Graham Colton is bursting with productivity these days, releasing a new EP every month until his new album drops in 2010. After releasing his two previous albums on major labels and scoring a breakout hit with “Best Days,” Colton is moving to the indie ranks as a way to retain control and offer his complete catalog, flaws and all, to fans.
But with more than 100 songs awaiting release, he is still slicing out time to play a Thanksgiving-weekend fund-raising concert for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.
“Since I have chosen to stay here and be creative in Oklahoma, we decided to do hook up with the Food Bank and do this annual food drive,” Colton said. “Playing Thanksgiving is great for me because everybody is home. With family and friends, you get a great mixture of people.”
He stressed that Friday’s event is a concert first and a fund-raiser second, meaning no long-winded shakedowns for donations killing the energy.
“I don’t even want to call it a ‘benefit.’ It’s a full concert that we are using to raise awareness and make a contribution to fight hunger in Oklahoma,” Colton said.
He said the parade of forthcoming EPs will be predominantly solo efforts recorded in his bedroom on a laptop.
“By the time this third album is finished, I’ll have 150 songs that have been written and recorded in some manner, and I have to choose 12 for the album,” he said. “There will then be a lot of songs that might not be a big single or radio-friendly, but I think my fans will enjoy them, so why not try to release a good portion of those? This is the anti-single deal for me.”
Colton isn’t running away from his radio roots, however, and the singer/songwriter admits he’d like to have another breakout single and the subsequent television licensing deals, like the ones he’s enjoyed with “American Idol” and “Oprah’s Big Give.”
“Certainly I’m a pop artist, and I love hearing my song on the radio,” he said. “It’s nice having a song that you could hear on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ or KISS-FM, and I’ve been lucky enough to experience that. There is also another side of me that likes the quirky little tracks that won’t make the album, but I know there are some people that will like them, so why not give it to them?”
The EPs also won’t just be lumped-together B-sides, but will chronicle the process of making the third album.
“There will be a continuity that makes the EPs like small albums, rather than groups of five random songs,” Colton said. “I’ll have a group of songs I wrote with the lead singer of Better Than Ezra in New Orleans, and those songs will kind of live together. Then I’ll have other songs I did in California, and I’ll group those together. It’s like any artist: You get into this zone and write songs that sound alike, and none of them make the album, but they get you to that one song that does.”
2nd Annual Graham Colton Thanksgiving Food Drive Show with Christopher Wray and The City Lives begins at 8 p.m. Friday at the Oklahoma City Farmers Public Market, 311 S. Klein. “Charles Martin