Cole Criske, freshman worship arts and ministry major at California Baptist University, is a singer-songwriter who competed on “The Voice” and is now part of the male chorale and worship collective choir.
Criske currently is writing his own music and performing his songs whenever he gets the opportunity.
“God inspires my music by being the ultimate creator, by being the first mover when it comes to music. There is no music without God. He is the divine inspirer, he’s the one who put music into our hearts and minds,” Criske said.
Criske said he would describe the music he writes as minimalist with many drone notes. He uses instrumentation with melodies.
Criske knows how to play the piano, ukulele and guitar. He said the transition from the ukulele to the guitar was simple.
Jake Carroll, junior business major, said he has been close friends with Criske since 2013.
“As someone who plays a lot of music, Cole has been a source of inspiration for me,” Carrol said. “I have seen Cole grow in his music exponentially. He has always been talented and he is dedicated to getting better.”
At 18-years-old, Criske auditioned in front of Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Adam Levine and Pharrell Williams on Season 9 of “The Voice” for a coveted spot on a coach’s team.
“It was amazing, not because of the show itself, but because of the people, the connections and the lasting friendships that were made through the experience the show provided,” Criske said.
In 2015, Criske was eliminated in the Battle Rounds, but not before he had the opportunity to work with country music artists Shelton and Brad Paisley.
“(Shelton) is a nice guy. He’s always happy,” Criske said. “Brad Paisley is probably one of the best guitar players I’ve ever met. Blake Shelton he all around knows musicality.”
After his time on “The Voice,” Criske took two years off from school to be a music teacher in the Murrieta and Temecula school districts.
If Criske had to give advice to an aspiring musician, he said it would be to recognize what you have.
“You have to put the time in and enjoy the time you put it. Make it meaningful,” Criske said. “Don’t be ashamed if someone is more naturally talented than you are. Recognize that, run with it. You’re going to work harder, but it should be something that’s going to push you to the next level.”