This article is part of our On The Record series focusing on amazing musicians that have set a Guinness World Record. We discuss their record attempt, musical careers and current events.
For some musicians, it takes years of practice and dedication to become stage-ready and morph into a professional musician. And then there’s Julian Pavone. He currently holds the Guinness World Record for being the Youngest Professional Drummer. He claimed the record with his 20th concert on March 29, 2009 when he was 4 years 319 days old. Today, he is a spry 16-year-old and is hitting his stride. As it turns out, this Detroit-area prodigy was just getting started.
At such a young age, you can imagine how crucial his family was to accommodate his gift. “It really all started in the womb,” Pavone says. “My dad would put headphones on my mom’s stomach and play a bunch of Beatles songs, and because I was breech and my feet were facing down, I would kick to the beat of I Am The Walrus in particular, and my dad looked at my mom and said, ‘He’s going to be the world’s youngest drummer.’ At three months old, my dad, who is a drummer, would put me on his snare drum, and I would hold his sticks and hit the toms while listening to music. At six months old, I would do the same but now behind the kit in my highchair.” If it takes a village to raise a child, they no doubt got one heck of a concert!
It’s no surprise Julian’s father, Dino Pavone, ushered his son along into the world of music. Julian was obsessed with drumming! “My father would have me practice for hours every day, and I loved it. I didn’t want to stop. From ages one to two, I was practicing two hours a day minimum. From two on, it was three to five hours a day, seven days a week. There was one day where I practiced seven hours in one day.” His father has also always been Julian’s manager and agent, so he took care of the responsibility of endorsements, bookings, and appearances. With over 50,000 publications, 300 television and news appearances, and scores of headlining performances, it’s safe to say his dad’s job is as secure as Fort Knox.
His dad handles the business side of Julian’s music, but that doesn’t stop his sister, Annalisa, from being one of his biggest fans. She has the gift of music as well. “Our support has been reciprocal because she has such an incredible voice,” Julian explains. “She was actually the reason we made it onto the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Since I’ve recently committed to producing music as well as continuing to play the drums, she listens to my music and gives her honest opinions, helps with critiquing lyrics, helps me with vocals, and sings on my tracks.” It’s no wonder they’ve been working together as of late.
For Julian’s record, there wasn’t an officially sanctioned event or a stopwatch or anything like that. He didn’t even have to try. He just did what he loves to do. “There’s nothing difficult about having this record. It’s an honor to hold it because Guinness is the highest regarded and respected organization,” says Julian. It does, however, give him credibility when it comes to bookings and marketing. He doesn’t have any other music-related records he’s aiming to break at the moment, but don’t count him out of the books just yet! “It would be cool to break the most hotdogs eaten in one minute, but I don’t plan on breaking that one just yet,” he jokes.
Out of all the opportunities his record has helped provide, one sticks out above them all. “My favorite [experience] has to be making appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show when I was three and seven. She was so kind and considerate, and The Oprah Shows just stick out the most in my mind.”
The current Coronavirus pandemic has allowed Julian to hone his skills in production. “Last year, I really took the time to think about my future, and what I see myself doing,” he explains. “What I saw was music production. So, I committed to making music and have been practicing ever since. With this pandemic, I have had so much more free time, and have been able to really get down to business with production.” Breaking up the monotony is easily accomplished with music. “This really helped keep me busy and not get bored with all the extra time.”
He’s only 16 years old, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t learned a thing or two about the music industry. “If you really want to commit to music, you have to dive in headfirst and never look back,” says Julian. “Although I could play the drums and do extremely well in school, I knew I needed to expand my horizons to other aspects of the music industry to become truly successful, such as music production. For my whole life until 9th grade, all I knew was drumming and good grades. It’s not like I’m a rebel when it comes to school and I chose music as a substitute for education. I had to really decide what I wanted in life because I knew taking the hardest classes and getting good grades wasn’t going to get me there. While I could take the route that is already laid out and has been traveled by the majority of adults today (spending all my time and energy on school, hoping to get into the best college, and then getting a decent job), I’d rather create my own path with music, even if it takes more effort and energy. So as a final piece of advice, to anyone looking to get into the arts as a career, make sure you put as much effort and energy into it as you can as that’s the only way I see myself making it in the production aspect of the music industry.”
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I'm the co-owner of The Music Box and a lifelong musician as a euphonium player. The son of a band director, alumnus of the University of Alabama and father of 3, I keep busy on my Peloton and managing multiple businesses.