Paula Fairfield • Helly • Faith Benson • The Editors of Drum! • Hannah Welton • Anika Nilles • Emmanuelle Caplette • Didi Negron • Jess Bowen • Senri Kawaguchi • Jordan West • Meytal Cohen • Stella Mozgawa • Val Sepulveda • Yissy Garcia • Camille Bigeault • Vera Figueiredo • Cherisse Osei • Elijah Wood • Natalia Miranda • Hayley Brownell • Paulina Villarreal • Collette Williams • Lindsay Artkop • Lindsey Raye Ward • Kortney Grinwis • Peter Erskine • Aaron Spears • Jeff “Lo” Davis • Dom Famularo • Kaz Rodriguez
Paula Fairfield: Paula Fairfield is an International and Emmy award winning supervising sound editor and sound designer for tv, film, commercials, and basically anything that makes noise. She has eight Emmy nominations with one win for her work on Game of Thrones, along with multiple wins and nominations for her work in both The US and Canada.
Her passion is high concept sound design and her main interest is working with visionary filmmakers, which is clearly reflected in her resume and her background as an artist. But the earliest glimmers of her sonic journey started in her teens when she developed her interest in percussion and drumming. As a percussionist, she was a founding member of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra. As a drummer, she explored as many styles of drumming available to her including pop, rock, jazz, big band, Scottish and marching, and she was in an all female top 40s cover band for a number of years. She sold her drums to go to art school, where she received a BFA from NSCAD University in Halifax, N.S., a decision she partially regrets to this day.
Paula will be debuting her new immersive audio work “Ocean of Tears” in 2018/9. Current projects include “Game of Thrones”, “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” and the upcoming Robert Rodriguez/James Cameron “Angel Battle Alita”, due later this year.
Helly: Helly is a drummer from Venice, Italy. Born in 1994, the 2017 Hit Like A Girl Over-18 Champion started drumming at the age of 6 and, when she was 14, began studying with renowned Italian drummer/teacher Sergio Pescara. By the time she was 15 she was already playing in pubs and clubs with tribute bands and an original death metal project. Today, as she continues to tour, record and teach, Helly also remains committed to improving her drumming and musicianship. She is currently a member of Killin’Baudelaire (alternative metal), The Anunnaki (electronic hardcore), Cattivator Of Death (rave metal). From the end of summer 2017 she started to create her own project, as Helly, a mix of: liquid drum n bass melody, metal drum beats and industrial sound influences. In essence a duality between aggressive drums beats and dark melodic atmosphere. Throughout her drumming career, Helly was able to play with many different musical projects and had the opportunity to travel to several European countries. She is the winner of Hit Like a Girl 2017, the worldwide contest for female. She won many nationals drum contests and performed with famous artists from around the world at drum festivals such as “Drummer Weekend” and the historic drumming Italian event, “La Lunga Notte Della Batteria”. Helly participated in the recording of “The Heisenberg Diaries-Book A”, a sci-fi/progressive rock/metal opera created by Douglas Docker and the metal band Docker’s Guild. This project featured a cast of major international artists including Amanda Somerville, Elize Ryd, Nita Strauss and others.
Faith Benson: Faith Benson is an award-winning, 17-year-old drummer and composer from Hawaii, now based in Los Angeles, CA. From her drumming, to her curly hair, and even her non-stop energy; everything about Faith is big and bold! She started drumming at 12-years-old, and shortly after, she and her three sisters formed the Alt-Pop band, Crimson Apple. Together, they have won many awards, released their debut album, and moved from Hawaii to California to pursue music.
Although Crimson Apple is Faith’s main focus, she is also very excited about writing, composing, and producing her own music, which she publishes to her YouTube channel, “faithndrums”. In 2017, she became the Hit Like A Girl Competition <18 Grand Champion with her own instrumental composition, “Aoi Raion”. Faith has also worked as a session and studio drummer for various artists, including HAPA, Aidan James, and Foreseeable Futures.
Faith is inspired by drummers such as, but not limited to: Anika Nilles, Matt Mcguire, and Steve Smith. She credits her mentor, Arin Ilejay, as her current greatest influence. For more information on Faith Benson: http://www.crimsonappleband.com.
The Editors of Drum!: Nicolas Grizzle is Editor-In-Chief of Drum! magazine. He has played and taught drums in a wide variety of styles for nearly 20 years. He has degrees in music and communications and has been writing about music since long before the days of Internet radio. Anna Pulley is Associate Editor of Drum! magazine. She writes the weekly Woman Crush Wednesday (#WCW) on drummagazine.com.
Hannah Welton: Driven by her lifelong passion for rock and extensive studies in jazz, Hannah Welton has a fascinating history, including her role as the rhythmic backbone of Prince’s 3rdEyeGirl, the legendary artist’s explosive four-piece rock band that also featured Canadian guitarist Donna Grantis and Danish bassist Ida Nielsen. Prince performed with the band until his tragic passing in 2016.
Formerly the drummer and vocalist of the Chicago-based rock trio The Hannah Ford Band, the Milwaukee-based crossover Christian band, Bellevue Suite, and her one-woman inspirational Peace Love & Drums multimedia show, Welton’s versatile performance history covers all styles of music, from pop and rock to jazz. She was a child prodigy who launched her professional career at age twelve by joining a blues band with her trumpet-playing father in the Windy City. Among her many awards she is the only female to win the Louis Bellson Heritage Days Drum Competition (2006).
Born in Louisville, Kentucky Welton took up drums at age 7. Through her school years she studied with some of the world’s greatest drummers and teachers, including Diane Downs (Louisville Leopards), Louie Bellson, Ruben Alvarez, Jerry Steinholtz, Ndugu Chancler, Peter Erskine, Stanton Moore, Danny Seraphine, Johnny Rabb, and multiple GRAMMY® award winner Paul Wertico. Hannah endorses Zildjian, Gretsch, Vater, and Evans products.
Anika Nilles: Anika Nilles is a drummer and songwriter based in Germany. Her first EP, called Alter Ego, was written, recorded and released in 2014. Anika’s music can be classified as a mixture of Pop/Rock/ Fusion, but the most important element in her music is always the groove. Her use of the drum set as an expressive instrument rather than just a rhythm keeper allows for some extravagant playing without stealing the focus away from the music.
Anika’s playing style is distinguished by her strong groove, technical finesse, and her unique sound. This was well received with her world tour in 2015 as she travelled to various countries to share her music, which included performances at both PASIC and the London Drum Show in 2015.In 2016 she busied herself, among other things, with authoring publications for various esteemed drumming journals in the UK, USA and Germany, as well as producing her debut album Pikalar, scheduled for release early in 2017.”
Anika plays Tama drums, Meinl cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, and Evans drumheads.
Emmanuelle Caplette: Emmanuelle Caplette made her debut at age nine joining a local drum and bugle corps in her native Quebec. Ever since, drums have been her life. She won many awards as a young drummer and studied percussion at Drummondville College with Camil Bélisle, later studying at the University of Montreal.
She has performed on numerous TV shows and toured with several different French-Canadian artists in Quebec. She also appeared at major events such as the Cape Breton Drum Festival, The Winnipeg DrumTalk Festival, Drum Ladies Fest in Italy, TamTam Festival And The Bag Show In France.
In 2013 Emmanuelle joined ex-Police guitarist Andy Summers in his band Circa Zero, and since then has toured as musical director with Stephane Rousseau. In 2016 Emmanuelle announced a new venture in online lessons. Emmanuelle endorses Sonor drums, Evans heads, Vic Firth sticks, Sabian cymbals, Roland mixers, and Sennheiser microphones.
Didi Negron: Didi Negron is powerful and versatile drummer who performs with the Cirque du Soleil worldwide touring show Amaluna. She enjoys having an influence on the lives of other drummers and has been a four-time judge of the Hit Like A Girl Contest, In 2015 Didi served as spokesperson for Hit Like A Girl. In addition to her touring work, Didi is a noted drum clinicians.
Didi got her first drum set for Christmas at the age of three. Ever since she sat at that white-pearl kit, no one has been able to get her off the drums. She honed her skills studying under jazz drummer John B from California Drum Shop in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and with Terri Lynne Carrington, Dave DiCenso, and jazz legend Ralph Peterson.
Didi has a versatile creative, style of playing with the ability to fit a variety of styles from rock and jazz to Latin, gospel and reggae. Her self-motivated personality and dedication to music, along with what other musicians describe as a phenomenal ear, have made her in demand. Didi is endorsed by Vater Drum Sticks, Sabian Cymbals, Latin Percussion, Kickport, Gretsch Drums, Cympad and Roland.
Jess Bowen: Jess Bowen is the drummer for the band Summer Set, formed in Arizona in 2006 with brothers John and Stephen Gomez. Summer Set has several well-received albums under their belt plus successful stints on the Warped, AP, and Dirty Work tours, and has had songs featured on shows such as “Dancing With The Stars.” Touring behind their latest album Legendary the band recently has been doing acoustic storytelling sets in addition to their usual high-energy show. Jess grew up in a drum-playing family learning from her dad and an older brother, both of whom played in local bands.
Jess cites as major influences drummers such as Sheila E, Dave Weckl, and Brad Hargreaves (Third Eye Blind). Jess plays SJC drums, Sabian cymbals, Vater sticks and Remo heads.
Senri Kawaguchi: Senri Kawaguchi was a child prodigy in Japan, starting on drums at the age of five and then studying under the famous drum guru Mr. Kozo Suganuma when she was eight years old. She began winning contests and appearing on Japanese TV in 2007. At the age of 12 she started performing with the fusion band Fragile and released a DVD Horoscope. At that time she also posted her first YouTube performances.
In 2013 while still in high school Senri released her first album A La Mode which received positive reviews in Japan. In 2014 she formed a new unit Kiyo*Sen with organist Kiyomi Otaka. Their release Chocolate Booster, also garnered raves. Senri plays Yamaha drums, Evans heads, and Zildjian cymbals and sticks.
Jordan West: Jordan West is a drummer, vocalist, and songwriter based in Los Angeles, CA. She works as a freelancer and studio musician in addition to being a Product Specialist for Roland Drums and Percussion (and a former Hit Like A Girl contestant). On drums, her roots lie in jazz and R&B, but West is comfortable in all genres, from ragtime to progressive rock and everything in between. Her list of favorite drummers includes Steve Gadd, Steve Jordan, Elvin Jones, Mark Guiliana, and Chris Dave. As a songwriter and vocalist, she is driven by emotion, drawing influence from a wide array of musical interests – she listens to everything from Cher to System of a Down to Amy Winehouse to Herbie Hancock. Her original music has been featured on WBKE, WCRD, WBOI, 98.9 The Bear, and Indy In Tune radio stations, among others. She recently won a songwriting contest sponsored by Avid and Sweetwater Sound. In her own group, West utilizes her passions for songwriting, drumming, and singing simultaneously. She is also currently serving as the group’s manager and booking agent. The band’s self-titled album can be found on iTunes and Spotify.
Meytal Cohen: Meytal Cohen is a pioneer music entrepreneur who has gathered millions of followers through her unique online journey, establishing herself as one of the most well known drummers in the world through her YouTube drum videos. Her online video project, which began in 2010, saw Cohen performing drum covers of popular rock and heavy metal songs, and amassing a huge fan base that has resulted in more than 200 million total views. In August 2015, Meytal’s first studio album “Alchemy” was released. Co-produced by Cohen and Sahaj Ticotin, the album peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart, No. 5 on the Hard Rock Albums Chart and No. 7 on the Independent Albums chart. The bands’s second studio album is expected to be released summer of 2018.
Stella Mozgawa: Stella Mozgawa is best known as a member of the indie rock band Warpaint, with whom she has recorded three studio albums. Alongside her work with Warpaint, Mozgawa has contributed to recordings by musicians Kurt Vile, Andy Clockwise, Adam Green, Cate Le Bon, Jagwar Ma, the xx, Tim Presley and Regina Spektor.
Growing up in Sydney, Australia, Mozgawa was raised by her Polish parents, who had moved from Poland to Australia to perform music together as a musical duo. “It would have been totally unnatural for me to not play an instrument in the family. That said, when I told my mum I wanted to play drums, she was like, ‘No f***in’ way!’ We managed to sort things out after that, though”.
Stella began playing the drums at age 13 and was initially influenced by the drummer Zac Hanson from the pop band Hanson. Later, upon joining the band Mink, Stella and her bandmates moved from Sydney to New York City, to pursue their musical career. She befriended Red Hot Chili Peppers bass guitarist Flea, who suggested she move to Los Angeles.
In Los Angeles, Stella befriended Warpaint vocalist and guitarist Theresa Wayman and was subsequently invited to join the band. She was featured in the recording of the band’s first album, The Fool (2010). In 2014, the band released its second studio album, Warpaint, with Stella contributing fully to the songwriting process, followed by Heads Up in 2016. Stella appeared on the cover of the February 2017 issue of Modern Drummer magazine and, in 2018, she placed first in the Experimental Rock category of the Modern Drummer Readers Poll.
Val Sepulveda: I have always felt a special connection with the drums. Even as a little girl I would pick out the drum lines in popular music and keep the beat with my fingers until they would go numb. There is something mesmerizing about the beat, the rhythm, the thread that brings all other music together. I would listen to drum solos from the worlds best drummers and would imagine myself jamming out with the top bands across Europe and in the U.S.
However, it was not until my junior year of high school that my true love affair with the instrument began. One afternoon, I snuck into a drum class at my school and began to goof around. I had not registered for the class, but when the professor saw my interest and passion for the drums, he decided to let me stay. He taught me a basic rock beat, and as much to my surprise as anyone, it came very naturally. I thought to myself, “This is it! This is what I want to do for the rest of my life!!!”
After graduating with my bachelors degree in Drum Performance from the University of Valparaiso in Chile in 2011, I decided to move here to the United States to further pursue my musical career. I have had the pleasure of working with wonderful and talented individuals and groups including Spencer Glenn, Faith Johnson, Kathleen Frewin, Kymberlee, Trauma Mic and The Vibrant Sound, among others.
Currently, I am touring with actor/musician Drake Bell, working as a session drummer with a variety of artists and teaching at Musician’s Institute in Los Angeles.
Yissy Garcia: Drummer/composer Yissy Garcia belongs to the forefront of the new generation of Cuban jazz musicians. Her music shows a mixture of modernism and tradition, captivating both her audience and the critics, who can’t resist the groove of her drum playing. She has shared the stage with some of the greatest of all times, such as Omara Portuondo, Dave Matthews, Roy Hargrove, Horacio “El Negro” Hernández, Jane Bunnett and Joshua Bell. Since 2012 she leads YISSY & Bandancha, a quintet that follows the routes of Latin jazz, funk, electronics and Cuban music, and that recently released their debut album “Última noticia” and their first DVD “Descarga con Bandancha”. She is one of the stars of the acclaimed group Maqueque, comprised of six Cuban women and Canadian saxophonist Jane Bunnett. The group has earned rave reviews in performances across North America .
Camille Bigeault: Camille Bigeault is a 25-year old French drumming sensation from Toulouse, France. Born to musician parents, she started playing drums at 13 and composition, guitar and singing at 15. Later, she studied drums in the conservatory with a great teacher that teaches students many kind of styles: Jazz, fusion, rock, metal, double pedal, drum ‘n’ bass, different time signatures, and various drum techniques. She earned a drums prize at the school and a jazz musicology degree, all while playing with multiple bands, including Xxelles, a female jazz-fusion band, La theorie des cordes, a progressive jazz-rock band, and later with a Genesis tribute band, Genesya. Later, after she posed some of her polyrhythmic-based drumming videos on various social networks she was tapped to play in a rock opera “Le rouge et le noir” and then moved in Paris.
Vera Figueiredo: “From behind the drum set, Vera Figueiredo takes her audience from the Brazilian rainforest into the clubs and concert halls of the world. Jaws dropped at her unique presence, approach, and distinctive licks.” (T. Bruce Wittet, Modern Drummer Magazine).
Nominated by Rhythm Magazine as the “Queen of Samba”, Vera has been a leading ambassador for Brazilian Music by performing at festivals, clinics and masterclasses around the world— appearing at Percfest Memorial Naco, Drum Ladies Fest and Percussive Art Society (Italy), Frankfurt Musik Messe (Germany), The Ultimate Drummers Weekend (Australia), Mendoza International Drum Fest (Argentina), PercuSonidos Festival Internacional de Percusiones (Mexico), AGP Drum Event (Luxembourg), Days of Percussion (Sweden), Drum Fest – Primer Festival Internacional de Batería y Percusión (Chile), Cape Breton International Drum Fest and KOSA (Canada) and PASIC (USA) as well as Brazilian festivals including PAS, Salão da Bateria, I Encontro Percussivo REC-PEC and Girls On Drums.
In 1990, Vera founded the IBVF – Instituto de Bateria Vera Figueiredo, which became one of the most important drum and percussion schools in Brazil. A couple of years later, Vera and IBVF created one of the world’s most remarkable drum and percussion festivals: Batuka! Brasil. Held in São Paulo city since 1996, Batuka! Brasil brings together the top drummers on the planet and has had fourteen festivals and two album releases.
Vera’s popular play-along book Vera Cruz Island – Brazilian Rhythms for Drumset was released by Hudson Music. She endorses Mapex Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Vic Firth Drumsticks, Evans Drumheads, Audix Microphones and Gope Brazilian Percussion.
Cherisse Osei: (bio to come)
Elijah Wood: Elijah Wood has been surrounded by music and the arts since day 1. Elijah’s grandfather was a painter, grandmother a concert pianist, mother, Laura, a professional vocalist, and father, Mark, a violinist and founding member of Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
In 2015, Elijah landed the coveted position as Shania Twain’s new drummer for her Rock This Country arena tour, which encompassed 75 shows in the US and Canada. The tour lasted 6 months, reached over 1 million people, and at its peak was the year’s 4th highest grossing summer tour. The media focused heavily on Elijah as the youngest member of Shania’s band, and a recent feature in Drum Magazine heralds Elijah as a “19 year old stadium veteran.” In 2018, Elijah is gearing up for Shania’s “Now” tour which will last from April to December worldwide.
Elijah has also worked with the likes of Gwen Stefani, Grace Vanderwaal, Kaya Stewart and Jordan Rudess.
Natalia “Moty” Miranda: I am currently the drummer for Mexican pop star Paty Cantú and other independent projects such as Salmerón, MonteCoral, Estefi Áreas and hard rock band Silent Lune. Right now, as part of the clinics I’m doing for Yamaha, we also started a project called “She´s Got The Groove” to attract more female drummers.
Hayley Brownell: Hayley Brownell is a 24 year old musician/drummer based in the Los Angeles area. At a very young age Hayley began playing in a youth percussion group, We Got The Beat, in Fresno, CA. Through this group she was able to meet and play alongside Pete Escovedo, study with legendary hand-percussionist Jerry Steinholtz and play at various events up and down the state of California. She received a degree in music at California State University Northridge in the spring of 2015.
Hayley currently drums and sings for a number of high profile artists including pop vocalists Daya and Cailin Russo, singer-songwriters Doe Paoro and Leah Capelle and LA-based bands ExSage and Pretty Sister as well as for her own group, Ruby Throated. This year, Hayley released her first solo EP “Holy Water”, featuring tracks she composed, arranged, sings and performs entirely by herself.
Paulina Villarreal: Paulina Villarreal started playing piano at a very young age and found her true passion for drums at age 6. She began writing her own music at 9, formed “The Warning” with her sisters when she was 11 and released her first full length album with the band at 15.
Today, at the young age of 16, “Pau” has proven herself as a drumming sensation by playing in front of thousands around the US and Mexico. Since The Warning’s cover of Enter Sandman by Metallica hit millions of views and shares on YouTube and social media, they have appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and received scholarships to Berklee College of Music Day Sessions and 5 Week Summer Program.
Paulina and The Warning have also shared the stage with some of the world’s biggest rock bands, such as Alice Cooper, Def Leppard, Vince Neil, Tesla, Buckcherry, festivals as SXSW, Mother of All and Hell and Heaven. The band is currently working their second album.
Paulina endorses Sabian cymbals and also plays Vic Firth sticks, Remo drumheads and DW drums.
Collette Williams: Collette has over 10 years of professional experience in playing, touring and recording as a multi-instrumentalist; recently voted Top 5 in the 2017 Rhythm Magazine and Music Radar ‘Best New Drummer’ Poll.
Starting out as a session player, she has worked for the likes of Sony, SYCO and Warner Music Group accompanying and supporting their artists. She features in the videos for George Shelley’s (Union J) pop ballad ‘Prove me wrong’ and Gabrielle Aplin’s chart hit ‘Sweet Nothing’.
Most recently, Collette’s main focus has been her London based Rock duo ‘REWS’ who are signed to legendary rock giants; Marshall Records. After recording their debut album ‘PYRO’ at Abbey Road, it was released in November 2017 with critical acclaim, exciting taste makers such as Huw Stephens and Mark Radcliffe. The band have graced festival stages such as Glastonbury, Green Man, The Great Escape and Kendall Calling and are due to embark on their 2018 Spring tour of the UK and Ireland in March.
Collette is a proud endorser of Natal Drums, Zildjian cymbals, Protection Racket cases and is hugely excited to be involved with the 2018 HLAG contest.”
Lindsey Raye Ward: Lindsey Raye Ward is a Los Angeles- based drummer originally residing in Prescott, Arizona. She started playing drums at the age of 9, and has pursued music as her passion ever since. Lindsay is well-known for her YouTube channel where her drum cover of Sia’s hit “Chandelier” has reached more than two million views. She has also performed with artists such as Tayler Buono, Ryan White, Oh, Be Clever, and Mint. She proudly endorses Truth Custom Drums, Vater Drum Sticks, and TRX Cymbals.
Lindsay Artkop: For Lindsay and drums, it was love at first sight since she first saw a drumset in a music store when she was just 6 years old. In 2015, Lindsay won 1st place in Hit Like a Girl, the international competition for female drummers. A year later, Lindsay graduated from Berklee College of Music where she concentrated on Drum Set Performance and Music Business, studying with Bob Gullotti, Dave Dicenso, Ralph Peterson, Kim Plainfield, Henrique De Almeida, Tony Thunder Smith, Jon Hazilla, and Terri Lyne Carrington.
Lindsay is now based in Los Angeles, California. She’s performed with Pop, Rock, Fusion and Jazz artists and also has extensive recording experience, having played drums for TV commercials, TV Show Pilots and music videos.
In 2017, Lindsay traveled to the cities of Dalian, Zhuhai, Macau and Beijing for her 2017 China Drum Clinic Tour, sponsored by 9 Beats Education Institution for Modern Music, and has been giving private Drum Lessons in Los Angeles and via Skype Drum Lessons to drum students all over the world.
Kortney Grinwis: One of the only two members of the hot new Indie-Pop band, Chapel, Kortney brings us into her own diverse world of drumming. Chapel released their debut EP last winter, and spent most of this past year touring with acts such as Sum 41, Pierce The Veil, Good Charlotte, 3OH!3, and Waterparks. Since she was gifted her first kit in 2005, every day since has been a steady grind. From local bands, to international touring, passion is what has driven Kortney through the past 13 years of drumming. Kortney fully endorses Zildjian Cymbals, SJC Custom Drums, and Vic Firth sticks.
Kortney placed 8th place in over 400 contestants in the Hit Like A Girl Contest in 2013 and is excited to inspire other girls to follow their dreams.
Peter Erskine: Peter Erskine has played the drums since the age of four. Since then, he has appeared on 700 albums and film scores, has won two Grammy Awards and received an Honorary Doctorate from the Berklee School of Music (1992).
In addition to the 50-plus albums have been released under his own name or as co-leader, he has performed and recorded with the Stan Kenton and Maynard Ferguson Big Bands, Weather Report, Steps Ahead, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Diana Krall, Kenny Wheeler, Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Brecker Brothers, The Yellowjackets, Pat Metheny, Gary Burton and John Scofield.
Peter’s drumming can be heard on film scores including “Memoirs of a Geisha,” all three of the Austin Powers movies, “The Secret Life of Pets,” plus the title music of the Steven Spielberg/John Williams collaboration, “The Adventures of Tintin.” He also played the jazz drumming cues on the Academy Award-winning soundtrack for “La La Land,” and can be heard playing on the scores for “Sing,” “Logan” and “House of Cards.”
Peter produces jazz recordings for his record label, Fuzzy Music, and is an active author with several books to his credit; titles include “No Beethoven (Autobiography & Chronicle of Weather Report),” “Time Awareness for All Musicians,” “Essential Drum Fills,” and his latest book (co-authored with Dave Black for Alfred Publishing), “The Drummers’ Lifeline.” He is also authoring a series of iOS Play-Along apps suitable for all instruments.
Peter was voted ’Best Jazz Drummer of the Year’ ten times by the readers of Modern Drummer magazine and was elected into the magazine’s Hall of Fame in 2017. He is the Director of Drumset Studies at the Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California. Peter plays Tama Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Remo Drum Heads, Meinl Percussion, and uses Shure Microphones and Zoom digital recording devices.
Aaron Spears: Aaron Spears’s love for music began in the Church of God and Christ – a pentecostal church in Washington, DC where he went with his parents as an infant. At about two, three years of age, Aaron was already waving his drumsticks in the air at church. The first time Aaron was able to play without sitting on anyone’s lap was at the age of five.
Aaron’s development as a musician can be mainly credited to the music he listened and ultimately played along with— Gospel artists like The Winans, Commission, The Hawkins, and Hezekiah Walker. As he grew older, Aaron began shifting his attention to some of the best groove and jazz-fusion drummers on the planet, drummers like Vinnie Colaiuta, Dennis Chambers, Dave Weckl and Steve Gadd.
At twenty-three years old Aaron accepted the invitation and joined the Gideon Band. Aaron’s next big break came in 2003 when Valdez Brantley, Usher’s musical director, became interested in Aaron’s drumming and invited him to audition and ultimately join Usher’s band.
Since joining Usher, Aaron has won the Modern Drummer Reader’s Poll award for “Best Up and Coming Drummer” and taken part in the Gospel Summit at the 2006 Modern Drummer Festival. Aaron’s long list of touring and recording credits includes: Gideon Band, Chrisette Michelle, Chamilionaire, David Cook, Joanne Rosario, Lil Wayne, Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks, Chaka Khan, Adam Lambert, Israel Houghton, Usher, and The Backstreet Boys. Aaron has also worked with Alicia Keys as a drummer for the American Idol tour and he is currently playing with pop superstar Ariana Grande.
Aaron Spears’s endorses Zildjian, Remo, DW, and Vic Firth. His 2-disc DVD, 2-DVD “Aaron Spears – Beyond The Chops: Groove, Musicality and Technique” is available through Hudson Music.
Jeff “Lo” Davis: Jeff “Lo” Davis is one of gospel music’s most recorded drummers, maintaining first-call status for live and studio sessions since the 1980s. His album credits include the debut recordings of some of the genre’s biggest stars, including Kirk Franklin, Vickie Winans, Richard Smallwood, and Hezekiah Walker. As one of the first drummers to cross over from gospel to hip-hop and R&B, Davis is the pioneer of a playing style that has made its way around the world in pop and other forms. His influence is far reaching, and his tasteful, solid, innovative drumming can be heard in the playing of many of today’s most well-known Gospel, R&B, Hip-Hop and Pop drummers.
Dom Famularo: Dom Famularo has been traveling the globe preaching the gospel of drumming for over 40 years. An intense performer, Dom is one of the most respected solo drum artists in the world, with a career built solely upon his unique skills as a drummer, educator, author and motivational speaker.
He has presented master classes and clinics around the globe in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Columbia, Venezuela, Uruguay, Peru, England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Austria, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Poland, Denmark, Russia, Israel, Serbia, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Costa Rica, Honduras, Puerto Rico, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, Canary Islands and South Africa.
He has directed and emceed major drumming expos around the world, and has been one of drumming’s most sought-after private instructors for over 40 years. Students regularly fly in from around the globe for intensive study with Dom…currently teaching over 1,000 students from over 20 countries at his WizDOM Drumshed studio in NY. A major player in the percussion industry, Dom acts as Education consultant for Sabian Cymbals, Promark Sticks, Mapex Drums, Evans Drumheads, Hudson Music Publications, Wizdom Media for whom he oversees programs worldwide.
Currently Dom continues to travel intensively while working on several drum educational products as well as his series of motivational books.
Kaz Rodriguez: Based on London, Kaz Rodriguez is internationally known as a touring and session drummer, educator and composer. His play-along tracks are among the most popular and most covered in the world and have been featured in recent YouTube videos of leading drummers such as Aaron Spears, Anika Nilles, Chris Coleman, Gerald Heyward and many more.