Interview: Jyn Yates

Jyn is a drummer friend of mine from twitter that has a huge heart for drumming and her students. She’s a hard-working female drummer that loves what she does and shares that passion with everyone that she meets.

You can find Jyn on the cover of Woman Drummers: A History from Rock and Jazz to Blues and Country. It’s the first book ever written on woman drum set players and traces woman drummers from pre-historic times through history up till today. Jyn is one of the 50 female drummers named with a bio in the book… which also includes Viola Smith, Sheila E, Cindy Blackman Santana,  and many more! Jynn says this is one of her most cherished accomplishments in her career thus far.

Women Drummers


Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Jyn Yates. I’m a professional full-time drummer. I tour as a pick up drummer, lay beats for artists in the studio, and also teach students – notation and performance on the set and all percussion items, including electronics.


How and when did you get into drumming?

I don’t have a memory that doesn’t involve a drum set or some sort of drums. My family was very musical, focusing on blegrass/gospel/rock & roll. My father was a drummer/percussionist his entire life. He put me behind a drum kit at age 3, teaching me grooves… and I eventually went on to play in the Adair County Marching Band, a historic band from the state of Kentucky. All while I was also playing in bands at venues starting around the age of 12 years old. I was too young to get into bars but we just never mentioned my age and no one back then asked any questions.


What projects/bands are you currently working with?

Right now I am currently working with Beverly McClellan, who was a finalist on season one of NBC’s “The Voice“. We have done some touring together and I love working with her. We are writing and doing a duo 2 piece ala female Black Keys idea. I’m also working on tracks in the studio with Crystal Bowersox of American Idol, as well as Freekbass and DJ Tobious, electronic funk outside of Cincinnati. Stay tuned for that… Also, I do work with my all female 4-piece soul/pop/electronic group out of Lousiville, Kentucky – MA’AM. I also release my own singles under my own moniker Jyn Yates on iTunes, etc… – and continue to mix and mash electronics with live acoustic drums and also DJ under DJ Hi 502. On the side I do tons of theatre work, Sweeny Todd, Les Miserables, RENT, The color Purple, Girlfriend (a play based around Matthew Sweet’s album Girlfriend) and continue to be the house drummer for many women music festivals from around the country! I like staying busy behind those drums because it is what I love to do!


If you were stranded on an island and you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?

What a tough question and my answer may be a typical one but there are only about three albums that I’ve listened to a thousand times front to back and never gotten tired of. The top for me personally would have to be Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. That album is what I put on anytime I want to just fall in love with music all over again. It’s truly magical in all forms and a brilliant album that holds up through the ages, especially in a day and age of music where we rarely listen to complete albums. A close second would be Tony Williams Lifetime the Collection. I could spend my entire life deciphering Tony’s work on that record.


What is your goal with drumming? Basically, what do you hope to accomplish with drumming when you look back on your life?

I think my overall goal is to be the best drummer I can in all forms. From live bands to recordings to theatre and as a teacher. I want to inspire others to play, and a big part of that is inspiring my lady drummers out there to keep playing. I want my students to continue playing and make their own way in this industry. I love giving them the tools needed so that they can find joy in playing throughout the years just as I have. I also want to be respected by my fellow drummers and until then, I will continue breaking barriers and practicing/playing until I do.

Jyn 1

To find out more about Jyn Yates you can visit her website

Also be sure to subscribe to her YouTube channel and twitter

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