Yahli - "Drumming always helps me release stress & feel calmer. I don’t know how I would’ve expressed myself if I didn’t have the drums." - Stereo Stickman

Yahli “Drumming always helps me release stress & feel calmer. I don’t know how I would’ve expressed myself if I didn’t have the drums.”


Professional drummer and social media sensation Yahli has been developing her rhythmic abilities since just 11 years of age. The Israel-based creative has connected with hundreds of thousands of fans for her uniquely versatile and passionate approach to playing the drums.

We were blessed with the chance to interview Yahli, to find out more about her story, what drives her as a drummer, and what lies ahead. Here’s the conversation in full.

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Yahli – what a pleasure, thanks for the interview! You’ve been playing drums since you were just 11 years old – what got you into them, and how did you find the determination to learn and overcome frustrating dificulties at such a young age?

Thanks for having me! Before I started playing drums, I actually played the trumpet for three years! My dad and grandfather both used to play, and the trumpet was just laying around the house. Throughout my years of playing the trumpet I was always jealous of kids who played the drums so at one point I just decided to switch instruments and haven’t left the drums ever since.

I think I was so passionate about this instrument that I didn’t have an issue with overcoming difficulties. And if I needed help, my drum teacher and parents were always there to support me and push me to not give up and keep practicing.

You’ve amassed hundreds of thousands of followers on social media – what do you think it is about the drums and your performances in particular that’s connecting so well?

It’s hard to say but I believe that it’s the connection between my passion, joy, and creativity. Throughout the last few years, I’ve been developing my style and my sound, hoping to form something that will be completely mine, I keep sharing this process on social media and I guess people enjoy seeing that.

How did you come to work as part of the poet tribute show, and what did that experience teach you about life as a full-time musician and performer?

I was in the Israeli army band and the poet tribute show was part of my service there. It was very much “army like” experience but still taught me a lot about being a musician in real life. We used to do full days of rehearsals, sometimes even 12 hours of playing the show over and over until it was perfect. We had a very tough director who gave me a bit of a hard time but taught me how to be a professional.

I learned that no matter what’s going on in my life right now, I must always play my part as good as I can, keep high energies and be a professional. The show came out amazing and was very successful, we played over 80 shows all over the country.

They say there is often a scarcity of drummers – one drummer to every ten bands in some cases. Why do you think the drums are more of a niche instrument than, say, the guitar?

To be honest I don’t think that this instrument is that niche. It’s true that there are more guitarists than drummers, mainly because anyone can pick up a guitar and play it anywhere and at any age. Drums take out a lot of space, they’re very loud and a lot of parents wouldn’t let their kids have a drum set in the house.

About the “one drummer to every ten bands” saying – I think that’s true in Israel but for other reasons. In Israel it’s very hard to be a fully working drummer when you’re under 30. They just won’t let you play in the big production when you’re younger, even if they think you’re a good drummer. So, it ends up being the older drummers who play in most productions, and that leads to a situation of one drummer playing in a lot of successful bands.

Do you play as part of a band, or get many requests to?

Yes, I currently play in about 6 working bands. They are not bands where everyone writes the music together, I’m usually playing for the lead singer. I do get a lot of request to join bands but I usually don’t take them unless it’s music that I really connect to or enjoy playing.

Tell us about the e-book and video series Licks, what prompted you to create this?

The e-book was created and transcribed by Jesvin Mathew. He asked me if I wanted to collaborate on this project and I was very excited about this opportunity and wanted to make it happen. The e-book is a compilation of transcribed licks from my videos, where people can learn my licks from. This was the first drum related product I ever released and there are more to come.

Drumming is one of the most physically demanding musical instruments, is there a therapeutic aspect to the process of playing and creating rhythms for you?

Yes, there definitely is. Drumming always helps me release stress and feel calmer. It’s a great way to distract my mind from the day-to-day difficulties and concentrate on creating and playing. It’s also the best way for me to express myself, I don’t know how I would’ve expressed myself if I didn’t have the drums.

What’s your most ambitious aspiration right now, your biggest dream?

It’s a combination between being a well-known independent drummer and playing for big names in the industry. I feel like when you’re only a drummer in a singer’s band you kind of give up on putting yourself in the front. It’s not a bad thing and touring the world is a dream and can be a huge accomplishment, but along that I want to be known in the drumming community and have an opportunity to give masterclasses and play in big drum festivals.

Is there anything else we should know?

I will be releasing a drum sample pack very soon! I’ve been working on this project for a long time now and I’m super excited about it. Stay tuned!

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Find Yahli on Instagram.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

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