In this instalment of our Featured Alumni series, we catch up with Drums graduate Afrika Green!
A British/American drummer, Afrika Green has performed and recorded with many artists, including Goldie, Akala, Fleur East, Saravah Soul, Soweto Kinch and Island Records’ JUCE, and is currently performing for The Pet Shop Boys.
We checked in with Afrika to find out what she s been up to since graduating from ACM in 2010 with a first-class Music Performance Degree.
Hi Affy! Tell us a bit about your background.
My name is Afrika Green, I’m 26 and originally from a rural town in the East Of England. I started playing drums at 13 as it was something to keep me stimulated in a sleepy town where the average age is 60+. I used to bash around on the drums at lunch breaks at school until I got caught by the music teacher and was encouraged to seek lessons. I did and my playing continued to improve. It wasn’t long before I started to outgrow my surroundings and needed to be pushed more. At 18 I made the decision to study for a Degree in Music performance at ACM.
What makes you want to work in this industry?
I want to continue working in this industry because I can’t see myself doing anything else. What could possibly be more rewarding than vibrating membranes for a living!
What have you been involved with since leaving ACM?
I’m currently drumming and singing backing vocals for the Pet Shop Boys on their ‘Super’ world tour. I am also drumming for British electronic music producer & DJ, High Contrast. Before then, I had the pleasure of working with many artists and bands, all of which I learnt a great deal from and still harness skills for the current projects I am on. The first gig I got the week I graduated from ACM was Goldie’s Band By Royal Appointment – A BBC 2 documentary that celebrated the lives of 12 musicians (I was one) and we performed in Buckingham Palace for Prince Harry and invited guests.
Oh, I also enjoyed performing with Fleur East at the NTA awards!
What are your aspirations for the future?
I am currently writing my memoir and hope to have it published next year. I want to continue playing for different artists and apply what I learn to my own project The Pop Kids. And I’d like to study the Neuropsychology of Music.
How did your course prepare you for life in the music industry?
University is like a microcosm of the music industry. I would say that it has the same levels of diversity. Coming from a rural area I wasn’t too worldly but when I studied at ACM I met people from all walks of life and backgrounds, I was able to learn something from everybody I came into contact with. I built up confidence to learn how to interact with people effectively.
What’s your advice for those looking to get into the music industry?
– Be open to new experiences and challenges.
– Be brave and take chances.
– Be kind and considerate to everyone you can, including yourself.
– Be patient and enjoy the ride not just arriving at the destination.
– Work hard and persevere against all odds
What motivated you to come and study at ACM?
The infamous sparkly toilet seat! Just kidding, I wanted to be pushed in my playing. I liked ACM’s ethos of condensing a degree into two years and pushing you into the industry at a younger age. There’s no better way to learn than to just be doing it.
What was the best part about studying at ACM?
The lecturers and practice space. And coming away with a 1st class honours in my degree.
For info on life on the road with The Pet Shop Boys and updates on Afrika’s book release, head to FutureIsGreen.co.uk
If you’d like to be a student at ACM to kickstart your career in the music industry like Afrika, please call our Admissions Team on 01483 500 841 or visit www.acm.ac.uk/open-days/ to book a place on an ACM Open Day today.