Hannah Ford and Nik West with Host Cobus Potgieter on DC LIVE
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Hannah Ford and bassist/vocalist Nik West join together in a live performance and chat with a great band.
About Hannah Ford:
“I remember that even back in elementary school I was a little ahead of my friends,” explains drummer, band leader and solo artist Hannah Ford. “That’s because I’ve known what I wanted to do ever since I was seven.”
Hannah Ford isn’t the least bit embarrassed about admitting that she found true love at the tender age of seven. She even remembers when and where she was smitten. It happened the day she was introduced to the drums in her third grade music class. According to her, it was love at first sight. Since then she has pursued her passion with a passion.
Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Hannah had the privilege of studying with some of the world’s greatest drummers and teachers, including Diane Downs, Louie Bellson, Ruben Alvarez, Jerry Steinholtz and Ndugu Chancler. After moving to Chicago when she was 12, Hannah took advantage of new opportunities to study and perform with mentors such as Peter Erskine, Stanton Moore, Danny Seraphine and Johnny Rabb.
“I confess that when I was younger I wanted to be famous,” Hannah admits. “What kid doesn’t? But the more I was able to be around and observe these great musicians the more I learned and the more I realized that, in the long run, becoming a good musician is a much more appropriate and fulfilling goal.”
Following high school, Hannah accepted a scholarship to attend the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University where she continued her studies with multiple Grammy winner, Paul Wertico. Hannah credits college with helping to expand her knowledge of music and allowing her to become a better, more versatile musician. At the same time she was playing in the school orchestral, percussion and Jazz ensembles, Hannah was also fortunate to work with major touring musicians like Ignacio Berroa, Wynton Marsalis, Butch Miles, Jeff Berlin and others.
Now, with college behind her, Hannah maintains a calendar full of live and studio sessions for top pro’s as well as her own projects, “Pandorum”, “The Hannah Ford Band”— and her new Rock band “Bellevue Suite”— yet still manages to find time to do a bit of writing and teaching. Most recently Hannah has been cast as “L.A. Coulter” the on stage drummer in the Whoopi Goldberg produced Musical, “White Noise”.
Another expression of her love for the drums has been Hannah’s enthusiastic support for young drummers. Hannah spends much of her down-time reaching out to others at school assemblies with her “Peace, Love & Drums” multi-media show and giving back to students at drum clinics and summer music camps. This generosity as well as her many other accomplishments has caught the attention of the drum industry and led to sponsorships and endorsements from some of the biggest companies in the business, including Zildjian, Gretsch, Gibraltar, Toca, Vater, Shure, Kelly Concepts, Thunder Echo Drums, Evans, MaxHeads Custom Bass Drum Heads and Wornstar Clothing.
“It used to be that telling someone they hit like a girl was a put-down,” says Hannah, “but after watching the way women like Karen Carpenter, Gina Schock, Sheila E and Cindy Blackman play the drums, I’ll take it as a compliment. After all, what’s better than playing kick-ass drums in a rock ‘n’ roll band, doing what you love… and getting paid for it?”
While it’s obvious that drums have been the twinkle in Hannah’s eye ever since she was that precocious, drum-struck little girl in the third grade, neither passion or success have ever blinded her. In fact, the talented, dedicated young woman has become a serious musician and positive role model whose love of drumming, along with her reputation, only continues to grow.
Hannah Ford listens to and enjoys a wide variety of music— jazz, rock, pop, country, R&B, Latin and metal, to name just a few. Her favorite drummers range from legends such as Buddy Rich, Louis Bellson, Tony Williams, Jo Jones, Art Blakey and John Bonham to contemporary players like Paul Wertico, Peter Erskine, Stanton Moore, Neil Peart, Steve Smith and Vinnie Colaiuta as well as newcomers Stanton Moore, Chad Smith, John Blackwell and Jason Bittner.
About Nik West:
With credits that include work for Coca Cola, Apple, and MTV, bassist, singer and songwriter Nik West is anything more than just another pretty face. Challenging and changing the industry around her day by day, West is a special musician with a deep love for music and the chops to back it up.
West’s musical journey began in her hometown, Phoenix, AZ. It was there that her father T. West—an accomplished guitarist—taught her how to play the axe when she was just 13-years-old. Growing up in a household filled with music and creativity. West’s family includes her sisters (keys, drums, violin, and guitar) who were her first band and singing act, and an older brother, a few of which she still records with today.
Though she began her musical journey playing the guitar, the left-handed phenom truly realized her calling when she discovered the bass in high school while listening to Michael Jackson's "You Wanna Be Startin Somethin". After discovering the instrument there was no stopping her.
Music was not the only area West excelled in. The accomplished model and musician was a straight A student in high school and a track and field record holder. Unfortunately for the universities that offered her scholarships for her mind and athletic acumen, West chose music as her career path.
West’s skill was noticed early on by legendary music company, Fender. They took notice of her standout voice and soulful bass playing and offered her an artist endorsement. She was also one of the first musicians to play Fender’s first 6-string bass. West’s string of accomplishments continued as she was selected to endorse SWR’s Black Beauty Amplifiers. The photo of West that is featured in the SWR advertisement was hand selected by legendary bassist Marcus Miller. The ad is currently running in Bass Player Magazine.
Although West’s father taught her and her siblings how to sing at a young age she has always considered herself more of a bassist than a singer. So much so that she intended for her debut album—Just in the Nik of Time—to be an instrumental project. “The producer I was working with, Justin James, told me I have a wonderful voice and I need to sing,” says West. “I ended up doing it and I kind of like it now.”
While working on that album, Dave Stewart of Eurythmics also became acquainted with West’s work and reached out to her to join his all-female Rock Fabulous Orchestra. Within days she was performing with Stewart in Los Angeles to capacity crowds. Days later she also began working with Stewart and Grammy-winning songwriter/producer Glen Ballard (Alanis Morissette, George Strait, and Michael Jackson) on a recording project.
Noted music journalist Alex Henderson sums West’s incredible talent up saying “Nik West is one 21st Century R&B artist who isn’t lacking in the chops department. She is a young electric bassist who clearly knows her way around her instrument and plays like she has been inspired by the funky likes of Graham, Louis Johnson (of Brothers Johnson fame) and Marcus Miller.”
After nearly two years of hard work West’s labor of love was released—very fittingly—on Valentine’s Day, 2011. Just in the Nik of Time has already received rave reviews from critics and is selling well internationally. The album showcases West offering fans her songwriting and bassist skills as well as her soulful voice. Tracks like “Black Beauty,” “Eyes Closed” and West’s personal favorite “Forbidden Fruit” are sure to remind listeners that real music still exists.
DC LESSONS & SHOWS
Gregg Bissonette Drum School
20 May - Monday
This lesson is on “vocabulary” – Country.
21 May - Tuesday
Bruce gives you a lesson on Bass Drum Constant Release taught to him by Freddie Gruber.
Punk Rock Blowout
23 May - Thursday - 6 pm PST
Dave Raun of Lagwagon, Anthony Tiny Biuso of T.S.O.L. (true sounds of liberty) and Jordan Burns of Strung Out will jam in the DC Studios.
Lesson with Cobus Potgieter
24 May - Friday - 12 pm PST
Weekly lesson with Cobus Potgieter.
Gregg Bissonette Drum School
27 May - Monday
This lesson is on “vocabulary” – Rhythm and Blues.
28 May - Tuesday
Curt gives you a lesson on how to play with a bass player.
29 May - Wednesday
*SECRETS FROM THE PROS*
Chad will show you how to play one hand one stick.
30 May - Thursday - 6 pm PST
Chris Mora of Black Veil Brides will be in the DC Studios for an interview and jam.
DC LIVE SHOWS & LIVE LESSONS
SECRETS FROM THE PROS
PLUS DC FEEDBACK!