Meet The YDOTY Final Ten!

The Final Ten..!

The following drummers are those who will be going to Leamington Spa on 4th February for the final of Young Drummer Of The Year 2018! So here they are, telling us a little about themselves. If you want to see what sort of standard YDOTY is, check out the videos of last years finalists at the bottom of the page…

Calvin Davidson

I’m from Kirkcaldy in the Kingdom of Fife (which is across the water from Edinburgh). I recently turned 15 and have been playing drums since I was 12 years old.

I began drumming as my Dad is also a drummer and I was fortunate enough to be able to use his kit which is set up in a soundproofed “shed” in the back garden

Some drummers which have inspired me are Mario Duplantier, Chad Smith and Joey Jordison but even with these drummers having a predominately metal sound, I play in a jazz/funk band and also with a few bands that have been borne from my local YMCA which I attend twice a week.

At the YMCA I help Robbie Davidson (guitarist with The Exploited) out with drum lessons, in return for all the help and support he has given me with my drumming.

My family and friends are always praising me about my playing, but to be recognised as being good enough to make it to the final of The Young Drummer of the Year 2018 means that someone else has recognised my passion for playing drums and that means the world to me.

Dillon Harrison

I’m 15 years old and from Halifax, West Yorkshire and have been playing the drums since the age of six.

My first teacher was Jack Nicholson with whom I passed my Rockschool Grade 8 in 2012. In 2013 I was a winner of the DrumOffTV online drumming competition and was a finalist in Young Drummer of the Year in 2014.

Over the past four years I have been having lessons at the Halifax Drum School with Martin Davies which I’m really enjoying and whose teaching expertise and performing experience I’m benefitting greatly from.

I play in the school big band, concert band and soul band and have performed as a percussionist at the Royal Albert Hall, London as part of the BBC School Proms. I have found myself getting more work recently, and have a fair amount of experience playing professional gigs. Over the past year I have focused in particular on my jazz playing. Drummers that I am currently inspired by include Mark Guiliana, Marcus Gilmore and Tony Williams. I am delighted to be a finalist again in this year’s Young Drummer of the Year competition and I look forward to performing and meeting the other finalists.

Iestyn Jones

I am 16 and from Powys, Mid Wales

I’ve been playing this instrument for 9-10 years and some of my favourite drummers are Thomas Pridgen, Billy Rymer, Mikey Sorbello, Steve White, Fred Boswell Jr.

The biggest gig I’ve had was to open for Steve White at his North Wales Drum Clinic, which was an unreal experience! I’ve been gigging with my two bands: Dread, who are a two piece noise rock band, and Brexit HC, who are a politically satirical rap metal band for a few years now, and we’ve played in different pubs, bars and clubs in various towns.

As well as those gigs, I’ve filled in for another high school’s jazz band numerous times, and played with one or two function bands and many jamming nights in local pubs. I also won a part in a Welsh Rock band competition for S4C in 2016 and won the Urdd National Eisteddfod Percussion Solo Under 19 competition in May 2017.

I have been taught by two teachers, my first teacher was Brian Stone who taught me for 6 years until he retired, and my current teacher Darren Jones has been teaching me for around 3 years. Darren is a great teacher and I believe it’s with him that my drumming really started to push forward. In addition, when I made it to Yamaha’s #Futurebeat final, each finalist was given masterclasses by Steve White, Andrew Small and Mikey Sorbello whose knowledge is priceless.

To make it to the final of this competition means the world. It’s prestigious and good things can come from it if you meet the right people and make the right impression. I am looking forward to meeting the judges, the other nine contestants, and to play some drums! I don’t think anyone from Wales has ever made it to the final before, so I would like to show people what a lad from a small Welsh village can do!

Jeremiah Joshua Wallace

I’m Jeremiah Joshua Wallace and I started playing drums when I was 2 years old and since then have never given up the passion I have for it. I really started my playing in church which gave me and ability to play with other musicians from a very early age.

My drumming influences have changed during the course of my life but I have always been a fan of drummers such as Tony Taylor Jr and I have also been heavily influenced by Nate Smith. For me these two drummers have influenced different elements of my playing, from my groove feel to my chops. I gained grade 8 when I was 13 years old and since then have been studying more about unique styles of music stretching from jazz to hip hop and funk.

I have been involved in various musical events and bands which has allowed me to enhance my ability to play alongside other musicians. I am in my school jazz band which is not only fun but a good learning experience in keeping a groove and allowing room for other musicians. I have also recently been involved in the Hertfordshire Youth Gospel Choir which has been an excellent experience and a wonderful opportunity to highlight the music I enjoy. In everything that I do musically I am really well supported by my family and music teachers who are always there to give me guidance.

Being a part of the Young Drummer of the Year competition really means a lot to me as it is an event which I have worked really hard to be a part

Louise Honeyman,

I’m Louise and I’m 15 from Swindon

At the age of 7 I picked up a pair of drumsticks and began drum lessons, as I had always wanted to play them ever since I could remember. My first drum teacher, Gerry Hunt, who has sadly passed away, made me fall in love with playing the drums and I have not looked back since. I am currently taught by Douglas Mussard as well as teaching myself songs, grooves and fills. I have been involved in a handful of recital evenings and competitions at school and some improvisatory gigs in my own time, including one in my uncle’s pub.

I am very open-minded and I strive each day to learn and immerse myself in different styles of music to improve my playing. My drum influences include: Benny Greb, Anika Nilles, Jojo Mayer, Dennis Chambers, Mark Guiliana, Gavin Harrison, David Garibaldi and Stanley Randolph.

I cannot even put into words as to how privileged and excited I am to be given this opportunity in the final to play amongst other amazing drummers and professional musicians, as it has always been a dream of mine to get into drum industry and make a sustainable career

Mark Zanker

My name is Mark, I am 16, and I’m from Glenfield in Leicester. I started playing drums from the age of six when my parents bought me a junior drum kit for Christmas. I started having lessons from the age of 8 and have progressed through my grades, taking my first Grade 2 at the age of 10, and completing Grade 8 with a Distinction at the age of 15. I have also been in a rock band formed with friends from school since the age of 11. We have performed in school but also have done gigs and festivals in and around Leicester.

I now attend Leicester College doing a Level 3 Performing Musician Diploma, where I am now in a further two bands. I am hoping to go onto University as I would really like to pursue a career as a professional drummer.

My favourite drummers are; Benny Greb, Thomas Lang, and Eric Moore.

I was amazed to find out I had made the finals. It means a lot to me because I think it is going to be a great opportunity for me get noticed for my drumming, and I also think it will be a great experience. It has also made me  a more confident player, and it has inspired me to practice more. It has made me realise that with lots of hard work and dedication it might be possible for me to full fill my ambition to be a professional drummer.

Nathan Shingler

Hi, my name is Nathan Shingler and I am 15 years old. I live in Abbots Bromley, which is a small village in Staffordshire. I’ve been playing drums for 9 years, and my favourite drummers are Benny Greb, Aaron Spears and Larnell Lewis.

I play in several bands, and I gig with these bands at least 2 or 3 times a month. I play in the Derby ‘Hot House’ Big Band, County rock band ‘Rockit’, Burton Youth Jazz Orchestra and the school swing band and jazz ensemble. I’ve played in ‘Hot House’ for over a year now and we’ve recorded a Christmas CD and are now preparing for a tour in America in October 2018. With ‘Hot House’ I play songs by Gordon Goodwin, Doc Severisen, Buble and Maynard Ferguson as well as drum features which include Buddy Rich’s West Side Story Medley.

I study drums with 2 teachers – Jon Broberg for the last 7 years and with Dan Priest for the past 2 years. Both my teachers have been central to developing my playing and advancing it. For the last 4 years, I’ve made it into the top 40 of YDOTY and finally getting into the top 10 is an honour.

I want drumming to be my career, and being in the final will be a massive stepping stone for my playing and how my career will go. It will give me the chance to mix with some other incredible drummers and to network. I feel like my career starts at the final, playing in front of that calibre of judges and number of people is great exposure and could open different options for me. So, I am extremely happy and excited to be in the final, and I can’t wait to see you there.

Robbie Hicks

Im 14 years old and from Scunthorpe and have been playing for 4 and a half years.

I started in the North Lincolnshire training band but have since then progressed to become a part of the North Lincolnshire jazz rock and youth concert band. This has allowed me to have the pleasure of performing at theatres such as The Baths Hall, Plowright Theatre and most recently The Royal Albert Hall during the BBC proms which have all contributed to the improvement in not only my confidence but also my drumming ability

In school I am part of the Frederick Gough School jazz band and senior band. I also like to go to the Lincoln Imp Pub jam sessions whereby I can improve my musical ear by playing to songs I have not heard before as well as playing along with other styles of instruments and musicians.

My teacher is Derek Lunn who teaches me the reading side of music while I like to teach myself at home with the aid of videos featuring my favourite drummers, who are Matt Gartska, Luke Holland and Eric Moore

This competition means a lot to me as it brings my dream of becoming a professional drummer closer to reality. I am very thankful to be given this opportunity. Being a part of this competition allows me to meet other great drummers whom have the same interest as myself.

James Armfield

My name is James Armfield, I’m 16 years old and I’m from Easton, Suffolk. I started playing drums at the age of 10, and took up lessons at Planet Music, Martlesham, with my teacher Phil Green.

Over my time playing, many drummers have influenced my style and my technique. In particular, my inspirations stem from Benny Grab with his feel and groove, with Chris Coleman’s power and control also being factors. I also take massive inspiration from Gavin Harrison, due to his technical abilities and originality.

In relation to gigs, I play on a weekly basis in a band The Getaway and have performed in a number of different venues over the past year. I also recently achieved a distinction in my grade 8 exam and after reaching the final last year, I’m ecstatic to have reached it once more.

I’m really looking forward to the final of this year’s competition and the opportunities it may bring!

Lyle Burton

I am 16 years old and am from Market Harborough in Leicestershire. I have been playing drums for roughly 5 years.

My exposure to music started from a very early age, at around 3 years old. With my family being musical, I was surrounded by performers and instrumentalists my whole childhood. This really gave me a subconscious love for music before I even knew how to play any instruments. I started with Piano at about the age of 5 and started learning music theory and discovered my passion for rhythm. I got my first kit at age 12 and loved it and have never looked back since.

I currently play with my school’s jazz and soul bands which opens me up to multiple genres of music. We have performed in concerts across Europe and also several private functions, giving me lots of performing experience.

Over the past year I have been studying jazz, challenging myself through studying the greats and learning the nuances of the genre.

Currently my main influences are drummers such as Mark Guiliana, Carter McLean, Brian Blade, Gregory Hutchinson and Buddy Rich who have all helped inspire my ideas behind the kit.

I was lucky enough to get in to the final last year and reaching it again really means a lot to me, as it also helps motivate me to keep improving and practice more.

To see the sort of standard you can expect at YDOTY 2018, you can see all the finalists performances from last year by clicking here…

For more information about Young Drummer Of The Year, please watch this…

The final will be held at the Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa on Sunday 4th February 2018. Doors are at 1.15pm for a 2.00pm start.

Tickets are only £11 and £9 for concessions, and are available by following this link 


By | 2018-01-14T23:47:17+00:00 January 15th, 2018|Categories: Features|Comments Off on Meet The YDOTY Final Ten!
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