himself and for us to be more and more like Him.
What I've come to realize is that if we as believers want to truly experience the full potential of God's power and potential in our lives, then we have to empty our cups first to make more room for Him. That hit me like a ton of bricks. I remember thinking "it is time for me to start emptying my cup or cleaning out the toolbox," so to speak. That's been my challenge to myself, and it turned into the idea for the song. It was obvious that God was part of the song from the moment we started typing out lyrics.
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
John 3:30 (NKJV)
: He must increase, but I must decrease.
Matthew 16:26 (NIV)
: What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
What is the takeaway message?
The first verse talks about the kingdom that you have made for yourself. It can represent whatever you are putting in that cup. Then you need to recognize that it needs to be taken away so you can focus more on what the Lord has for you, because it is going to be better.
In the bridge we give a tip of the hat to "I Surrender All." That says it better than we could have on our own. I tried out for American Idol a couple of different times, and the name of that show is ironic relative to John 3:30. I was not ready at all the first season I tried out. Pride started to creep in, and it turned into the opposite of John 3:30. It became all about me, and about how I could get somewhere and what I could accomplish.
When I didn't make it to the final round when America would have voted, I am now so thankful that I didn't make it. I don't know if I would have had the same outcome. I think it is so cool that God uses situations for our good. I really wanted to win American Idol my first season, and I didn't make it. The second time around I had no intention of being on the show, and He put it in my lap. It is really cool and funny how God works.
As far as post-Idol, it is such a fine line between being confident and giving God the glory for what you do. There's no doubt there are artists who know that they are talented. How they go about it is key. You can go on stage and kill it. It's more about how you are off stage. I think that's so important for people to see. There's everything from heavy screamo to light singer-songwriter stuff in Christian music, but offstage is what matters. How you're reaching generations is so important. It is so important to keep your priorities in line and your eyes focused on Who they should be focused on.
It's great to have career and ministry goals, but if those goals don't line up with God, you need to quickly say "alright, take it away." That's been a really cool thing God has been teaching me. I've wanted to do things, and I've felt God pressing hold or mute on that and telling me to come look at what He has for me.
This album is even more personal than the last album. I went into the studio with new experiences, and I needed to get them out of me in these songs. I started touring and realized how easy it was to get swept away in a busy schedule, how hard it was to make time for quiet time and Jesus time. I found that it was a daily struggle, and that's not the way it should be. We should be beyond joyful to spend time with the Lord. I remember having a crazy turn in my head, thinking it needed to change. I learned so many things about myself through that experience, and that's where "Anchor" came from. I realized that I needed a foundation in Jesus. "Our Time is Now" is an anthem for my generation. It's time that we take a stand and fight for what we believe in.
I made my castle tall
I built up every wall
This is my kingdom and it needs to fall
I want You and no one else
Empty me of myself
Until the only thing that's left is
More of You
Less of me
Make me who I'm meant to be
You're all I want all I need
Take it all I surrender
Be my King
God I choose
More of You
Less of me
More of You
This life I hold so close
Oh, God I let it go
I refuse to gain the world and lose my soul
So take it all I abandon everything I am You can have it
The only thing I need is
All to You I surrender
All to You my blessed Savior
I surrender all
The message of this song really ties in to Colton's experience on American Idol, his Christian music ministry and my theme verse for writing these behind the song devotionals, John 3:30. When I was in Atlanta for NRT in 2011 covering the Dove Awards, with all the fanfare and celebrity, I was concerned about the sin of pride. I prayed for The Holy Spirit to give me some biblical guidance for conducting artist interviews and a theme verse in praying before each of our artist interviews, and on Monday night the Lord gave me John 3:30: "He must increase, but I must decrease."
The ministry of Christian music is not about these great singers whom God has blessed with amazing talent or about the media coverage. The whole purpose of Christian music, singing the songs and writing about them, is to praise our Lord and Savior Jesus for providing us this opportunity to point people to Him.
A line from the song that defines the Christian walk and Colton's journey is "I refuse to gain the world and lose my soul." I love this song "More of You" by Colton Dixon, and it really is my heart's cry to the Lord. The message of the song is a lifelong commitment I'm making as a follower of Jesus to ask the Lord to "Make me who I'm meant to be / You're all I want all I need / You're everything / Take it all I surrender / Be my King / God I choose / More of You / Less of me.
" Amen to that!
(Watch the music video here.