Alex Shumaker Nine Year Old Demonstrative Drummer

Alex Shumaker on stage

I love playing drums more than anything in the world  Alex Shumaker

 

Alex Shumaker Logo

Nine Year old Alex Shumaker heralds from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, USA and has had an interest in Classic Rock bands such as Journey, Foreigner, Reo Speed Wagon and Styx since age 4. When Alex was 5 his parents took him to his first live concert to see Journey, Foreigner and Night Ranger and he was mesmerized! 

Alex MakeShif Drum
Alex Self Made Drum

Following that concert experience, while most 5 year olds were headed to the Toy section at Walmart Alex would always ask to go to the Electronic Department to look at CD’s. On February 10, 2012 while browsing the CD’s Alex found a DVD of the band Journey with their new lead singer Arnel. Alex became fixated with drummer Deen Castronovo. Alex would get out an exercise ball, put it in front of the TV, and grabbing some kitchen utensils would proceed to play his make-shift drum set. He would watch the video over and over again and ultimately broke every kitchen utensil his parents had. To remedy that problem his dad created a pair of drumsticks out of plastic coat hangers for him to use. 

One evening while Alex was playing his homemade drum kit his Mom captured the moment on her phone and posted it to Facebook with the heading…… 

“You Gotta do what you Gotta do when your parents wont buy you a drum set!” 

The phone soon rang and it was Alex’s Nana wanting to speak with him. His parents weren’t all that thrilled when he started screaming; 

Nana and Papa are buying me a real drum set”.  

Alex received that little drum set and played it for hours on end, at least 3-4 hours a day watching the Journey DVD over and over trying to copy Deen’s every move. 

Every time Alex went to Walmart he got a CD. A few months later another DVD appeared, this time it was the band Foreigner with then drummer Brian Tichy. Alex became obsessed with Tichy’s theatrics of stick throwing and bouncing. 

Alex New Drum Set
Alex with his first Drum Set from his Grandparents

 

 

After a few months of playing, Alex’s parents enrolled him in weekly drum lessons with teacher Brian Rowan with whom he is still receiving instruction. 

Alex progressed and kept his passion for drumming. His tastes in music evolved and he started playing a wide variety of genres of music. His parents and grandparents realized at this point this wasn’t just going to be a childhood phase and decided to purchase an adult size full drum set for his 7th birthday. Instead of asking for toys for birthdays and holidays, Alex would ask for musical equipment. Thus, his drum set has become quite massive over the past two years. 

Alex rocken with Deen
Alex rocken with Jeff from Foreigner

 

Alex’s parents began taking him to more concerts and numerous local shows. Alex has had the chance to meet many musicians and has become friends with a number of them, some even inviting him on stage during their performances. 

 

His biggest moment was getting to meet his hero Deen at a Journey concert along with Ross Valory and Jonathan Cain before the show. Deen was simply amazing to Alex. Deen even called out Alex’s name in front of 30,000 people while on stage and is still in contact with Alex today. 

That concert also opened Alex up to Country Music. He instantly fell in love with Rascal Flatts who were touring with Journey at the time. 

One of Alex’s first times being on a big stage was with the band Foreigner in 2013. It was an experience he will never forget. Alex has met Foreigner several times since. One particular occasion was when Alex used tickets to their show awarded to him by winning a Tonight Show inspired Lip Sync ontest the band put on. 

 

Alex on stage with Jefferson Starship 2014

While attending a Jefferson Starship concert in Pittsburgh in 2014 Alex was taken on stage for the final song with the band. The band members had no idea he was a miniature musician but singer Cathy Richardson said she kept getting this vibe about this little 7 year old boy sitting in the front row she had to invite him up!  

Alex and his parents traveled to New Jersey to attend a show called the “Bonzo Bash” produced by his hero Brian Tichy. Brian puts on this show on the both the West Coast and the East Coasts to honor the late John Bonham of Led Zeppelin. Brian brings in top drummers from many bands to each perform 2 songs by Led Zeppelin. Alex got to attend the rehearsals for this show at the Gibson Guitar Show Room in NYC the day before the show. At the end of rehearsals Alex was given the chance to play while Brian Tichy (who is mostly known as a drummer) played guitar, Michael Devin of Whitesnake played bass and Chas West of Jake E. Lee/Tango Down performed the vocals.

Continue reading “Alex Shumaker Nine Year Old Demonstrative Drummer”

Ky Baldwin – Character and Charisma!

“Character first – talent second.”   Ky Baldwin

ky-baldwinSinger, songwriter, musician and dancer with a charismatic personality and a big heart: it is our honour and a delight to feature Sydney, Australia’s Ky Baldwin!

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Ky began his career as a dancer and it wasn’t until he reached 10-years-old that he started his first singing lessons. His teacher had him singing Michael Jackson who quickly became his biggest influence.

I asked Ky to describe his music:

“My music is pop – Tweeny pop if I were to be honest. But my latest song Lara is heading more towards radio Pop and would attract an older teenage audience. I do love all kinds of music though but I’m very Top 40 influenced in terms of my melodies. I write all my own music. I have 6 originals. I’d love to collaborate with others in the future.”

In 2011, Ky was a semi finalist on Australia’s Got Talent with his tap dancing abilities and he participated on The Voice Kids in 2014. Ky has performed in several musicals, such as “Love Never Dies”, “Under Milk Wood” and “Mary Poppins”, and has done TV commercials and films.

In October of last year Ky released his first EP  “The Beginning” with 4 original songs and 3 cover songs and he has since been producing a steady stream of songs and music videos. His latest original is a quirky, catchy collaboration with some other young stars Jamie Cumberlidge, Fletcher Pilon and Balin Rowley.

 

 

Ky has an infectious energy and enthusiasm and, as a result, his music and videos are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. One of his music videos is chasing 12 million views! Check them all out on his

YouTube Channel

opera-houseKy remains irrepressibly positive in his outlook though he is only too aware of the struggles and challenges of trying to make a career in the creative arts. I always make a point of emphasising how difficult it can be for young people starting out, especially boys, and I feel it is important to tell the whole truth – it’s not all fun and games! The internet has brought untold opportunities for good but also much potential for harm.

I asked Ky if he had ever had a major struggle or barrier to his career. I want to include a good amount of his response here. I do hope a time will come in the future when I stop hearing these stories, but until that day comes I believe it is so very important to keep raising awareness:

“I am physically very small with a high voice so get a bit of negativity about that and sometimes it is hard to be taken very seriously but it doesn’t bother me at all. I think it’s kind of silly that people judge a person on that and I actually quite like it.

I have had girls as young as 8 tell me they hate me when of course they don’t know me. I have been told I’m gay because my voice hasn’t dropped yet. It’s water off a ducks back to me, it actually just highlights their character, but I can’t help but think that this bullying online is becoming so common place that it has to leak out into the real world. I have girls all the time contact me that they are bullied and it’s so sad. I’d love us all to stop and think – is that really the person you want to be.”

Ky describes his guitar as his ‘best friend’ and it is where he turns to come up with his original melodies. Like most creatives, says that composing music gives him a real ‘buzz’. Sometimes the most creative minds are very introverted and find it hard to express how much their art means to them. Artists like Ky are a refreshing contrast: their delight in what they do is very evident when they perform!

benWith a rising star like Ky, there is huge potential to make a positive influence on other young people. It fills me with hope and excitement for the future when I see youngsters as talented as Ky adopting such a mature and compassionate nature. I asked Ky for his advice to other young people hoping to achieve their dreams and I would endorse his conclusions 100%! If only everyone in the music industry followed these guidelines, the music would all be phenomenal and the industry would be a much more positive environment:

 – My first advice is what my mum instills in myself and my sister often. Character first – talent second.
 – The second is no good to the world if the first is not achieved. The second thing is work hard and be confident and enjoy the journey.
 – The third thing which is equally as important is to get the right people to teach you and to be around you and never stop learning.

It must be acknowledged that, for a young artist, the parents and family around them are incredibly important. So many parents I know sacrifice so much to see their children fulfil their potential. Many choose to homeschool, use most of their income and savings, and sacrifice their own hopes and dreams for the sake of their children. Ky’s family is clearly one of these and it is wonderful that, even at a young age, he is very aware of this and chooses to acknowledge it:

“My family is my greatest strength, no doubt. They are my team and you are only as good as the team you have with you.”

Starlight Children's Foundation Annual Star Ball Charity Fund Raiser. Masquerade Ball
Starlight Children’s Foundation Annual Star Ball Charity Fund Raiser. Masquerade Ball

Ky’s dream is to be a touring artist. His first goal is to get one of his songs on the radio. He would like to write with Max Martin and to play with Taylor Swift. Taylor is another big influence on Ky and he emphasises that it is not only her song writing but her character that inspires him. If he is successful in his first goal, Ky would like to use that success to help the fight against homelessness and against bullying.

I asked Ky how we can best help and support him:

“I guess the best way that your readers can help me is to take a look at what I have. If you like it, share it, comment on it, buy it.”

Here are the links to his social media:

Starlight Children's Foundation Annual Star Ball Charity Fund Raiser. Masquerade Ball
Starlight Children’s Foundation Annual Star Ball Charity Fund Raiser. Masquerade Ball

 

And finally, Ky would like to thank some people!

“There are so many people I need to thank and the list keeps growing. Aside from the obvious, my mum, I always come back to Dein Perry and the Tap Pups for instilling the love of dance, Marianne Howard for planting the seed for performing and Robert RAab Stevenson who taught me how to sing. When I came to him 3½ years ago I couldn’t sing at all but wanted to. He could see I was willing to work hard and took me on as one of his students and his teaching is phenomenal. I now have lessons with his business partner, Mindy Pack who can solve any singing problem immediately. These two teachers I owe everything to. And most importantly – they always make it fun and it’s my favourite hour of the week.”