June 30, 2011 at 04:41 AM EDT

It’s a good thing Javier Colon won the inaugural season of NBC’s The Voice. Had it not been for the show, he would’ve moved onto Plan B — teaching music to kids.

“Before I came out to do this audition in January, I had been rejected from yet another record label that I really thought [I was] gonna get,” Colon told reporters after the show. “It was over.” As the story often goes, the label passed. Since his two previous records in 2003 and 2006 failed to take off, The Voice was Colon’s last-ditch effort to have a music career.  He didn’t even want to audition, but his brother talked him into it. “I thought, I can’t just keep living on a dream and expecting that things are going to work out because it’s not just my wife and I anymore.”

Flash forward to Wednesday, when the Connecticut-born artist earned the title of “The Voice,” as well as a recording contract with Universal Republic, a $100,000 cash prize, and a key spot on the summer Voice tour that kicks off July 27 in Los Angeles. “I wasn’t expecting to win, honestly,” Colon said. “I, 100%, thought [host Carson Daly] was going to say Dia Frampton and she is most deserving of it. She is amazing. I think any one of us, Vicci or Beverly or Dia, we all are deserving of the title.”

His coach, Adam Levine, couldn’t agree more. He thinks Colon won because his voice was “so powerful and special. It’s his voice. That’s all you need the name of the show is The Voice. I just like the fact that the winner really reflects what the show is all about.”

Colon is confident that his new deal with a record label will be a success this time. “I think they understand who I am they know the mistakes that were made it he past with my last label who didn’t really get who I was.” As for the sound and feel of his next record, Colon – who also independently released an EP in 2010 — says, “I feel that some of the best songs are songs that tell stories. I think my album is going to have a lot of those elements. There are going to be some acoustic moments, just me and a guitar, intimate, and then I’m sure we’ll have some fun stuff on there as well. But for the most part, I’m going to be coming from a singer-songwriter perspective with a soulful background.”

He also plans to ask for a little help from his friends, Levine and fellow coach Cee-Lo Green. “Me and Adam are definitely going to get into the studio and do some things,” says Colon, who plans to use his prize money to pay off student loans, pay down his mortgage, and take his wife on a spa weekend. “Even Cee-Lo and I talked about doing some stuff as well.”

A rotating chair-full of judges search for the next great superstar singer on this NBC reality show.
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