Stefano Cestra: The Percussionist with the 'It' Factor
As a drummer, percussionist and music producer, Stefano Cestra really moves things in the right direction. Recognized as one of the pioneers of live percussion in the London club scene, he truly puts his soul into every performance. We decided to have a chat with him to learn more about him and how he navigates through the Headliner platform.
Tell us about yourself. How did you get started?
I haven't always been only a drummer. In fact, I actually started my musical journey as a pianist and keyboard player. I began playing piano at a very young age, following my older sister's footsteps. Unfortunately, she had to quit, but I kept at it.
I have always been attracted by the rhythmical session of any track I've been listening to. Because of this, my attention slowly shifted to the art of drums and percussion. This passion for musical instruments pushed me to the next level and eventually, I graduated in piano and drums at the Accademia Musicale Fiorentina in Florence, Italy. Later on I got my degree in Drums and Percussion at the London prestigious Drumtech in 1999.
I'm currently performing as drummer and percussionist at various gigs and events. I'm also recording and producing my rock album. Stay tuned.
What styles of music do you play? Who are your influences?
When playing percussion my style of music is a hybrid of rock and Latin with Arabic hints. My style is very distinctive and highly energetic. The list of artists and bands that have been inspiring me is not short, but generally, my influences are in the field of classic rock.
What types of events do you usually play at? How drastically do your sets change for each event?
I usually play at private events, nightclub gigs and band gigs. I think every gig is unique. I'm very versatile and I always adjust my set according to the vibes of the moment. In these types of performances it's paramount to be able to play different styles with confidence, as circumstances change constantly and rapidly.
You’ve booked a couple of events through Headliner. What advice do you have for other acts on securing a booking through the platform?
I would suggest keeping the dialog open with the client. From the start, give as many details of your performance as possible, including what you will need on stage and off. This will help a lot.
What do you think is the key to being a successful musician?
Put your soul into it and try not to let the mechanical side of it take over. A musician is a performer and a performer has to feel himself and what he is doing in order to transfer this emotion to the listener.
Do you often collaborate with other artists?
Yes I do, either through band sessions or private events. Percussion can easily pair with any other instrument.
What advice would you give to new percussionists who are considering taking on work for private events?
Again, put yourself into it and don't overdo it if it's not necessary. Remember that for you it's probably only another one of your gigs, but for the client or audience in general, it's very likely to be a very special night to remember. Also remember to have fun...
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Well, playing drums is based on rhythm and rhythm is what makes people dance. Seeing the crowd dance happily to my grooves is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. It's also great to receive positive feedback at the end of the gig.