Talent Pool has recently worked with up-and-coming star and all-round musician Steph Ball. As well as playing the drums to an awesome standard, the 14 year-old is also a dab hand at the guitar and she even likes to write and perform her own vocals. Here, it’s a pleasure to bring to you an interview with the young lady herself as well as footage of the drummer live in action at the Talent Pool Studio!
Hi Steph, we’re delighted to continue our interview series with yourself! Can you firstly introduce yourself and background to our readers? Which School do you go to?
Hi, I’m 14 years old and have been playing the drums for 3 years in April 2012. I also sing and play the guitar. More recently I have put together my own drum solos and written my own songs. I attend Fred Longworth High School in Tyldesley and am currently in Year 10.
In November 2011 I won the School Idol National competition as a solo drummer. The final was held at Blackpool North Pier Theatre competing against 30 other competitors nationwide. In the heats I performed to the Queens of Stone Age track, Song for the Dead, and in the Final I performed to the Rush number YYZ. Part of the prize for winning this, was to return to Blackpool the following week and perform in front of a 3,000 audience at a Children In Need concert, where many well-known celebrities were also performing.
When did you first catch the musical bug and who or what has most influenced your music over the years?
I only really started to take an interest in music when I went to Freddies (Fred Longworth HS). In the first few weeks of attending, a Rockskool was started after school and I went along to it to make new friends. We had to form ourselves into groups of 5 and create bands. As 5 of us were in our first year we stuck together to form a group. Unfortunately, we all only had experience of playing the guitar, and were told one of us would have to try our hand at drumming. Although I didn’t think so at the time, that was the best thing that could have happened to me because I just loved playing the drums and it just felt natural.
The biggest influences on my music are Cozy Powell and Neil Peart who are just amazing drummers. My guitar and singing is influenced by Miley Cyrus, Coldplay, The Script and recently Justin Bieber.
Congratulations on winning School Idol 2011! How did it feel going up against so many talented musicians and how did it feel to actually win the whole competition?
I was nervous at first but when I met them all at the competition I felt more relaxed because many of us became friends and we supported each other throughout. There were some great performers and when I was announced as the winner they all hugged me and I felt overwhelmed.
What kind of exposure have you gained as a result of your success?
As the School Idol winner, I was invited to perform at the Children In Need concert in Blackpool on 18/11/11 in front of a 3,000 audience with many well-known celebrities also performing. I was also interviewed for the local radio station and appeared in the local press. There are also plans for me to appear in January’s OK magazine, and in summer 2012 to perform in a tribute to Cozy Powell which is being pulled together by Status Quo.
You chose to record a fantastic track by popular rock band Rush. What made you select this song which other tracks would you love to lay down?
I chose the Rush track because I love the drummer, Neil Peart, and it is a challenging piece of music. I’m currently concentrating on writing my own tracks for both drums and vocal/guitar, but no doubt I’ll also keep playing along to some of my favourite tracks and artists.
For you, who are your most influential drummers and which bands in particular are your personal favourites?
Cozy Powell, Buddy Rich, Neil Peart and John Bonham. My favourite bands are Rush, Foo Fighters, Led Zeppellin, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, and Train.
How did you find the experience of recording at Talent Pool?
It was a really enjoyable experience. Both Danny and James were very friendly and supportive, and I was made to feel comfortable (even when James was pushing his camcorder into my face!)
Thank you Steph, I’m sure we’ll be seeing your name around a lot more in the future!