News & Events Young Drummer of the Year

The Young Drummer of the Year competition has become an integral part of the UK drum communities calendar, it's rapid evolution since 2002 has inspired thousands of aspiring drummers around the isles to arm themselves with their sticks and put their dedication and study to the test, always closely watched by industry professionals to discover the future stars of tomorrow.

2013 welcomes the 11th YDOTY event and is the second time that sponsorship and cymbal support comes from Paiste UK.

As loyal followers of the competition we are hugely excited to be working with Mike again and are hoping to help make this years the best yet. 


So lets meet the ten finalists of Young Drummer Of The Year 2013. They will all be performing at the final on Sunday February 3rd 2013 at the Spa Center in Leamington Spa.

Siôn Gwilym Roberts (16)

I live in Llangefni, on the island of Ynys Môn (Anglesey), north Wales.

I love playing the drums - it all started when I had my first toy drum kit for Christmas when I was five years old. I now receive lessons from a peripatetic drum teacher in school.

To date, I’ve performed at the Royal Albert Hall with a local youth choir, recorded a Welsh folk dance album, have appeared on a kids TV programme and play for the school concerts etc. I am a member of the nationally acclaimed Beaumaris Brass Band and of the Anglesey and Gwynedd Youth Jazz Band.

As well as drumming I enjoy playing the guitar and Welsh folk/clog dancing and have performed in festivals all over Europe. 

My favourite drummers are Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, Benny Greb, Johnny Rabb, Thomas Lang and Marco Minnemann.

I like playing funk, blues, jazz, Latin, rock and hip hop styles.

I’d love to be a professional drummer, so being in the final means so much to me. It will be a great experience and will boost my confidence a great deal.

Paul Youngs (16)

I am from Lowestoft in Suffolk.  I have been playing drums for the last seven years and passed my Rock School Grade 8 with distinction around a year ago.  I am currently having lessons with Tom Eagle, who has been my drum teacher for about five years.

Musically speaking my passion is for progressive rock.  Hence my favourite drummers and influences include Mike Portnoy, Mike Mangini and Gavin Harrison. I currently play in two bands: “The Fever Kings” and “The Gift”.  The former is still in the early stages and mostly playing covers, but is now beginning to write original material.  The latter is mostly original material.  Both bands play rock, and are beginning to gig more regularly, which we all love to do.

I also play in the worship band at my church on a regular basis and have been in the band for a number of school musical productions.

It is amazing and means a great deal to me to have reached the final 10 of the Young Drummer of The Year competition: it is something that I never expected and am very grateful to have been given the opportunity of. It will be an excellent experience and I very much look forward to taking part, doing my best and having some fun with it.

Callum Edwards (15)

I have been playing the drums for seven years. Music in general is a big part of my life, whether it's listening to music, performing it or watching other musicians perform it.

Many drummers influence me. Everything from the technicality and ambidextrous playing of Mike Mangini, the chops of Aaron Spears, the groove of Chad Smith, right down to the simple and powerful playing of Roger Taylor.

Other influences include the enthusiastic and keen head of music teacher at my school, Mr Craig Smith who has provided many great opportunities over the years, my first drum teacher, Mike Evans, who started it all off and my current drum teacher, Jamie McGrory.

I currently play in various musical groups at School, I play at my local church and I also I play in the local Pipeband, 1st Largs BB Pipes and Drums.

Young Drummer of the Year is a fantastic thing to be part of and I really look forward to seeing what opportunities it brings!"

Oscar Ogdens (13)

I first picked up a pair of sticks aged six and haven’t stopped tapping and banging since.

My drumming influences are very varied and as I grow older I discover new inspirational musicians almost on a weekly basis. The first drummer I remember thinking 'Wow! I’d love to be able to play like that!' was Chad Smith and he remains one of my favourite drummers along with Stanton Moore, Benny Greb and, more recently, Manu Katche, to name a few. I was lucky enough to play along side Chad many years ago in Oldham whilst attending a Steve White and Chad Smith clinic.

My teacher for the past two or three years has been Richard Wilson of RAW Studios in Halifax who I visit once a week. I feel incredibly privileged to have finally made the top 10 of YDOTY. This is third time lucky for me, having made the top 40 for the past two years.

For the future I really hope to work with great musicians, playing and producing fantastic music. I have emailed the band Galactic to let them know if they ever need a fill in for Stanton, I’ll be there!

Nathan Greene (16)

I'm from Birmingham and have been playing drums since I was three and I love R'n'B, jazz and gospel music. I am  inspired by Tony Royster Jr, John Blackwell, Dave Weckl, Buddy Rich, Tony Williams, Dennis Chambers, as well as Aaron Spears who I recently met.

I have achieved distinctions in all grades I have completed so far. This is thanks to Tim Tandler, my drum teacher, who runs Birmingham Drum School. I am hoping to go on to further education in Music Performance next year and I hope that YDOTY will be the catalyst to start my musical career.

I started playing in church and supported my father in concerts.  At 13, I performed at Walsall Forest Arts Centre, and twice at Symphony Hall, Birmingham with Under 17s Walsall Youth Jazz Orchestra.  I  also went on to support Rainboy at the O2 Arena, when one of the judges,  Alex Baker, commented that the ‘drummer was insanely good.’ 

It really is a dream come true to get this far in YDOTY. It’s a fantastic opportunity that will give me so much more experience and wider recognition.

Nick Georgiou (13)

I live in Glasgow and have been playing drums for four years.

At first I was influenced by John Bonham and used him as a topic for a school project while still at primary school. Currently my main influence is Mike Portnoy.

Jamie McGrory teaches me at the Loud'n'Proud School of Rock, in Paisley, where I have been attending for over two years. During this time I has been drumming for the school's Wee Band whose greatest achievement was winning the Rock category of Live & Unsigned in 2011. The band has been gigging regularly at a variety of venues and events, all over the country, which include; hotels, pubs, clubs, rock festivals, schools and even busking in Glasgow city centre.

More recently I won Friend Jam, a UK wide competition staged by Roland UK, and as a result picked myself up a new Roland Drum Kit.

Reaching the final has come as a huge surprise as I was already delighted to have made it through to the top 40 list. This will be a great experience.

Nathan Wallington (16)

I’m from Verwood in Dorset. I have been playing drums for 3½  years now and my tutor is Danny Pearson. My inspiration to learn the drums came when I saw a friend who played drums in middle school – I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever heard.

Some of my biggest influences are: Chad Smith, Dave Weckl, Dave Elitch and Buddy Rich. I’m always watching clips on YouTube and reading drumming magazines to try and learn from these guys.

I play in two different bands; an alternative rock covers band and a progressive metal band. I enjoy playing in both of these bands as I feel it is good to immerse yourself in as many different musical genres as possible. As well as drums I play guitar and a bit of piano.

At the recent Danny Pearson Drum Clinic I played a 25 minute slot that included a solo that I had put together, and three tracks. We raised some serious money for the Youth Cancer Trust and it was a great experience for me.

After I have finished my A-Levels, I hope to carry on with Music at University, but as to exactly which one and what course, I’m still undecided.

Peter Raynor (16)

I'm from Chelmsford in Essex. Music is really important to me - I practice most of the time and enjoy every minute of it, whether it’s Rock, Jazz or Classical.

I studied music from the age of six, achieved Grade 8 drums at 11 and passed my Grade 8 orchestra percussion by the age of 14. I was a percussion category finalist in BBC Young Musician of the Year 2012.

I currently study music, and Music Technology, and play in many ensembles, bands, the Corps of Drums, and productions. I also study at Junior Guildhall with Rob Farrer and Glynn Mathews, where I play with several Jazz bands, brass ensemble, percussion ensemble and the Symphony Orchestra. I also play with the Docklands Sinfonia, most recently at the House of Lords.

My influences are wide and varied, but Steve Gadd is the drummer that inspires me. After I heard '50 Ways...' with Paul Simon and his solo piece 'Crazy Army', I was hooked. I am also inspired by Pete Erskine and José Pasillas from the band Incubus.

I am absolutely delighted to have made the final 10. Having attended the event on many occasions I am amazed just how supportive and friendly everyone is. I'm looking forward to meeting the other finalists on the day.

Euan Leslie (13)

I live in Dumfries in South West Scotland but I am originally from Bristol

When I was young I started hitting boxes to make rhythms. I started playing drums at age 10 with my drum teacher Richard James, and just loved it straight away!

I play at my Church, in a Jazz Quartet, in a Big Band, and also in a Percussion Group. My drum teacher is a great teacher and he has helped guide me in my drumming career so far. I enjoy music from Jazz/Funk artists like Herbie Hancock and Roy Hargrove to Rock bands like Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon.

My favourite drummers include Gavin Harrison, Nathanial Townsley, Dennis Chambers, Dave Weckl, Ronald Bruner Jr, Chris Coleman, Buddy Rich, Art Blakey, and Tony Royster Jr.

When I found out I was in the Top 10, I was completely shocked and over the moon - I couldn’t believe it. Now I’m looking forward to playing my solo in front of an audience, meeting the other contestants and making my family proud.

Matthew Brown (16)

I live in Hackney in London and have been playing drums all my life. I have a very strong musical background from my grandparents and my parents.

I learnt how to play in church but try my best to go deeper into drumming. I listen to a wide range of music and I try to keep busy playing gigs and other events. I don’t practise as such, but now I'm in the finals I will be practising a lot more.

I do not normally play by myself, I normally play with a band and would call myself a song player, so the competition will be a stretch and challenge for me.

My favourite drummer at the moment is Josh McKenzie. He is a song player - very musical and he works with the crowd. 

I have done a few gigs for artists such as Rascals, Cashtastic and Stylo G but I'm currently trying to improve my reading and playing.