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Artist Profile: Chris Coleman

17th Jun 2015

Described by some as a “drumming ninja,” Chris Coleman has drummed for legends like Chaka Khan, New Kids on the Block, Prince, Babyface and Christina Aguilera, as well as participated in Drummers 4 Jesus. He has traveled the world, and now calls LA home, but still gives credit to his earliest influences and shares his skills with others through his own drumming clinics and classes.

Coleman began drumming at the ripe age of 2 and continued his musical education and experimentation through elementary school, preferring brass instruments over drums. Once he was drafted to play drums by the school music teacher, he played in the school band and in his church. It is his church drumming that has earned Coleman the title of “Gospel Drummer,” to which he credits his versatility and ability to play several different genres of music including rock, pop, R&B and, of course, church-oriented music.

His drumming skills landed him a teaching position at AIM, the job as Musical Director for New Kids on the Block as well as his current gig as the drummer for Prince. Coleman’s inspirations and influences are plenty, as he spent his summers in musically-entrenched Memphis, soaking up the talent and local musicians, including Steve Smith, Tony Williams and Dave Weckl. He has toured with gospel greats including Marvin Winans, Edwin Hawkins, and Vanessa Bell Armstrong, giving him a unique frame of reference within his life and his devotion to his own spirituality.

Coleman credits the Meinl Byzance Dark Ride cymbal as his favorite, and along with Derek Roddy, will bring the sound and quality of these instruments to two drum clinics, one on May 10 in Memphis, TN, and the other on May 11 in Kansas City, MO.

In terms of the versatility and absolute joy of being a music fan and genius, Chris Coleman continues to inspire, and be inspired, by the various artists he works with. As a down-to-earth musician who enjoys the challenges and accolades of the music industry, Coleman’s career will, without doubt, continue to grow and evolve, bringing the talent, love and dedication of an extreme drummer into the lives of all he touches.