Victor Singer is a multi-genre percussionist hailing from France. Playing with artists ranging from metal axe-man John 5, to Gene Evalo Jr.’s Blues Traveler, Singer has proven himself as a Jack of all trades on the drums. We discuss Singer’s background in professional music schools across the world, and how the open-mindedness of US conservatories inspires his musical outlook. We also get a sneak peek on possible upcoming projects.
You’ve studied drums at musical conservatories around the world. How does the schooling at these institutions compare between the United States and Europe?
It was interesting for me to experience all these different approaches on teaching music.
In France, the education was less flexible and I had less hours per week of classes. You had to take specific classes to complete the program, and it focused only on the instrument and the theory. Also, when I studied in Lille back in France, the only style they taught for drums was Jazz.
On the other hand, in the United States, even though I also had required classes, I had more freedom to choose classes I wanted. The schools here are also open to different aspects of music, such as the music business, being able to use a DAW, or even being able to use software like Photoshop. In the world we live in now, it is necessary for any musicians to be familiar with all these skills, not only the instrument.
You got your start playing at a lot of different musical contests, including the TV show X-Factor. Is this a common way for musicians to get exposure in Europe?
Indeed. I remember playing or sending applications to a lot of contests, both in a band situation or just as a drummer. It can be a good way to get exposure, but most of the time those contests are tough because they usually required to spend money to get in a good position, or to already have a good fan base that would come to the shows.
What made you decide to take your talents to the United States?
Obviously, I knew about Berklee. I had interest in that school since this is one of the best music schools in the world, and some of my favorite musicians went there. I remember one day seeing through social media that one of my friends got accepted to Berklee College of Music, and this helped bring me toward the decision to audition, which took place in Paris.
Then, concerning my current residence in Los Angeles, this is one of the most important cities for the music business. You can meet a lot of people, and you can find great opportunities for gigs, auditions, etc. Moving there seemed to be the right thing to do to bring my career to the next level.
You’ve been associated with some heavy metal musicians like John 5. Are schools you’ve attended, like Berklee, receptive to more aggressive genres like metal, or did you find yourself confined to more traditional, “conservative” genres while at school?
Berklee is definitely more Jazz oriented, but the school is also open to every genre. I did not find myself confined to traditional styles also becauseI had the chance to meet people from all around the world, all having a different culture and point of view. Studying there helped me develop an open mind and listen/practice all kinds of music.
“The schools here are open to different aspects of music, such as the music business, being able to use a DAW, or even being able to use software like Photoshop. In the world we live in now, it is necessary for musicians to be familiar with all these skills, not only the instrument.”