The Voice

Meet Cole Criske of The Voice Season 9


Cole Criske of The Voice Season 9His audition: Cole Criske, 16, of Temecula, Calif., auditioned with John Mayer’s “Dreaming with a Broken Heart.” Gwen Stefani turned around early in the performance. She was soon followed by Pharrell Williams and Blake Shelton. Gwen praised the honesty in his performance; Cole decided to join Team Blake.

His background: He hails from the same town as Season 1 finalist Xenia and says her success on the show served as a great inspiration. Cole says his first memories of singing came in church. Then, at age 8, the family went on a trip to Hawaii and Cole’s dad gave him a ukulele. “I really connected with the instrument,” Cole said, adding his dad was largely responsible for introducing him to music. Then, in June 2009, his dad was killed by a drunk driver. “After that, I kind of found music to be an outlet,” Cole says. “It really became a main focus for me.” He’s been playing small shows around home. He said his audition song is the first one he listened to after learning his father had died.

What the show didn’t show: Cole is home-schooled so he can focus full-time on his music and he already released a single to iTunes back in 2012. You can check out a Cole Criske original below. He says he has other new music in the works and indicates in his YouTube bio that his ambitions include releasing a full album and recording “songs that will make people smile around the world and make the world a better place.”

After his dad died and he began taking music mores seriously, Cole says he started experimenting with different instruments and styles of music. While he still considers the ukulele the only instrument he knows very well, he also plays piano and guitar and says he dabbles with bass and mandolin. “I tried learning the drums, but felt discouraged when I couldn’t hear my voice over the instrument,” he says.

In terms of genre, he says he’s still sort of searching. “As far as my favorite style to perform, I would say that it would be more folk than pop,” he explains. “Somewhere between John Mayer, Ed Sheeran, and Jack Johnson sounds about right.”

At the end of the blind audition, everyone but Blake seemed to be pushing him to pick Gwen as his coach. Cole explains his decision this way: “As far as choosing Blake, I felt that he genuinely cares about his artists and does everything he can to help them improve. I know a lot of people wanted me to pick Gwen, and although we did have that connection, I really do feel like Blake’s team is the best place for me right now, and that’s how I felt standing on that stage as well. I don’t think that I came on the show with a disposition to pick Blake, it just sorta happened, and I couldn’t be happier.”

I’ll be posting profile blogs on every singer who lands a spot on Season 9 of The Voice. For links to the others, head here. Keep checking back. There are many more to come.

On iTunes: Cole released one single, “I Love the Rain,” in early 2012.

Battle round: Lost to Nadjah Nichole, singing “Baby, One More Time” and was eliminated.

Keeping up with Cole:
Twitter: @ColeCriskeMusic

“Life of the Party” (cover)

“Time Machine” (original)

“Imagine” (cover)

Blind audition: “Dreaming with a Broken Heart”

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