Cole Rolland is a 29-year-old Canadian guitarist from Ontario. He started teaching himself to play the guitar when he was 10. When he was 15, he posted a video on YouTube that went viral. As Cole tells it, he posted a cover of Through the Fire and Flames by DragonForce “right in the peak hype of Guitar Hero III”. He thought nothing of it until a school friend ran up to him and said: “Man! Your video has over 100,000 views. That’s insane.” Understandably, Rolland continued to upload videos.
After school, Rolland studied chemistry before taking on a position in Sarnia (Ontario’s “Chemical Valley”). All the while he kept up with his near weekly YouTube uploads. This required real dedication as, not long after he started to post online, Rolland began constructing his own backing tracks rather than relying on the generic downloads favoured by many YouTube instrumentalists. Here is Rolland’s most popular YouTube upload, Canon Rock (26M views in four years):
Speaking of Canon Rock, Rolland says: “Canon Rock is a very special video for me. I remember watching a creator by the name of FunTwo post his cover of Canon Rock around 2006. It quickly became the first viral guitar video on the internet, inspiring many musicians, including myself.” Canon Rock is Taiwanese guitarist/composer Jerry Chang’s rock interpretation of Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D. The piece only became popular after South Korean guitarist Lim Jeong-hyun (FunTwo) posted his cover.
After the FunTwo version went viral, both versions made headlines around the world, including in the New York Times and on Television news broadcasts. According to Wikipedia, there are thousands of covers of Cannon Rock on YouTube. Cole says his cover is a “reimagined version” of the original, “with my own production and personal twists.” kkkk-gq1pw comments, “I’ve heard a lot of Cannon Rocks, but I think this one is by far the best.” Here is Cole Rolland’s latest original music release, Echo:
Guitar World has written that Rolland “built his brand posting dazzlingly accurate guitar covers and phenomenal six-string reinventions of classical pieces.” It was only a matter of time before he started releasing original material, starting with the Passenger EP in 2020. Ignite, released late in 2021, was his completely original track to feature his vocals.
Cole Rolland says that his latest single, Echo (uploaded 30 June 2023), is about “how Tech is continually evolving and has the potential to just numb people. It gives us constant distractions that make it hard to even realize that you’re in the distraction bubble, when you’re really in the thick of it. The song is about trying to realise that you’re trapped in that and and about searching for that way out”.
Due to the success of his social media-based music success, Rolland has quit his job at the Sarnia chemical production plant and has moved to Los Angeles, California, to work with rising music producer Zach Jones.
Cole Rolland has a signature Kiesel guitar series (Cole Rolland DC600C Midnight and Moonlight signature guitars) and has been endorsed by, and partnered with, other equipment manufacturers including Lewitt Microphones. He has performed with the EDM/dance-pop duo Krewella and the Grammy-nominated acts ILLENIUM and Adventure Club, amongst others.
Cole Rolland is clearly a musician to watch out for. The Music Man wishes him well on his musical journey. If you would like to see more from Cole Rolland, you can subscribe to his YouTube channel or follow him on Facebook or Instagram.