Tony Royster Jr. has earned the title of prodigy. Only twenty-six, Royster has already been drumming for well over two decades. In 1995, at the age of eleven, he won the prestigious Guitar Center National Drum-Off competition; today he’s most visibly associated with Jay-Z, supporting the rapper on his blockbuster Blueprint 3 tour.
Royster boasts a fluidity and proficiency in all styles of drumming and has performed alongside drummers such as Billy Cobham, Steve Smith, Sheila E, and Chester Thompson. In addition he has held such high-profile gigs as drummer for TV’s Nickelodeon House Band (led by Paul Shaffer), the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards, an international tour with number-one Asian artist Hikaru Utada, and President Barack Obama’s inaugural ball with Jay-Z.
Since he burst onto the drumming scene, Royster has collected accolades such as the 2000 Modern Drummer Readers Poll award for top Up And Coming Drummer as well as appearing on the cover of the magazine’s millennium issue alongside his mentor, Dennis Chambers. He has performed at NAMM, PASIC, Montreal Drum Fest, the Florida Drum Expo, and the Modern Drummer Festival, held drumming duties with artists as varied as Imajin, En Vogue, ASAP, and Lazyeye, and leads his own band.
In 2001, he and Dennis Chambers released the internationally acclaimed DVD Common Ground, and more recently, he has produced two follow-ups—Pure Energy and The Evolution of Tony Royster Jr.