Hello MD and everyone who enjoys drums as much as I do! My name is Jamie Follese, and I play for a pop band called Hot Chelle Rae. We have been on tour for the last year and a half supporting our album Whatever. We are currently in the studio recording our third album, which will be released this summer.
I grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, so I didn’t have to look very far for inspiration to play the drums. My mother and father are both songwriters/producers and as much as they would like to think they didn’t push me into music, it was going to happen either way. I started playing when I was eleven years old because it was what I was around. My house always has had a studio, and the best of the best Nashville musicians have been rolling through to play on my father’s demos since I can remember. I basically had the best teaching you could ever get without paying money. I learned a great deal from two people in particular: Rich Redmond (Jason Aldean) and Tommy Harden (Reba McEntire). Rich is one of my favorite drummers out there, and he taught me how important it is to be in the pocket.
Once the drumming bug bit me, I never looked back. I played anywhere from two to six hours a day, every day, until I joined this band when I turned sixteen. My brother Ryan is the lead singer, so it was a great personal achievement for me to get to join my big brother’s band.
I feel that my personal taste on drums fits our music really well because I happen to love playing very simple, solid beats. I actually love playing country music as well and have played on a couple things around town. Learning from country music was important for me because I want to have the capability to play difficult things, but I know when to be tasteful about it.
I currently endorse Rockett Drum Works, Zildjian cymbals, and Pro-Mark sticks. It’s really insane to me that I can actually say that. I’ve been using Zildjian and Pro-Mark since I started, and it was always a dream to be an artist for these companies. I can remember submitting my packages to them when I was fourteen!
Before we play shows, I like to get warmed up by either drumming on my legs with my hands and by playing on a practice pad. I also make sure to stretch extensively before every show. We play a twenty-one-song set on our headlining tour. What I hope shines through—if you ever come to see an HCR show—is how passionate we are about playing our instruments. We all strive to be the best we can be individually to create a great band together, and I hope that comes across in our live performance!
Thank you all so much for reading my blog. You can keep up with me and ask questions on Twitter: @jamiefollese.
For more, visit www.hotchellerae.com.