Young Drummer Of The Year 2016 top 10 finalists

Anmol Pic

Here are the 2016 top ten finalists of the Young Drummer Of The Year competition (in no particular order):

Amnol Mohara

Amnol began playing drums at the age of eight in Nepal and now lives in Aldershot, Hampshire. He is 15 years old, studies with Daniel Mullowney and is inspired by Dave Weckl, Benny Greb, Anika Nilles,Matt Garstka, Gavin Harrison, Carter Beauford and Chris Coleman. He is grateful to the Nepal Music Centre, where he achieved his grade 8 Rock School exam with 97 per cent!



John Holbrook - HeadshotJohn Holbrook

John is 16 and from Hull, East Yorkshire. He has been playing drums for five years in a number of bands and with artists of varying genres.

He recently passed his grade eight with distinction, has recently become an educator himself and hopes to become a professional session musician. He counts Chris Coleman as an influence and played onstage with him at a UK clinic.



Jonno Gaze Pic1Jonno Gaze

Jonno is 16 and lives in Cambridgeshire. He has been influenced by African and tribal rhythms and is “exploring how emotionally involved I can become in my playing and how I can mean everything I play”.

His influences include Steve Jordan, Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes, Buddy Rich, Questlove, Steve Gadd, Chris Dave and Tony Williams.


Joseph Solomonjoseph solomon

Joseph is 16 and lives in Lewisham, London. He first layer drums at the age of 3 at his church. He is heavily influenced by Calvin Rodgers, Tony Royster Jr. and Dennis Chambers as well as Eric Moore, Aaron Spears and Jerome Floods II.

He has recently performed alongside drummer Laykay Dada, mentor Michael Afuape, and at the Festival of Life, which is held twice a year at the Excel Exhibition Centre.



Michael_Obrike_2Michael Obrike

Born and brought up in Reading, Berkshire, Michael started drumming when he was a year old. Michael is a self-taught drummer who 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, where he met his current drum tutor Douglas Mussard. Michael’s main inspirations are Tony Royster and Anthony Barnes.  When he is not drumming in a band, he is busy playing for the junior Swindon Town Football Club, Robins.



noah-warnesNoah Warnes

Noah is 16 and lives in Dorchester, Dorset.

Led Zeppelin was his favourite band from the age of 10 and he later went through a phase of playing lots of samba grooves on the drum kit, inspired by his drum teacher. His favourite band is now Meshuggah and he plays in a thrash metal band, ‘Gornad0’.

Influences include John Bonham, Tomas Haake, Matt Garstka, Jojo Mayer, Daney Carey, and drum teacher Ralph Cree.




Oliver Spackman PicOliver Spackman

Oliver is 16 and lives in Hethersett, Norfolk where he is a member of the Aldeburgh Young Musicians. He recently performed in the band for a week’s run of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Norwich Playhouse and played in West Side Story at school, as well as for Led Bib at the London Jazz Festival.

His favourite drummers include Robert “Sput” Searight, Peter Erskine and Tony Royster Jnr.




Toby Ollis-Brownstone PhotoToby Ollis-Brownstone

Toby is 16, lives near Stratford-upon-Avon and has loved drums for as long as he remembers. He has played in many different groups including the school orchestra and big band and the county jazz orchestra and percussion ensemble. He is a member of Stratford Rock School and also gigs with an indie/rock covers band that has recently started producing original material. He listens to a diverse range of music, which spans metal to jazz, and is a big rock fan.



Zoe Pascal - PicZoe Pascal

Zoe Pascal (14) is a London based young drummer, Soultone´s UK Youngest endorse at 11 years old, VATER artist at 13 & TOP 10 Young drummer of the year 2015 and now 2016. He’s also growing a profile in the Youth Jazz London scene as a member of 2 prestigious Jazz talent development programs: Junior Jazz Academy at the Royal Academy of Music mentored by Gareth Lockrane and drummer of the Tomorrow’s Warriors talent development program since his 11 years old 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.



Tom Potter Pic copyTom Potter

Tom is 15 and started weekly drum lessons at RhythmBase in Glasgow when he was 10.  He has been in the finals twice so is hoping for third time lucky!

Since last years final he has played lots of live gigs, mostly jazz-based with both the Williams Jazz Quartet and NJOS (National Jazz Orchestra of Scotland). He also plays in a covers/original band called Bad Jeff, as well as being in various different bands at school. Influences include Gavin Harrison, Jojo Mayer and Mark Guiliana. His biggest event so far was supporting Thomas Lang at a drum clinic in the O2 ABC in Glasgow.


The YDOTY 2016 final takes place on Sunday 7th February at the Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa. 

Tickets/box office: 01926 334418 or

Doors 1pm. Show starts at 2pm.

See for more information.

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