A 16-year-old music student born and bred in Northamptonshire is 'very pleased' after being named one of 10 finalists in the national Young Drummer of the Year 2022 competition.
Greg Jacobs, 16, lives with his parents and his 19-year-old sister in Piddington where he was born and raised. He attends a music college in Birmingham known as BIMM Institute, where he studies a level 3 diploma in music performance specialising in playing the drums.
The young musician submitted a two minute drum solo earlier this year along with many hopeful drummers up and down the UK, which all went through a selection process and was narrowed down into a shortlist of 40 entries.
The 40 entries then went through a second selection process that saw them whittled down to just 10 finalists - Greg found out he was one of those finalists around a week ago.
Greg said: "They called me up when I was on the train coming home from college. They told us they would be calling us before a certain date but I forgot all about it so they took me completely by surprise. It definitely made my day."
Greg was inspired to play the drums when he was around the age of seven after the family film 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Rodrick Rules' was released in 2011. In this film, the protagonist's older brother, Rodrick, is depicted as a drummer.
Greg said: "I remember watching it and I thought the older brother was really cool smashing up the drums. I asked for a drum kit for Christmas in 2012 and I've been playing ever since."
The national Drummer of the Year competition, now in its twentieth year, had to be cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The competition usually accepts entries from applicants aged up to 16, however, organisers have made an exception for 17-year-old applicants this year due to last year's cancellation.
This meant that Greg - who will turn 17 ahead of the final on February 6, 2022 - was able to enter and showcase his musical skills.
He is now practicing to compete against nine other finalist dotted all over the UK. They will all fight to impress the expert judges including multi-platinum recording artist Russ Miller, who has played the drums for Tina Turner, Cher and Hilary Duff.
Also sitting on the judging panel is Matty Brown, who won the Drummer of the Year 2013 competition and has since played for many household names including Stormzy, Ellie Goulding and Olly Murs.
Greg, when asked if he was feeling confident ahead of the final next year, said: "I am excited obviously because I just want to play and get on the stage but I am slightly nervous because I don't know what I am up against."
Greg will be required to play another two minute drum solo at the final. He will be sent an original track around five weeks before the final will take place, which he will have to learn.
On the day of the final, all finalists will be asked to listen to a track, which they will have to improvise a drum solo for. The finalists will have no idea what this track will be until one hour before their performance.
Greg added: "I made massive progress during lockdown because I was able to play five or six hours every day, which dramatically improved my playing.
"I did all eight of my grades with distinction so I have had a lot of practice with different time signatures so I think I've got a pretty good grasp of it."
Greg's mother, Fiona Jacobs, said: "We are all extremely proud and excited that he has made it through to the finals. He has worked on various drumming techniques tirelessly and was thrilled to receive a telephone call from Mike Dolbear informing him he had made it through to the final 10.
"While we have always thought Greg was amazing at playing the drums, it is fantastic for him to receive recognition from other professional drummers and know that he has the talent to succeed in the industry.
"We will all be cheering for him on February 6."
To find out more about the annual Young Drummer of the Year competition, visit http://youngdrummeroftheyear.co.uk/.