Most mothers are innately understanding and supportive of their children’s ambitions. But when Colton Dixon told his mom, Teresa, he was going to pursue a career in music, her heart sank just a bit.
“He had a substantial music scholarship offer from Middle Tennessee State University…and then he had this audition for something called American Idol,” his mom shares with a laugh.
You probably know the rest of the story. Colton ended up as a finalist on Idol. Following the show, he had one of the most successful debuts in Christian music, A Messenger, followed by another smash hit, Anchor in 2014.
While his mom and dad still lament the ballgames that will never be, you’ll never see two parents more proud of their son…or their daughter. Those sentiments were more than obvious at the CCM Magazine cover shoot with Colton and his mom at Union Station in downtown Nashville, Tennessee.
Upon greeting Colton, whose hair was higher than ever, I shook hands with the guy standing next to him—with camera slung around neck—assuming he was the photographer, until he kissed Colton’s mom. It was clear this was Michael Dixon and this was really a family outing disguised as a photo shoot.
As Colton, his parents, and I gathered for a post-cover shoot snack, I asked if the family entourage scene was typical with the Dixon’s.
It is. So, how do they do it?
The short answer is that it’s all they’ve ever done. From the baseball fields to the stages, this family is a living, breathing, and solid foundation for one another. In fact, that’s what led Colton to American Idol in the first place. It was the constant encouragement from his younger sister Schyler that led to Colton’s audition.
Even as Colton’s career has reached stratospheric levels, however, not much has changed regarding family. They have continued to remain side-by-side through the years.
“Everybody asks if we are always together,” says Teresa. “This is the norm for us. The kids have been performing and leading worship long before gracing the Idol stages. It’s really all the same, just on a bigger level. It’s been awesome to experience them living their dreams.
“The music is great, but it’s really the icing on the cake for me. Who they are as individuals is what matters. They haven’t given me anything to worry about. We’ve been very blessed as parents and Colton and Schyler have made our jobs pretty easy.”
As Teresa glances across the table at her son, it’s obvious that her sentiments are void of any pretense or fabrication. This truly is a family who does almost everything together, and one that is certainly thankful for their many blessings.
“We’re not perfect — and we’re definitely not saints,” adds Teresa. “We do love each other and, as a family, we collectively take a stand for Christ. We’re grateful for the lives [Colton and Schyler] have been able to live and for the way God continues to shape their journeys.”
“My parents have always been there,” Colton shares. “They’re my comfort in the chaos and the one thing that’s always familiar. I think Idol came at a great time for us, but it also presented many challenges.
“I was coming into manhood and beginning to experience life on my own. At the same time, some very unique and life-altering decisions were forced upon me. When I needed to come up for air, I knew that I could always count on them. Through the Idol days, there were some things going on that didn’t always fall into line with who I knew I was—definitely some hurdling moments.”
“But that hurdling moment was short-lived for him,” Teresa quickly interjects. “I know as a kid I went through a lot of hurdles and it took me a long time to discover who I was. In some ways I’m still discovering—to a degree I think we all are. Even though I’m a parent, I am still human. We do make mistakes, but we make the effort to keep God at the center of our family.”
That effort is paying off.
At the time this article will release, Schyler will also be preparing to release her first single, while Colton is gearing up for another season of touring and ministry—with an emphasis on the latter.
“I meet many kids on the road who aren’t as fortunate as I have been,” says Colton. “They come from families broken by divorce, some are dealing with depression or cutting, and others are even considering suicide. It breaks my heart. But a lot of those same kids have also told me that my songs have changed their lives. It reminds me of just how good I’ve had it, and how thankful I am for my family.”
With emotion, Teresa responds “To hear that as a mom…” She pauses, “That’s what it’s all about. That’s the character I was talking about. He’s so young, but hearing his heart and how he handles situations—he gets it. As a mom, what more could you ask for? I look up to Colton in a lot of areas, I have a lot of respect for him.”
She also has a lot of stories, ones that only a mom can share.
“When Colton was little he was always wearing a cape and cowboy boots,” she says with a laugh. “Then, of course, his little sister had to also wear a cape. She was ‘Robin’ for a while and then ‘Batgirl.’ Colton would probably still wear a cape today if it were socially acceptable!”
“Maybe I’ll bring the cape back?” Colton laughs.
Whether donning superhero attire or not, it’s clear that Colton chooses to take a piece of his childhood, his family, and his home with him everywhere he goes. This summer, as he wraps up his current touring before launching into festival season, you can be sure that a Dixon will be near.
“It’s so nice to know that I’ll always have people around that will allow me to completely be myself,” he says. With that, his mom grabs a shrimp from his plate, he grabs a fry from hers and it’s evident that they are the real deal.
It’s also evidence that for the Dixon’s, it all began in the home. With a mom and dad who couldn’t be more proud of both of their kids—on a ball field, a stage, at church, or even at the dinner table.
“I love seeing them do what they love,” Teresa says. “It’s been awesome to see Colton and Schyler living their dreams, but it’s their character that I’m the most proud of. Again, the music is just the icing, I’m complete as a mom.”