When you get the rare chance to meet a musician you idolise there is always the chance that while their playing may sound just as spectacular as it did on the record, their personality or attitude can sometimes leave much to be desired, the only smiles gracing their faces being those posed for pictures. This couldn’t have been further from the case for Nate Smith during his one-off drum clinic at Turner Sims, Southampton.

The packed concert hall was alive with anticipation before Nate took to the stage, erupting with a round of applause worthy of a final bow simply when Mr Smith walked into the room. All of this excitement wasn’t unfounded though; Nate’s musicality captured the entire hall with multiple jaws acquiring carpet burns.

Nate Drumming

Unusually for a clinic Nate didn’t play along to any backing tracks, he only performed solo pieces, a few of which were from his new drum solo album “Pocket Chance”, to be released 29/9/18. The same was true of his spoken segments of the clinic, he didn’t explain a single exercise or warm up routine to the hall of keen drummers, instead he approached the whole evening from the angle of an Artist. He didn’t just play drum solos, he performed short pieces of music, each with it’s own story and dynamic journey, each with it’s own purposeful beginning, development and conclusion. Instead of talking about exercises and techniques that enable him to play like he does, he spoke about his personal musical journey, his influences and development through the years; the things that makes him play like he does.

Not only was his playing incredibly impressive and musically developed to a world class level, his own person and the way he carried himself was both humble and eloquent, answering questions clearly and precisely without losing direction. Rather than hide them, he was more than happy to point out and share his flaws and difficulties in his development. He related to the audience as human beings as well as drummers (yes I found it hard to fathom too, he is in fact human).

Nate Speaking

I walked away from Nate’s clinic not only inspired to play, but also inspired by his humility and laid back approach. It’s always a pleasant reminder that while there are plenty of sharks high up in the music business, there are also plenty of lovely guys like Nate just doing their thing. And what a fantastic things he is doing.