RED SPRINGS — As a child, Tyler Cole spoke of little else but becoming a crime fighter, but the state trooper is now singing a different tune.
“My dad, mom, and my siblings, they were all into music,” said Cole, who lives in Red Springs. “Music has always been a part of my family, and it has sort of been bred into me, but I never thought of it as a career until recently.”
On a whim, Cole, who had only viewed singing as a hobby to practice while attending church, decided to drive to Charleston, S.C., in March 2013 for an audition for the FOX television show “The X-Factor.”
“The X-Factor” is a televised music competition, created by former “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell, which had run for three seasons. In February the show ceased production after Cowell announced that he was leaving the show to work exclusively on the United Kingdom version of the program.
Cole passed the initial audition for the show’s producers and was invited to do another audition, this time in front of the four celebrity judges, Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland and Pauline Rubio.
“It is all a show,” Cole said. “But still, I was nervous. I was backstage and there was one lady before me, who was not too bad though you could tell she wasn’t the strongest singer and they just slammed her, which made me even more nervous. By the time I got out there I was a bundle of nerves, but then, suddenly, everything just disappeared. With thousands of people in the audience all the nerves went away. They asked me what my name was and what I do. I think a couple of judges were intrigued by the fact that I was a highway patrolman.”
What truly impressed the judges was Cole’s voice, which got him an invite to Los Angeles to perform for a live audience. Cole didn’t make it past the top 40, but he still considers himself a winner.
“That is 40 out of how many thousands of people auditioning?” Cole said. “I am pretty happy with that.”
Once eliminated, Cole found his love of music had been given new life and decided that it was time he gave the music industry he had initially dismissed as a pipe dream a serious effort.
Once free of his contract with FOX, Cole, whose real name is Brent Tyler, took on a stage name so as to differentiate himself from an already established country artist by the same name and hit the studio.
Currently Cole is recording his first official album of original music, while booking performances around the state. His next live performance will be June 7 in Pembroke Park as part of the annual Summer Jam concert.
Even with his music career taking off, Cole says he has no plans of giving up his badge and gun.
“Law enforcement in general has always been a passion ever since I was a kid,” Cole said. “After graduating I immediately applied for the FBI and Highway Patrol and was thrilled when I got accepted as a state trooper, as it is the most elite agency in the state as far as law enforcement goes. There hasn’t been a day that I’ve regretted it. I plan on staying a state trooper as long as I can and if doors open up in the music industry, we’ll have to see what happens.”
James Johnson may be reached at 910-272-6144 or on Twitter @JJohnsonRobeson.