Starting last August, more than 5,000 drummers from across the country signed up to compete in Guitar Center’s twenty-fifth annual Drum-Off. On Saturday, January 18, five finalists battled it out for the title of Drum-Off champion and a prize package valued at nearly $50,000. The winner, Dawud Aasiya-Bey, joins an esteemed group of players who have gone on to play for Prince, Beyonce, and Jay Z, among other music luminaries.
“It is impossible to describe how good it feels to be recognized for a craft I have worked at for so long,” Dawud “D-Mile” Aasiya-Bey, this year’s champ, said at the finals. “This win is proof that if you just put a little bit of time in and stay with it, something good can happen. I hope my story can inspire other musicians to stick with it and dream big. I’m thankful to Guitar Center and all of the incredible judges tonight for giving me that opportunity.”
As Guitar Center’s Drum-Off grand-prize winner, Dawud will receive $25,000 cash, a Roland TD-30 electronic drumkit and SPD-SX, a write-up in Modern Drummer magazine, a cover feature in Guitar Center’s Drum Buyers Guide, a custom drumkit by DW, Tama, Pearl, Gretsch, or OCDP, a complete set of Sabian, Zildjian, or Meinl cymbals, drum, stick, cymbal, and drumhead endorsement deals, and a VIP Experience at NAMM 2014.
Watch Aasiya-Bey’s winning performance above, and look for a full report on this year’s Drum-Off, plus more on Dawud, in upcoming issues of Modern Drummer magazine.