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Meet The Final 10 YDOTY 2016 Entrants

Amnol Mohara 15

I am Anmol Mohara from a small town in Hampshire called Aldershot where I go to school and practise playing everyday with my drum teacher Daniel Mullowney.

I don''t know where to begin when I want to explain my love for drums. There has been no beginning or end of the passion that runs through me when I hear the sound of a beating drum or the sound of a cymbal being struck. But I can talk about the day I held my first pair of drumsticks. I was eight years old, then still living in Nepal and I had already explored my passion for being a percussionist. Having played a few other instruments it was not new to me but it was the best thing to ever happen to me.

I am 15 and I hope to make something of myself in the music industry when I get older. Dave Weckl has always been my inspiration ever since I discovered my taste of music. I follow his footsteps carefully and try to play as well as he does. Likewise Benny Greb, Anika Nilles, Matt Garstka, Gavin Harrison, Carter Beauford and Chris Coleman are also some drummers I listen to.

Nepal is my birthplace and the home to where Nepal Music Centre is. This is the school that brushed up my drumming skills to make me a better player and a better person. Most of what I have learned is from here and I will always be thankful to this institution for making me a great achiever in the Rock School Exam Board, achieving a Grade 8 with a 97 percent score.

Making it to the finals of this competition is a really big achievement for me. Having played in a few smaller venues before I feel overwhelmed with joy because taking part in this competition and making it to the finals gives me an opportunity to get recognized and to show the talent that I have to a larger amount of people. It gives me great joy to know that my talent has been appreciated greatly and I hope to win the competition by giving my best.

John Holbrook 16

From Hull, East Yorkshire.

I have been playing drums for five years; in that time I have been involved in playing for a number of bands and artists of varying genres. Currently, I am working on building my musicianship, playing with as many musicians as possible, as well as working on my stylistic playing and bringing my reading up to a high standard.

I have had two teachers over the past five years; Martin Hyde and Mark Knight at my local drum store. Earlier this year I passed my Grade 8 with a distinction; this has led me to recently becoming an educator myself, a newly found passion of helping both others and myself progress.

In the future my dream is to become a professional session musician, I am very proud to once again be in this yearís final 10 after having the pleasure of taking part in the last two years. This year I plan to bring all I have to the competition.

My Influences include Chris Coleman, Mike Johnston, Benny Greb and Thomas Pridgen, all of which Iíve had the pleasure of meeting over the last year, including playing onstage with Chris Coleman at one of his UK clinics.

Jonno Gaze 16

Rhythm has been my passion for as long as I can remember, particularly influenced by African and tribal rhythms. My parents found my first set at a dump which was an 80s Remo Junior PTS kit, and has recently become my kit again as it has a great bop sound.

During 2014/15 I fell out of the scene as I struggled to find musicians to play with; this past summer I realised I had lost a way of expression so I returned to playing and have been developing my sound since. With my drum teacher, Iím discovering whatís inside of me and what wants to pour out on the drum set. Iím exploring how emotionally involved I can become in my playing, and how I can mean everything I play.

I have always been a huge admirer of Steve Jordan, along with Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes, Buddy Rich, Questlove, Steve Gadd, Chris Dave and Tony Williams. I would say these are, at the moment, the drummers I listen to the most.

Iím thankful and excited to be in the final ten and to be a part of a drumming community.

Joseph Solomon 16

My name is Joseph Solomon. I currently live in the London borough of Lewisham.

My passion for music started off by mimicking different drum sounds at the age of 1 and ever since then, my parents knew I had an ear for music. I first laid my hands on a drum kit at the age of 3, and ever since then, Iíve always admired the instrument and also loved the sound of it.

I started off playing the drum kit in church and itís been my background until this very day. I am heavily influenced by a lot of drummers but my main influences are, Calvin Rodgers, Tony Royster Jr and Dennis Chambers. Other influences are Eric Moore, Aaron Spears, and Jerome Floods II.

I have recently been privileged to perform alongside great musicians like the drummer Laykay Dada, my mentor Michael Afuape, who have helped me develop to where Iím at in this present time of my music career, and Iím forever grateful for the support given. Iíve also been fortunate to perform at the Festival of Life, which is held twice a year at the Excel Exhibition Centre. Iíve also been honoured to perform at several occasions and gospel events in the past year.†

The news of hearing that I made the top ten young drummers really humbled me, and Iím looking forward to showing my talent to the world and also meet great musicians along the way in my music career.

Michael Obrike

Born and brought up in Reading, Berkshire, Michael started drumming when he was a year old. Michael is a self-taught drummer and just has the passion for drumming and the ear for music.† He got a complete drum kit at three years, by now he was able to accompany most genres of music ranging from reggae to rock. Michael has featured in charity events organised by Macmillan Cancer Research.† He appeared in the local papers (Get Reading) when he drummed at a concert to raise funds for a boy that suffered from Cerebral Palsy.†

In 2014 when we moved to Swindon, Michael met his current drum tutor Douglas Mussard who suggested that he should enter Young Drummer of the Year as a short term goal; he arranged everything to record his audition video and amongst developing his skills Douglas has been teaching him to read music. He also auditioned for a gospel band in Swindon and he remains the youngest member of the band.†

His main inspirations are Tony Royster and Anthony Barnes.† Being in the finalist is a dream come true as Michael is very passionate about drumming. When Michael is not drumming in a band, he is busy playing for the junior Swindon Town Football Club, Robins.

Noah Warnes 16

Hi, my nameís Noah, and I live near Dorchester, Dorset. Iíve been playing the drums since a very early age. I love listening to different genres of music, taking inspiration from a wide variety of drummers. Led Zeppelin quickly became my favourite band when I was around 10 - I found John Bohnamís insane triplets and powerful grooves incredibly appealing. I later went through a phase of playing lots of samba grooves on the drum kit, inspired by my drum teacher. I now listen to, and play, mainly metal; my favourite band being Meshuggah. I also play in a thrash metal band, ĎGornad0í† with my friends at school.

I played snare in the Magic Drum Orchestra until it sadly disbanded in the summer. We played many venues,† including the Electric Palace Theatre (Bridport) and the Larmer Tree and Womad Festivals. More recently I have played for boogie pianist Ben Waters.

My biggest drumming influences include John Bonham, Tomas Haake, Matt Garstka, Jojo Mayer, Daney Carey, and of course my drum teacher Ralph Cree.

Iíve had a Roland TD12 for the last 7 years, but Iím saving up for an acoustic kit at the moment. In 2014 I passed my Grade 8 Drum Kit (Rockschool) with Distinction; and Iím now studying for my level 4 performance diploma. I also play guitar and tank drum.

Making it to the final means a lot to me, Itís really encouraging to know that other drummers value my playing and feel. Iím really honoured to be considered amongst these exceptional musicians, and I''m hoping to make new friends and pick up some tips along the way!

Oliver Spackman 16

I have been taught by Cath Evans in Norwich for seven years and perform in a variety of groups and bands at school and at other events. I am a full member of the Aldeburgh Young Musicians at Snape Maltings where we meet for weekends and week-long courses with professional musicians to compose, explore and perform all genres of music with a huge range of instrumentation and styles.

I have also recently performed in the band for a weekís run of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Norwich Playhouse as well as West Side Story for school. I recently had the opportunity to play with Led Bib at the London Jazz Festival.

My favourite drummers are Robert ďSputĒ Searight, Peter Erskine, Tony Royster Jnr

In the future I would like to widen my range of music styles and be able to further develop my musicality. Hopefully this shall lead me into a professional career as a musician, playing for a band or in studios. Being in the final of YDOTY means a lot to me because it gives me a huge opportunity to perform to a large audience who are interested in drumming, and publicise myself to professionals in the music business.

Toby Ollis-Brownstone 16

I live near Stratford-upon-Avon. I have loved drums for as long as I can remember and I started having lessons when I was six.† My first teachers were Danny at Charles Laird Drums and Tom from the County Music Service, who taught me through my primary school years. I started taking grades with Mark Jessop from the Musical Box and am currently studying with Paul Hose in Nottingham. All my teachers have been brilliant and I wouldnít be here without them.

Iíve played in many different groups including the orchestra and big band at school, and the county jazz orchestra and percussion ensemble. I am a member of Stratford Rock School and also gig with an indie/rock covers band which has recently starting producing original material.

I listen to a diverse range of music, which spans metal to jazz, but Iím a big rock fan. My favourite drummers are Dave Grohl, Ash Soan, and Eddy Thrower, but Iím also heavily influenced by Matt Halpern, Ben Thatcher and Mike Johnston.

Last year I came to YDOTY just to watch and support the event, and it seems unreal that this year Iíll be on the stage! I donít know whether I can make it as a professional drummer, which is my dream, but getting into the final has been a huge confidence boost! It will be great to meet the judges and other finalists, and Iím sure Iíll come away from the event having gained invaluable experience.

Tom Potter 15

I''m from Glasgow, and started weekly drum lessons at Rhythm Base in Glasgow when I was 10. †I have been successful in getting to the finals twice before and I am hoping in 2016 it may be third time lucky! Since last years final I have played a lot more live gigs, mostly jazz-based with both the Williams Jazz Quartet and NJOS (National Jazz Orchestra of Scotland). My experiences with NYJOS improved my playing ability as a jazz and funk drummer.†

I love to play different styles of drumming and play in a covers/original band called Bad Jeff, as well as being in various different bands at school. My influences are still the likes of Gavin Harrison, Jojo Mayer and Mark Guiliana. My biggest event so far was supporting Thomas Lang at a drum clinic in the O2 ABC in Glasgow which I really loved.

I''m taught by Jamie McGrory of Loud ''n'' Proud School of Rock, who improves my abilities by pushing my skills further all the time to make me a better player. I feel lucky to be taught such diverse styles.

Competing in Young Drummer of the Year last year has given me lots more confidence and getting into the final 10 again is something I''m very proud of. I love meeting the other contestants as well as the judges it gives me great experience and contacts to progress my drumming towards a full time career.

Zoe Pascal 14

Zoe Pascal is a†London based young drummer who has been playing since the age of five. He was Soultoneīs youngest UK endorser at 11 years old, a Vater artist at 13, and was in the final 10 of YDOTY 2015 and now 2016.

His favourite drummers are Adam Nussbaum and Dennis Chambers.

He''s also growing a profile in the Youth Jazz London scene as a member of two prestigious jazz talent development programmes: Junior Jazz Academy at the Royal Academy of Music mentored by Gareth Lockrane, and drummer of the Tomorrow''s Warriors talent development programmes mentored by Gary Crosby. Past teachers are Shane Forbes (Empirical) and Rod Youngs (Jazz Jamaica). His concert schedule include concerts at London prestigious venues like Southbank Center with Tomorrow''s Warriors, but also International tours with Theo Pascal & Carmen Souza.

To get your tickets for the final on Sunday February 7th at the Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, call the box office on 01926 334418 or log onto

Doors open at 1pm and the show starts at 2pm

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