Family, golf, his music and some merrymaking are high on his priority list
Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

After shedding tears of joy as the first winner of NBC’s The Voice Wednesday night, Javier Colon hugged host Carson Daly, coach Adam Levine, fellow finalists Dia Frampton, Beverly McClellan and Vicci Martinez, and then, finally, his wife and two daughters.

“My oldest, who’s 3½, said, ‘Daddy! Daddy! We saw you win on TV!'” Colon told reporters proudly. “They were in a holding area and she said, ‘We saw you win on TV, Daddy!’ ‘Yeah, baby, Daddy won.’ ”

Colon landed a recording contract with Universal Republic Records, $100,000 and a starring spot on the inaugural Voice tour, but remained humble, saying he had expected Team Blake‘s “amazing” Frampton to win.

“I have a tendency to always keep my expectations low,” he admitted. “It’s been my natural protection, I guess.”

As Colon told PEOPLE on the eve of the finale, “I’ve been at this a long time, and it wears on you when you keep getting doors shut in your face, and you keep getting told you are not good enough to get another record deal and they decide not to, quote-unquote, waste their time on you. So this [opportunity] is amazing.”

Here are a few more things to know about Colon:

1. He Found His Voice
Colon started in the business singing lead for funk band EmCQ, then found his rock roots with the Derek Trucks Band. He went solo on Capitol Records in 2003, scoring a Billboard Hot 100 single called “Crazy,” but his follow-up efforts weren’t as successful. Now, he says, Universal Republic Records “understand who I am an opinionated guy. [And] it’s going to be awesome.”

2. He Seized His Last Chance
Back at home in Stratford, Conn., Colon released an EP but “in January, I had been rejected from yet another record label, and I really thought things were going to work out. I thought that might have been the dagger” to his music career, said Colon. With a young family to support, “It was time to put up or move on. I’ve got a degree in music education, and I would love to have been able to go into a school system and teach kids and inspire them as I was inspired as a kid to follow music.”

3. He’s Really a Family Man
Colon will use his cash prize to pay off school loans, put more payments in on his house, “and take my wife on a spa weekend because she so deserves it,” he said, “for taking the care of the kids on and off for months without me while I was doing this.” On one shopping outing for the finalists, Frampton recalled, “I walked up to Javier and asked, ‘What did you get?’ ‘Oh, I just got this,’ and he pulled out a teeny little T-shirt with Cookie Monster on it. ‘I got this for my kids because they love Cookie Monster.’ He’s always Skype-ing with his kids. He’s awesome.”

4. He’s a Gifted Prankster
Although Frampton also called Colon “a saint,” he’s not without his prankster side. When he first met teammate Casey Weston, “he spoke to me in a British accent,” she said, “and he made me believe he was English for about 20 minutes!” Once she met the true Colon, she said, “he has been the biggest inspiration, and I’ve learned so much from him, and I am blessed and excited for him to be on my team.”

5. He Gets Teed Off
To relax, Colon plays golf. “I don’t think people realize what an amazing golfer he is,” contestant Nakia said. “When we were held up in the hotel, he would be in golf withdrawal. Wherever we’re touring, they better have a spot every other day for him to play golf, because he’s going to need it, a moment with just him and the golf clubs!”

And, finally, what’s next? On the tour, Colon hopes to sing some Steve Perry or Peter Gabriel material, and duet with as many of the finalists as possible. Also, “Me and Adam are going to get in the studio and do some things,” Colon said, “and even Cee Lo [Green] and I talked about doing some stuff as well. There’s a lot of good things for me in the future.”