By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | January 09, 2019
Understanding that interest in any field requires serious practice sometimes takes a lifetime. Many are of the impression that it is talent alone that takes individuals places, be it in sport or music. Even an individual who is talented, say in music, feels that they will automatically top the charts.
Johanne Astrid Poulsen, all of 12 years, is already way beyond her years in her thinking. A drummer from Denmark, Johanne hit the headlines in 2017 when she won the TV Show Denmark’s Got Talent. “It’s 20 percent talent and 80 percent hard work,” she says when asked if she does not find the various gadgets, which comprise a drum set, complicated.
Ever since she was six years old, Johanne has been drumming away, initially thinking it was a toy, to now professionally playing with the big boys on the big stage at various concerts all over Denmark. Wherever she goes, she is a rage—the center of attraction. However, she fights shyness and stays away from the limelight as much as she can. “I do not really like to be the center of attention,” she says matter-of-factly!
Opening Doorz caught up with the talented kid who loves Led Zeppelin and knows that the only way to be at the top of your game is to “Practice, practice and practice!” Yes, she also knows “it should be the music and soul of a song that should be in focus—not you as a drummer.”
At what age did you get fascinated with the drums and did you start learning it professionally, immediately?
I always loved rock music since I was a baby. I was gifted a toy kit at age of six and a real kit two years later, at age eight. Initially, I just kind of played for fun. Around age nine I got more structured in my practice and today I practice two hours every day. This is apart from my band rehearsals and rehearsals for concerts.
Were you able to handle all the various elements that come with a drum kit? The choke, bass, snare, cymbals, toms…? Did not you find it complicated?
It came fairly easy to me. Actually, it is 20 percent talent and 80 percent hard work!
Did you take a liking to it, instantly?
How much of a role did your parents play in your choice of musical instrument?
They pushed me first the year, but when I started seeing results I took over myself. I got a lot of encouragement from my parents when they saw I was keen on drumming. Today, my father is my coach, roadie, manager, and driver!
You don’t generally find girls taking to the drums, what got you fascinated with it?
Well, my father bought the drums for me. And that is probably the simple answer!
Do you play any other musical instrument?
I do, but I’m not really got at them as I am with the drums. I sing and play with other instruments—just for fun.
You are really a rage when you start on the drums, what is the audience’s reaction like when you come on stage, even before you begin to play?
People are really sweet. I do not really like to be the center of attention, but take my time to thank everyone that is interested in me and my drumming.
Have you performed in any concerts/planned to start your own tour?
Yes. I have played many concerts since my win in 2017. The record was four concerts in one week!
Which school do you go to and what Grade are you in?
I go to a normal Danish School and I’m studying in Grade VI now.
Have any other girls been inspired to take to the drums after seeing you?
Yes. The music schools have many more girls wanting to play instruments now. I am proud of that. I also teach one young girl myself!
What is the secret of being a good drummer?
Practice. Practice. Practice. And forget the competitive sport-drum approach. It should be the music and soul of a song in focus—not you as a drummer. Many musicians forget that.
Which drummer do you look up to?
Laust Sonne (D-A-D), Michael Miley (Rival Sons), Bonham (Led Zeppelin), and many others. But these are the main guys.
What is your five-year plan?
To have as much fun with my music as possible! My parents tell me that I should also have other kinds of fun next year. They see that I am too much with the drums!