By Scott & Kyle Shuford for

Cole Marcus at drum kit

Cole Marcus


At the annual NAMM Show in Anaheim, we had the opportunity to sit down with a phenomenal young Drummer, Composer, and Actor.  His name is Cole Marcus.  You should get to know him.

At his very first NAMM, Cole was offered Full Artist Endorsements. He also became the youngest songwriter in history to sign with BMI.  He was only 4 years old.

I Can Only Imagine movie poster

I Can Only Imagine

Cole has toured internationally and appears in countless TV shows, commercials, and live performances, but his most recent success is his co-starring role in the hit film “I Can Only Imagine” where he plays “Robby,” the drummer of the band MercyMe alongside Dennis Quaid, Trace Adkins, and Cloris Leachman. The film has received a People’s Choice Award nomination and recently won the MovieGuide Award for Best Picture and a Dove Award for Inspirational Film of the Year.  Not bad for a 20-year-old who’s also a 16-year NAMM industry veteran.

When asked about what it’s like to be a professional musician playing another professional musician in a movie and how he prepared for the role, Cole shared, “It was very relatable for me. To be portraying a touring drummer was just to practically be myself!  Robby and I are good friends.  However, going into this role, nothing scared me more than portraying someone in a feature film who’s still alive! Hopefully, I gave a good interpretation of how he felt as a late teenager/early adult. Shooting the band scenes were the equivalent to a very, very long music video. My continuity had to be to a T!”

Robby, Cole and Bart Millard from MercyMe

Robby, Cole and Bart Millard from MercyMe

Cole really enjoyed being around the band.  “I didn’t and don’t have to pretend to be something I’m not around the band because simply put, they’re a bunch of humble talented Dads from Texas filled with the Holy Spirit.  Bottom line is they’re all inspiring individuals, to say the least, who I want to strive to be like in this crazy, awesome life that I’ve been given.”

We moved into a discussion of faith and work. Cole’s perspective is very focused when asked about how his faith affects his career, “My faith is the only thing that guides my career.  Matthew 6:33-34 seems to be a resonating Scripture that keeps recurring in my life, ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these ‘things’ will be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.’”

Surrendering his desires seems to also be playing on repeat in his life.  “When I asked God to let me be in a faith-filled movie, God didn’t give it to me until I was ready to give it up. When I asked to be with my life-long favorite drum company (DW Drums,) God didn’t give that to me until I gave it up. When I asked to be in an iron-sharpening-iron (Proverbs 27:17) God-centered relationship, it was the same story.”

Cole’s foundation is clear: “The ‘things’ of this world are incomparable to the knowledge, wisdom, discernment and all the fruits of the Holy Spirit, in which I found that God will give you graciously when you seek Him diligently. Through that peace of mind and that alone, my career is guided. I have nothing to fear.”

As we talked about the similarities and differences between the music and film industries, Cole saw them as different but the same. “To be working in both industries simultaneously is incomprehensible, but all that I ask is that God uses me to be an encouraging light to anyone I meet.  No matter where I am, or what I’m doing, my purpose remains the same.”

In the industries, “You have a popular actor-actress. You have a popular singer.  The popularity is basically the same.  To a similar extent, it’s the same for screenwriters and songwriters, or film producers and studio producers, or even cinematographers and studio engineers.”

“I like my role in the music industry. I love writing music and I’m thankful for how easy the process has become for me.  But most of all, I love to be given the opportunity to perform. Put me behind a drum set!  It’s not just an instrument, it’s my favorite way of talking, expressing my emotions, and usually ends up being a therapy session between me and God.”

What’s next for Cole Marcus?

He’s continuing to write songs for other artists, film and commercial projects, but he is most excited about the project he finalized at the #NAMMShow.  He will be starting one of his dream projects: a new series for The Drum Channel. Don Lombardi, founder of DW Drums and calls the Channel the place “where the best drummers and educators in the world come together to teach and perform for you.”  Cole is honored and very excited about getting to work with the DW world.  According to Cole, “The  series will feature various high-profile musicians along with me doing interviews and performances and is currently in production to debut in 2019.”

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