THE DONAVAN HEPBURN, HISTORY:

Donavan Hepburn is a native of Saltley, Birmingham and is pure session drumming royalty in the UK, and is one of the UK’s most sought after session musicians, musical directors, programmers and educators. He has played with the likes of Take That, Tom Jones, X-Factor, Adele, Robbie Williams, Cheryl Cole, Alesha Dixon, James Morrison, Olly Murs and Jeff Lynne's ELO (just to name a few) and is always trying to improve his game.

His older brother Martin was really the drummer in the family, he played all throughout his teens with different groups and choirs. Donavann bought about 1984 he his first drum kit, which was this beautiful white Pearl Export kit, "and all I can remember is coming down the stairs from my room into the family room and seeing this drum kit all set up and thinking that it was incredible. I think that’s really where the seed was planted, but I didn’t actually try to really play until about 1988/1988. Around the same period, Martin and his wife were expecting their first child so he really around that much when it came to playing at the church we attended anymore. One day I plucked up the courage to try give it a go and truthfully they weren’t really that impressed and told me to get off, but I went back the following Sunday, made a mends and kept working on my drumming from there."

He cut his musical teeth in church and, like many of the great gospel players before him, soon took the wider musical scene by storm. Call it soul power or divine intervention, but since landing his first professional gig with US R'n'B sensations Dawkins and Dawkins in April 1999, he's been in constant demand.

Playing at the church really helped him learn how to naturally express himself, and taught him how to comfortable back different singers and choirs so it was a great experience. I general he think that Gospel music is a great genre, it has various elements and similarities of so many other types of music, so it’s great to learn from. The whole Gospel chop thing has definitely become a bit of a craze at the moment which is also great, but the one negative thing about this in his opinion, is that we’re seeing a lot of really great chop type players coming up who sometimes don’t seem to have the maturity to simply play what’s required for the song. Sometimes the ability to simply drive a song with a great groove is sometime that I see getting lost, obviously there are a lot of great players who have an excellent combination both groove and chops too, so that’s nice, but he think that music should be felt and played with a certain feeling rather than just learned because if might be a craze at a particular point in time.

Whether it's laying down a soulful groove in a studio, bringing a clinic to a euphoric climax or rocking a packed arena, Donavan Hepburn will dazzle at every opportunity. As the embodiment of the consummate all-rounder, he also numbers programming, producing and teaching as other talents that keep the phone ringing.

His CV is as long as it is varied. From the perky pop of Blue to the trip hop of Day One; from the funky soul of Mica Paris to LSK's big dance beats; Donavan has laid it down with the skill and virtuosity of a master craftsman. Donavan crosses genres with ease and switches skills like changing hats, yet he fulfills every duty with the professionalism he's renowned for. Two things, however, stand out over and above everything else: his ability and, most importantly, his love of music.
Donavan's raison d'etre is pure and simple: "to encourage people to live their dream, whatever it is". As a programmer, producer, drummer and teacher, he's also helped people realise their dreams. The future, as they say, is bright, but few shine as brightly as Donavan's.

Donavan's raison d'etre is pure and simple: "to encourage people to live their dream, whatever it is". As a programmer, producer, drummer and teacher, he's also helped people realise their dreams. The future, as they say, is bright, but few shine as brightly as Donavan's.

Donavan played with Children in Need Rocks 2013, when Jeff Lynne's ELO played among other artists.
Mike Stevens
Milton McDonald
Donavan Hepburn - drums
Bernie Smith
Marcus Byrne
Matt Round - bass
Mick Wilson
Mel Lewis - backing vocals
Sharleen Linton
Lincoln Jean-Marie
Chereene Allen

Donavan played again with Jeff Lynne's ELO at the Live in Hyde Park 14 sep. 2014.
Jeff Lynne
Richard Tandy
Lee Pomeroy
Donovan Hepburn - Drums
Mick Wilson
Chereene Allen
Danny Marsden
Milton McDonald
Mike Stevens
Bernie Smith
Marcus Byrne
Iain Hornal
Melanie Lewis-McDonald
The BBC Concert Orchestra

Donavan was behind the drums on the Jeff Lynne's ELO "Alone in the universe" tour 2016.