Colby O’Donis (born Colby O’Donis Colón: March 14, 1989) is an American singer, songwriter, actor and record producer. He is best known as a featured artist in the Lady Gaga single “Just Dance”, which spent more than eleven months on the Billboard Hot 100. He is also well known for his lead single on his debut album Colby O titled “What You Got” featuring Akon, which peaked at number 14 on the Hot 100, and being featured on Akon’s song “Beautiful”, which peaked at number 19 on the Hot 100.
Colby O’Donis Colón, who is of Puerto Rican, African American and Italian descent, was born in Queens, New York, and grew up there and in Florida.His mother, Olga, is a singer once crowned Miss Puerto Rico in NY, and his father, Freddy Colón, who is of Puerto Rican and African American decent is a New York disc jockey. He was named after Colby O’Donis, a firefighter who was killed while saving his father’s life. O’Donis has one sister, who is five years older than he is. He has stated that, for seven years, she helped pay for his dance, piano, and guitar lessons out of her own paychecks. His parents first realized his singing talent when he took first place at a talent show by singing a Michael Jackson song when he was only three and a half.
When he was eight, his parents relocated to Orlando, Florida and a year later he began collaborating with the production group Full Force, the same group that had worked with the Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync, and Britney Spears. Colby’s rise to fame began at age ten, when he became the youngest recording artist ever signed to Motown Records in order to do a song for a major motion picture soundtrack. The song, titled “Mouse in the House”, was featured on the 1999 Stuart Little soundtrack. Soon after, he began taking guitar lessons with Johan Oiested, a musician in Carlos Santana’s rhythm section. At the age of eleven, he was making regular appearances as an actor on the television series Grandpa’s Garage. At age twelve his father bought him his first production studio and, by the time he had reached fourteen, Colby was opening local Florida shows for major recording artists, including the Backstreet Boys, Brian McKnight, 98°, Britney Spears, and Ne-Yo. Shortly after his fifteenth birthday, Colby’s parents made the decision to relocate to Los Angeles and pursue a recording deal. After this move, Colby was introduced to Genuine Music Group, where he began collaborating on producing an LP album consisting of songs from his catalog and songs co-written by producers Damon Sharpe, Gregg Pagani, and Brion James.
In 2006, O’Donis almost signed a record deal with Babyface. However, before the deal was finalized, O’Donis’ management set up a meeting between O’Donis and Akon. They got in the studio where Colby played Akon his first demo of fourteen songs, and Akon loved and “really connected with it”. A few weeks later, they set up a session and began working on music where O’Donis said they had really good chemistry from the start. At this time, Akon told O’Donis that he was starting his own label, called Konvict Muzik, and asked if he wanted to be a part of it. O’Donis agreed and, for the next two years, he waited for the label to “get going and achieve the stature they need to launch new artists” before being officially signed.
O’Donis has said that, before he signed with Interscope and Akon, he had already released six independent record albums.