As a child, Colton Owsley always knew that music was what he wanted to do. But his path to ACU and towards a career in music was never that simple.
“My family wasn’t very supportive of music so it was kind of hard to get playing,” said Owsley, a junior music major from Naples, Florida.
However, what began as a simple interest in listening and singing along with the radio eventually led Colton into pursuing the passion.
“I started playing piano when I was younger,” he said, “and eventually got a guitar and started playing and writing folk music, playing in punk bands and different stuff like that.”
His attendance at ACU was kind of a surprise.
“I didn’t think I would get in,” Owsley said. “I had been out of high school for a few years an I was actually living on the street for a while.”
After applying just a week before the fall semester in 2009, Owsley was accepted.
“God really opened up a lot of doorways for me,” he said, “through allowing the money, allowing the time, allowing everything.”
Owsley has played in multiple bands and also worked as a solo artist. For many that have listened, he has a very individual and recognizable style and voice.
“My influences would definitely be folk music,” said Owsley, “but I integrate classical, flamenco, jazz, bossa nova and a lot of different styles.”
Here at ACU, he studies classical guitar but performances show a much broader range of genres.
“I really love all styles and try to incorporate them within a folk setting,” he said.
Owsley is not only an instrumentalist but also a writer.
“[My lyrics] are heavily influenced upon matters of the mind and soul,” said Owsley, “and asking deeper questions on matters of existence and spirituality and embodying that within the Lord’s wisdom and truth.”
Verses like “and oh my love she had an epiphany/about the man she saved/and humbled by human nature/circumstance and a violent brain” from his recent song, “Awakening”, embody the truly personal nature of his lyrics.
“Soul searching is really how I find the words and notes to present what I am trying to say to the masses,” said Owsley.
This year, Owsley was able to spend three months at Berklee College of Music’s summer program in Boston. There he was able to take instrumental, vocal and writing classes as well as private instruction for credit.
Owsley furthered his musical ability in many ways, but the true benefit of the experience was connections.
“I made a lot of neat connections with different people from around the world,” he said. “People who know people within the record industry as well as other musicians who are starting their careers. In the future there are possibilities with every student and friend I made up there.”
After his summer in Boston, Owsley has decided to continue his education at Berklee College of Music. He will return in the spring when he intends to pursue a degree in classical writing and production.
Colton’s music can be found on MySpace, Facebook and Band Camp. Future shows include the Abilene Public Library on Oct. 18, the National Food Center on Oct. 28 and a set during the Solid Groove Music Festival on Oct. 7.