Life on a major record label was full of high highs and low lows for
Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Graham Colton. Forging his own path as
an independent artist the past few years has proven to be more his
“To be honest, it’s equally liberating and terrifying. When you have a success, there’s nothing like it. It’s all because of you and your fans, and it’s so much more rewarding in that way,” Colton said. “But, the business changes daily. I literally have to think about how to make everything cost-effective and also how to maintain good quality to everything at the same time. It’s never been better, but it’s never been more challenging.”
For him, that means going to new places, rather than retreating to safe ones. Doing solid business with his first indie release, Pacific Coast Eyes, he ventured to Holland this fall for his first shows across the pond. More important, a loose writing session with Los Angeles songwriter Lindsey Ray turned into a brand-new offshoot, Sooner the Sunset.
“We were hooked up to write with each other for no particular reason,” Colton said. “There was this thing that happened: It didn’t sound like me, and it didn’t sound like her — it sounded like us. We decided it should be something new and something of its own.”
Sooner the Sunset’s EP came out last month, and while Colton has been playing many of its songs on his current solo acoustic tour, time will tell what more comes from the duo.
“All the feedback has been nothing but positive, but jumping in the van together, well, that’s something else entirely,” he said. “If something catches on fire, then absolutely, but we’ll take it as we come.”
If nothing else, it’s given him a taste for moving out of his comfort zone.
“It makes me realize that no matter what song I want to write, as long as I do it honestly, with integrity, it doesn’t matter what the genre is,” he said. “I’m almost trying to make myself uncomfortable. At this point in my life, I don’t hear songs that begin with the acoustic guitar. It’s been fun, to hear these different flavors appearing. I’m really connecting with the music. It’s an interesting, weird feeling.”
Colton isn’t sure what to make of these new songs, but he’s excited about the possibilities; it looks like this path he’s forged is about to take a turn.
“I’m just opening myself to the process,” he said. “I just know that at this moment in time, I want to keep moving forward. I don’t want to do anything I’ve done before, and that’s my main criteria. I’ll keep moving, but it won’t be the same sound you’re used to.”
Today and Friday’s shows at The Blue Door mark the fifth year of Colton’s Thanksgiving shows benefiting Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.
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• Sooner the Sunset album review