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'American Idol' Alum Colton Dixon Banks on Christianity

The season 11 favorite releases new album "Anchor" with fanfare, faith and good old-fashioned marketing

Colton Dixon PR 2014 P
David Molnar

Colton Dixon may be making a name for himself in the world of Christian music, but that doesn’t mean his name isn’t associated with at least one sinful indulgence: ice cream. The American Idol season 11 alum now has his very own flavor courtesy of Boston ice creamery Emack & Bolio, one part of a marketing blitz in advance of his sophomore effort, Anchor, which includes his likeness on specially-marked cans of Mountain Dew (that come with a free download of new music). That's in addition to branding opportunities afforded by being a member of the Universal Music Group family.

The 19 Recordings/Capitol CMG release, out on Aug. 19, arrives on the heels of two nominations for the 2014 Dove Awards, which honors Christian artists, in the category of best Rock/Contemporary song and short form video of the year for “Never Gone.” The Murfreesboro, Tennessee native is also now an official Steinway Artist, joining the ranks of other esteemed pianists including Billy Joel, Diana Krall, and Idol judge Harry Connick, Jr.

Dixon, however, is in the minority of Idol alums to graduate from the show to successful careers. And it's mostly thanks to a path of his own choosing, one that's faith-based and incredibly consistent. Indeed, where Dixon's debut The Messenger kicks off with a full minute of dramatic sound effects, so does Anchor, which then slams the listener into the anthemic "Our Time is Now," a generational call to arms that, Dixon says, "manages to get my message out there."

Hooks were always his calling on Idol, both with his own original songs and with covers, so it's no surprise that lead single “More of You" has already hit the No. 1 position on the iTunes Christian and Gospel singles charts. The singer was, however, slightly bemused since, he says, "it was the very last song we wrote for the album." Divine intervention?

Twitter: @MicheleAmabile @Idol_Worship