Lonn Hayes, recipient of the James David Harber Memorial Award for oustanding musicianship (from the Berklee College of Music Percussion Department):
My parents instilled a love of music in me at a young age, and at 8 I started playing drums in school. I sang in choirs and musicals, but first and foremost I was a drummer. I played drumset in jazz and rock bands, and I also played mallet percussion. I even played steel drums for an intercollegiate division championship winning drumline. At 17 I began attending Citrus College and started to learn what it really takes to be a professional drummer. When I was 19 I had the opportunity to audition for Gwen Stefani to back her up with her new single “Hollaback Girl.” I got the gig, and three days later I was playing a snare drum with Gwen Sefani in front of 20,000 people, sharing the stage with Stevie Wonder and Snoop Dogg. The next week we did the same thing in New York, Boston, and Washington. I played percussion on two songs for her total, “Hollaback Girl,” and “Wind it Up,” the two major TV singles of her solo career. I had the opportunity to play on Saturday Night Live, David Letterman, Good Morning America, Ellen, Jimmy Kimmel, TRL, Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards, Teen Choice Awards, NRJ music awards (Cannes, France), Jonathan Ross (BBC talk show), and more.
I went to Berklee College of Music starting fall of 2008, and have been fortunate enough to study with Terri Lynne Carrington, Ralph Peterson Jr., Jamey Haddad, Dave DiCenso, and Yoron Israel. I am a work-study supervisor at the Berklee Learning Center, where we help other students with any issues they may have with music software. Any spare moment I have between my studies, I am flown back to LA to play and record with a project that I am currently working with called “Jacob and Matthew Band.” We play for huge Youth Conferences all over the country and have been attracting attention on a national level.
Even though things have been going well so far, I recognize that there is still so much to learn, and I am excited to further develop my artistry as I pursue my degree in Contemporary Writing & Production/ Drumset Performance.