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Pamela Lynn Seraphine

Interview by Sean Mitchell // January 02 2008
Pamela Lynn Seraphine

Artists have the ability to inspire hope, motivate, and change their lives for the better, but they must become aware of the intention behind their music. 

Pamela Lynn Seraphine seems to be doing everything right these days. Between landing a spot in Canada’s premier music festival, The Cape Breton International Drum Festival, to signing with New York/New Jersey’s ACM records. Not bad for a single mom from Canada’s west coast.

Don’t assume anything about Pamela; she has seen the bad side of up, the good side of down and everything in between. Her dedication to a life of achievement is as boundless as her devotion to the craft of making rhythm. Over the years Pamela has brilliantly learned to speak the language of the drum and embedded herself into a life of music and social consciousness that inspires even drumming’s global ambassador himself, Dom Famularo: "It takes a special someone to make a significant contribution to the world. You need talent, perseverance, spiritual guidance, compassion and a huge heart! Pamela Lynn's Fearless & Feminine: A Voice of Intuitive Rhythms has it all. Her music reaches people in their deepest soul. Enjoy and be moved!"

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Being that you are a world-percussionist, I find your list of influences intriguing. Many of your idols share in your genre; however, one that sticks out for me is Carmine Appice who is literally a rock legend. How has Carmine and/or his playing influenced you?

Wow, very observant! I’m glad you noticed Carmine’s name because he was a big influence on my drumming skills. I started playing the drum kit when I was twelve years old, and Carmine’s “Ultimate Realistic Rock” was the first book I ever studied from. Like many others, I studied that book for years! My playing style has actually been heavily influenced by many rock and metal drummers. My goal has always been to develop my own signature style and sound. I find drummers such as Lars Ulrich, John Dolmayan, Chad Smith, and Flo Mounier to be incredibly motivating, and I admire their talents and skills. They inspire me to not set any limits on my playing abilities.

I also try not to limit my imagination when it comes to finding new sources of inspiration. I won’t pretend to be an expert in the world of hip hop producing, but I can relate to what they call “digging.” It’s the process in which they dig for rare recording samples. It is very similar to way I like to find unique and interesting rhythms to create my music. I dig for them!

You were recently selected to be part of The Violet Femmes compilation. What does this opportunity mean for you as an artist?

It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to share the stage with these talented women. I’m really looking forward to the experience!

Congratulations on your signing with ACM Records. Having been on both sides of this coin, as an independent and as a signed artist, what are going to be the biggest changes in your career as an ACM Recording Artist?

Thanks Sean! I’m very grateful that ACM Records is supporting my efforts as a recording artist and as a workshop facilitator. I’m thrilled to be signed to a company that has integrity, values honesty, and has a real understanding of the needs of an artist. The biggest changes in my career will be that now my music has a chance to be heard. It also gives me the opportunity to pursue and expand on my musical goals, as well as share my passion for drumming with a larger audience.

What do you feel has changed most about the relationship between recording artists and their record companies since the evolution of the Internet?

That’s a tough question to answer because I honestly don’t know enough about how the relationships between artists and record companies used to be. I can only say from my own experience that the internet has been a huge asset in my career. I am a single parent of three young children, and it is incredibly difficult for me to tour. “Myspace and “Youtube” have been invaluable ways for me to connect and gain support of my music. The more I do to contribute to my own success, the happier my label is! It becomes a win-win situation for the both of us.

You have stated that your life’s mission is to "make a significant contribution to society by living a life of social conscience, while following your passion for drumming." What issues in the world today do you currently act on?

To me, living a life of social conscience is about making a concentrated effort to do my part in making the world a better place to live. I do my best to raise awareness on issues that resonate deeply with me, such as advocacy for women and children’s human rights, as well as support for orphans and international adoption. I’m also a member of www.EqualityNow.org which is an International Human Rights organization dedicated to action for the civil, political, economic, and social rights of girls and women. I hope that in the future I will be able to contribute more of my time and efforts to humanitarian issues.

Tell me about the educational programs and workshops you offer.

I facilitate a variety of personal and professional type programs, but I specialize in “Empowerment Drumming” workshops for women. I do so because that is where I’ve found the greatest to be. Men have been experiencing the personal power behind drumming for many years but women have just not had the same opportunity. Luckily times are changing and the doors are wide open for women to get involved and reap the benefits that drumming can provide.

What are the biggest lessons non-drummers can teach facilitators?

Non-drummers have an enormous amount of wisdom to share with facilitators. They teach us the importance of having clear communication skills, how to listen effectively, patience, and most importantly the art of selfless service. Now that I think about it…it is extremely similar to the skills needed for parenting!

What initially inspired you to become a percussionist?

I had been playing the drum kit for many years before I was ever introduced to the world of hand drums. A friend of mine suggested that I attend a West African drumming performance because she thought I might enjoy the music. Well, to put it mildly, it slayed me! I had a complete paradigm shift in thinking. Up until then, I had never heard of drums being used as the principle instruments to create the music. I was instantly hooked, and I’ve never looked back.

You have studied with many of the industry’s well respected percussionists, notably Arthur Hull, who is a world renowned author and drum facilitator. What did you take away from studying with the master-facilitator himself?

I’ve been very fortunate to study and learn from Arthur Hull for many years. He is a genius when it comes to interpersonal, communication, leadership, and facilitating skills. He reinforces the art of selfless service, and the importance of promoting unity through rhythm based events. I always walk away with a stronger belief in my own abilities to connect and inspire others through the power of drumming.

I also must pay my respects to Dom Famularo, who is also my mentor. Dom is a brilliantly skilled drummer, entertainer, and motivational speaker. He has been a tremendous driving force behind my drumming and facilitating aspirations. He inspires and motivates me to continue sharing my love for drumming with others. Dom and Arthur both exemplify leadership at the finest level by the way they inspire others to believe in themselves.

How does one go about becoming a professional drum circle facilitator?

I suggest that if your want to learn, learn from the best. Arthur Hull teaches his facilitating programs all over the world. Last time I heard, he had just finished teaching 13 programs in 6 different countries! You can find out more about his programs by visiting his website at www.drumcircle.com.

Any technique hints you care to share?

The golden rule is… it’s always about “them” it’s never about “you”.

What is the most effective way to help inexperienced players overcome self doubt in a drum circle?

Inexperienced players must be reassured that they have a valuable contribution to give to the group experience, regardless of their playing abilities. Everybody wants to feel that what they have to give is of value. The most effective way to help an inexperienced player is to lead by example. When facilitating a group, I often simply play single strokes on my drum, but I play them with intensity and confidence. It’s important to be very clear that regardless of skill level, everyone is more than welcome to be part of this drumming community.

How did you become involved in the field of music therapy? 

It was really just a natural progression of my career. I have had firsthand experience on the benefits of drumming for the past 20 years. I use drumming as tool to overcome adversity, to inspire hope, as well as personal empowerment. The more I played, the more I wanted to educate myself on the healing benefits so that I could share it with others.

As musicians, we are constantly surrounded by music and creativity; and, yet, so many "successful" players have led very destructive lives. How can an artist utilize their own music to improve their well-being?

If an artist wants to play a more meaningful role in their own well being, the first step is to start taking full responsibility for their personal lives and the music that they create. I believe that “what you focus on expands.” If your music is filled with hatred, revenge, and violence, then you’re bound to attract more of it into your life. Artists have the ability to inspire hope, motivate, and change their lives for the better, but they must become aware of the intention behind their music.

What do you have coming up for the New Year Pamela?

I’m really excited about 2008 because there are a lot of plans in the making! I have been working diligently on my next album tentatively entitled “UNSTOPPABLE”. This is a very significant project because it embodies all that I am and all that I believe in.

I’m also thrilled to be on the line-up for the 8th annual Cape Breton International Drum Festival in Sydney, Nova Scotia, next April 26th and 27th.This will be a spectacular event, and it’s a real honour to play alongside so many legendary drummers such as Carmine Appice, Ed Mann, Michael Shrieve, Dom Famularo and many other brilliant drummers.

I am grateful for every single day I get to continue on my path as a drummer. My sincere gratitude to you, Sean, for supporting my efforts as a drummer and for allowing me this opportunity to share my story. Heads up ~ Eyes Forward!

Visit Pamela online: http://pamelalynninternational.com/ or http://www.neurodrumming.com/




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About the Author
Sean Mitchell

Sean Mitchell has been an active participant in the drumming industry for over 20 years. He has studied under Crash Test Dummies drummer Mitch Dorge and Drumming's Global Ambassador Dom Famularo. Sean is also a songwriter and regularly performs with his wife (and singer) Jill Mitchell. Sean proudly endorses Aquarian Drumheads.



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