As far back as I can remember, I have always had a love for music and found it to be a way in which I can comfortably express myself. I can really relate to Billy Joel’s belief that it is ‘an explosive expression.’ From a young age, I had a good feel for rhythm and sound which helped me feel grounded and happy. I would press my hands against the loudspeakers of the television and be able to feel the beat. My family have always been a huge encouragement in my development with music as they recognised my connection with it. I would somehow try and find a way to use music as a tool. If I was excited, happy, or sad, I would be drawn to music as a way to let myself go, to lose myself in the music.

I was born in Hong Kong in 1996. In 1999, I met my adoptive parents for the first time and moved into their apartment and this is where my love of music really began. My parents quickly realised that music helped me express myself and bought me my first keyboard. To this day they still have a laugh at my expense, as they think back to the times I would walk about constantly pressing the demo track on my blue toy keyboard. I myself also look back to these happy memories and think about dancing around and playing music with my family.

I moved back to live in Scotland in 2002 and music still remained part of my life. My tastes in music are rather eclectic. Due to my family’s extensive preferences in music, I have found myself on quite a musical journey over the years. I have fond recollections of spending weekends away with my aunt, resulting in the start of listening to classical music, such as Pavarotti.

I also went through a phase of having an interest in pipe band music, so much so that I begged my mother to buy me a CD of their music. My father has made me aware of a broader choice of musical styles. Now, whenever my father and I spend time together out and about, our car journeys are never quiet. From the 1940s swing era to the Beatles, and Fleetwood Mac, we are both enjoying listening to music. You will often find my mother in the depths of the kitchen always singing away to herself along to the radio. Motown music has also heavily inspired me with artists such as Michael Jackson and James Brown.

My influence with bands such as the Foo Fighters was brought about by my older sister. It is clear that I have had a love for music but when I was given my first cajón my passion really grew and it allowed me to express myself and become part of the music and also furthered my interest in different areas of the industry.

Having begun to gain experience within the music industry, this has exposed me to many opportunities to further my knowledge. I have previously been involved in the organisation of fundraisers for local charities, such as Yorkhill Children’s Hospital and raising money for those affected by the Clutha tragedy.

In November of 2014, I participated in a week of work experience in which I worked in a music store. Most recently, I have started to work with an organisation called Paragon, an inclusive music company based in Glasgow who help children and teenagers with a variety of special needs to discover music. I feel privileged to be part of such a group, working with a range of experienced and specialised musicians and being involved in different projects.

As a drummer, I am influenced not only by the music but also the people behind it. I have attended several ‘drum clinics or masterclasses’ run by professional working musicians in the industry. These opportunities have allowed for the absolute beginner to the most advanced of player to get a unique insight into how a certain musician works. Having been to numerous events like this it has allowed me to meet some of the worlds most high profile musicians in the world of drums such as Stanton Moore, Jojo Mayer, Mark Schulman, and Thomas Lang. Next month, I will be going to see Aaron Spears who is running a clinic in Glasgow. I hope to meet him and find out more about his journey as a drummer. Later this year, in June will see me going to watch the band Foo Fighters perform in Edinburgh which has always been a goal of mine as Dave Grohl is one of my drumming inspirations. I hope to also see current artists such Bruno Mars, Pharrell Williams, Maroon 5 and Stevie Wonder

In my future, I hope to attend college where I intend to still have music and drums very much part of my life. I hope to aspire to be able to teach music to others and inspire them to follow their dreams like I have done.

As travelling is one of my other goals in life, I would also like to visit places such as the United States, Australia and South America and explore their cultures. All of these places have contributed to my musical influences and therefore, I would want to involve music within my journeys in any way that I can.

It is apparent that music, especially drums make me feel empowered, confident and part of something. Drumming really does make me feel part of a community that I am very grateful to be part of and really highlights to me the importance to do more of what makes you happy. To quote the philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche ‘Without music life would be a mistake.’

 

Anthony Flanagan