Isaac Cole

Isaac Cole

Singing and Performing have always been my greatest passions and I’m so excited to be able to share my music with all of you!

Isaac-ColeTo talk about Isaac Cole and singing, you have to start pretty early in his life. He was born in 2000, and he has always loved country music. As a toddler, his favorite song was “Smokey Mountain Rain”. When it came on the car radio, he didn’t want anyone else to sing to it, since it was his song.

He would often do little concerts at home, of all the songs he learned in Sunday school. Then Josh Turner’s “Long Black Train” song came out. That became the first song Isaac ever performed at church when he had just turned four years old. He ran up on stage and introduced himself and the song, then proceeded to walk all around the stage singing to the different parts of the congregation, came down the steps of the podium and back up twice, never missed a word, and made lots facial expressions.

We were all dumbfounded since the only thing we had done was sit him on our lap and teach him the words to the song! He began to do special music at our home church periodically after that. We saw our first Tommy Brandt concert in Butler, PA when Isaac was five years old, and after that he only wanted to perform Tommy Brandt songs.

Tommy has graciously provided tracks of his songs for Isaac since that time. He started playing guitar in Kindergarten at age six after announcing that he wanted to be a singing cowboy!

Isaac-ColeAfter receiving the ICM Awards® Youth in Music in 2012, Isaac Cole McNanny started writing songs for his second CD project. He exclaims, “I found that I really enjoy recording my own music!” He spent time with fellow artists he admires, and they taught him how to write good songs. And, to expand his level of artistry, he started learning how to play new instruments and took lead guitar lessons.

At this point, he comfortably plays four instruments in public. They include guitar, banjo, mandolin and fiddle. He says he’s still working on the dobro, a square-neck resonator. He admits, “Guitar has always been my favorite instrument, but learning lead guitar made it even cooler!”

When asked from which musician he has learned the most, Isaac replied that “this question takes a big answer!” After recognizing how blessed he’s been by all the people God put in his life, Isaac starts listing them. First, he says, is “guitar teacher Steve Millison” who “taught me for around 6 years.” Then there was a band, ironically called In Transition, that he played with for a few years when he was 11-12. Isaac credits that band for teaching him “how to sing harmony.”

He has since learned about playing with a large band from bandleader Von McCommons. Isaac then credits fiddle teacher Joy Wilsted, who gave him “lots of music theory,” and guitar teachers Brandon Shick and Roger Hoard. Another recent mentor is Richard Kiser for showing him “the Chet Atkins picking style.”

Long-time influence goes to Tommy Brandt, who has been a role model for Isaac since he was 5 years old. Isaac said that playing with Dennis Agajanian “is amazing,” and knows Dennis has shown him “what it’s like to have a crazy tour schedule for 10 days.”

Isaac thanks “Dennis for the experience and showing me what it is like to sing and play for Jesus as a career.” Not only is Isaac grateful, but he also realizes that what he’s “learned from each of these people is forming who I am as an artist.”

He’d prepared two songs for his audition, one a cappella and one with guitar. To the judges’ amusement, Isaac wound up singing the a cappella song — Lee Brice’s “Love Like Crazy” — while playing guitar.

But, hey, it worked. Especially after Isaac assured them that he’s “a fast learner.” He breezed to Hollywood with three “yes” votes and a piece of advice from Harry Connick Jr. — to lose the twang when he sings since he doesn’t talk that way.

According to his website, Isaac has been singing since age 4 when he performed Josh Turner’s “Long Black Train” in his church. By age 6, he was learning to play the guitar.

Though he hails from rural western Pennsylvania, the album and EP were recorded in Nashville with the assistant of Christian country singer Tommy Brandt. And in 2014, Isaac was named Best New Artist at the Inspirational Country Music Awards.



American Idol came into the picture when Cole turned 15 because that is the minimum age for a contestant. Initially, Cole was going to wait until he was 16 to try out so he could grow as a musician, but he found out this was going to be the last season for the show. “Since this is the last year, I knew it was going to be now or never,” he said. During his trip to Philadelphia for the “American Idol” auditions, Cole passed the three celebrity judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. while he was on an escalator. Then, while he was in front of the judges, he was able to get Urban to autograph his guitar case. Cole was also able to make quite the impression with some of the show’s workers during the auditions. “They just loved my hair,” he said. “They nicknamed me the country Bieber.” Cole was also asked if he was going to be the next American Idol during an interview and his answer blew everyone away. “No,” he said. “I’m going to be the last American Idol.”


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