By Jeri Ballard —
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and Cole Walowac, a Washington D.C. native, didn’t know which to take: the assured but boring career path or to follow his dreams combining music and ministry.
He was two years out of high school, not holding a job, making music with his church friend, Jon White, under the band name “Capital Kings.” They were doing something completely unique: Christian electronic dance music. Prior to the Capital Kings, pretty much all EDM was secular and played at the raves — all night dance parties renowned for ecstasy consumption.
Cole liked the music, not the drug abuse.
He was living at home on mom and dad’s tab seemingly endlessly. Finally, his parents delivered an ultimatum: Cole needed to do something productive with his life. He needed to grow up, move out and be responsible.
It was a frightening prospect because music was his passion and he hadn’t figure out how to make money at it. Some friends encouraged him to move to the Christian music capital of the nation: Nashville.
“We took a leap of faith and did it,” Walowac says on a This is Me video. “I just trusted God was leading me a whole other direction in my life. Doubt is like a disease. Even if you don’t see results immediately, it will lead to something good eventually if you work hard.”
The duo signed a record deal with Gotee Records and released an eponymous album in 2013, which charted in the Top 5 of Christian Albums on Billboard. The Houston Chronicle noted that no other Christian EDM met with so much crossover success. Toby Mac, Mandisa and Group 1 Crew all took note and started collaborations.
“Musically, EDM is very youthful. I think it’s just so creative and collaborative,” Walowac says. “I think people believe somebody needs to be singing the whole time. I think its cool how people come together and just celebrate life. Almost every song on the radio is how they’re going through a crisis in life. I feel like no one is catering to the time when you really feel alive. People connect with that.”
White abandoned the group on tour in 2016, and he was replaced by Dylan Housewright. In 2018, Housewright left he band because his wife was having a baby, and Capital Kings went on indefinite hiatus. Cole began working on production, working with rapper Aaron Cole, Toby Mac, Hollyn and NF.
“I try to live by not my own understanding but what I think God is telling me. I’m by no means a preacher, but I do know that I believe in God,” Cole says. “God has blessed us all with a talent or a passion. It’s when you find your calling and pursue that that you will find true happiness in life. That’s the only way you’re going to make a difference in other people’s lives.”
Jeri Ballard studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Los Angeles.