Larnell Lewis, a Humber Music alumnus, instructor and world-renowned musician, has had an amazing year. As a drummer, he recently won his first Grammy with Snarky Puppy, was named one of CBC Music's top jazz musicians under 35, and received many other accolades. Larnell took time out of his jam-packed schedule to talk to us about his success, his inspirations and why teaching at Humber is important to him.
How did you first discover your love of music and the drums?
My discovery of music and drumming happened at a young age. Music runs in my family, so naturally, I got into it.
What is a foundational jazz album for you?
One album that I would say helped to shape my concept of modern jazz is Perceptual by the Brian Blade Fellowship. This album influenced my drumming and writing style.
How does it feel earning so many awards and accolades for your work?
It's an amazing feeling to be recognized for the work that I've done. I've been getting tons of support from all the communities that I'm connected to. I'm very thankful.
What led you to start teaching at Humber?
Teaching and mentoring was something that I felt very comfortable with while I was a student at Humber College. One summer, Mark Kelso (percussion department head) asked if I would be interested in teaching at the school, and the rest is history.
What is the number one piece of advice you tell your students?
Exercise your imagination. It's the thing that sets you apart from everyone else.
Why is teaching future musicians important to you?
Growing up, I've had many musicians (young and not so young) invest time in me. I realize the importance of the information that I've learned, and I want to pass it on.
Are there any upcoming projects you’re especially excited for?
I'm really excited about releasing my first album entitled In The Moment. [Due out late 2017.] Sharing my heart on the drums has been second nature to me for most of my life. This is just another step in that direction.