While just about every young drummer dreams of becoming a legend by the time they’re 18, very few are capable of achieving that goal. But one seriously talented, extremely capable 17-year old from France is knocking on the door. Well, actually, like the handful of precocious teen drummers who have gone on to become legendary professional drummers, he’s pounding on it with his hands and feet.
Antoine Fadavi was born in Paris, France on June 1, 1999 and caught the drum bug during a visit to a local music store when he was eleven. Supported and encouraged by his parents Saeed and Nathalie, he began teaching himself to play by watching Cobus Potgieter, Luke Holland, Ricky Ficarelli, Meytal Cohen and the new generation of “YouTube” drummers online.
His progress was nothing less than remarkable. By the time he was twelve, Antoine was producing his own drum videos and posting them on the Internet. In addition to recreating the drum parts, he taught himself how to tune and program the drum sounds for each song, record and mix the live drums with the original tracks, and then sync and edit multiple performances and camera angles to create high-quality videos.
Since he started uploading just over 5 years ago, Antoine’s drum covers on his YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/antoinefadavi) have been watched more than a million times. And, along the way, top professional drummers from Steve Smith (Journey), Jim Keltner (John Lennon) and Arin Ilejay (Avenged Sevenfold) to Aaron Spears (Usher) and John Robinson (Michael Jackson) have expressed high praise for the youngster’s efforts; citing his maturity, confidence, technical skills, timing, musicianship and showmanship.
In 2013, Antoine began a relationship with the KAT Electronic Drum division of the Fender Musical Instrument Co. In addition to producing drum videos for KAT, he has appeared at trade shows and music festivals around the world and has been featured in advertisements that have appeared in international drum publications such as Modern Drummer, DRUM!, Alternative Press and Digital Drummer. In April of 2014 he joined the GoPro Music family; receiving equipment and support from the leading digital camera company.
In addition to being part of a generation that has grown up online, Antoine is also part of the generation that has grown up on both acoustic and electronic drums. “I am comfortable on both kinds of drumkits and I don’t really have a preference,” Antoine comments. “Living in Paris is awesome. It is a beautiful, historic city. With the Metro (subway), all you need is a half-hour to get anywhere you want to go. But it’s also a very crowded and very expensive city so it can be difficult to find a place to live or, if you are a musician, to rehearse and record. This is why most of my videos have been recorded in my apartment with my electronic kit.”
“Today, I am also fortunate to have an electronic kit and an acoustic kit. I’m working hard to master them both and I encourage all young drummers to do the same. Drummers used to start out on acoustic drums and get into electronic drums later. But, for more and more drummers of my generation, electronic drums come first and acoustic drums second. This is a big, important change and I get to play a part in making it happen. How cool is that?”
Antoine’s ultimate goal is to become a professional musician and film-maker and eventually to produce music videos for others. Although it is too early to predict how far Antoine’s natural talent will take him, and unfair to burden him with great expectations, it isn’t unreasonable to compare his impressive development to what drummers like Buddy Rich, Tony Williams, Peter Erskine, Jojo Mayer, Josh Freese and Tony Royster, Jr. achieved in their teens— or to imagine what those important and influential players might be doing if they were growing up today. Chances are, like Antoine, they’d be combining their creativity, passion and commitment with the latest advances in drumming technique and technology to turn their dreams of becoming great drummers into a reality.