Montserratian Drummer Delroy Joseph Jr: Playing for the Stars

Wherever music was being played around Montserrat, you were sure to find Delroy Joseph Jr. in the mix. Now, this 23-year-old is playing drums for some well-known names in the music business. In August, he played drums for Kes and Shaggy at their BBC1 Xtra show. Discover Montserrat caught up to Delroy to discuss pursuing his dream, while pursuing his education and adjusting to life in a big city.

Delroy discovered his love for music, especially the drums, at the age of three.

Delroy Joseph Jt at BBC1 Studio

He has since expanded his repertoire to guitar, bass, keyboards, and the steel pan. While at Montserrat Secondary School and after, he played with Pulse, Volcanic Vybz and started his own band, Acoustic Soundz. He also taught steel pan at some of the local schools.

“I’ve always seen music as a potential career option, but I was very firm on this decision at the age of 18 when I was in my final year of college,” the musician told Discover Montserrat.

“I moved to the UK (in 2022) because I felt I’d reached a point in my life where everything I was doing where music was concerned in Montserrat were just diminished returns. I felt stagnant. What really pushed me to make this decision was a recommendation by my good friend Nia Golden to pursue a music degree in the UK and being let go from an office job after probation due to the manager’s ability to see that the job I was in was not right for me,” he explained.

“Moving to the UK was definitely a big adjustment for me but at the same time I felt in my element. My biological father Delroy Joseph Sr. was a big help. He taught me how the currency works, debit and credit cards and how they work in relation to credit scores, National Insurance numbers, getting around with public transport and basic budgeting tips. Everything felt futuristic, especially where money was concerned. Just being able to send money in just a few seconds to anyone via a banking app and using a debit card everywhere.

Delroy Joseph Jr.

“The most difficult part for me was definitely the weather. I’ve never experienced winter before and sometimes it was unbearable, but I managed to push through by staying indoors as much as I could. Sometimes it was a bit difficult to get around at first because I always got lost or went in the wrong direction. It took some getting used to, but I quickly figured out that our phones must be part of our everyday life as they’re there to help us get around.

“I’m currently studying for a joint honour’s bachelor’s degree in popular music performance and music production. I am currently using the student finance scheme from the UK government.

“My playing opportunities with Kes, Etana, Tanya Stephens and other artists came about when I started playing for this reggae cover band named Reggae Street. We eventually reached a point where we sounded professional enough to back any reggae artist coming to the UK and we all agreed that this is a business venture we should pursue. I took it upon myself to try to break the band into this business by reaching out to our first artist, which was Etana. I wrote a message to the manager proposing that we’d be the backing band for her next UK shows and to our surprise we got the job. It was through this job that we connected with Keyboardist Andre Hall who’s played for many artists in the UK. At short notice he joined Reggae Street as the lead keyboardist for a few gigs when our other keyboardist dropped out. After these shows Andre has kept us on his list of contacts for any shows he may have in the future. This was where everything started for me including the infamous BBC appearance of me on the drums playing for Kes and Shaggy. He was also the one that put me on to the Tanya Stephens gigs.

He also shared that his aspirations “as a drummer and musical director is to play in the world’s biggest arenas and stadiums with mainstream artists in the pop circuit.”

His recommendation to aspiring musicians is to “take your craft seriously, always research what the world is doing outside of your hometown. The internet is a tool to gauge the level you should be at versus where you are. Build your roots locally before venturing out and only migrate when it feels right to your soul. Don’t underestimate the importance of building a network of people you can rely on and always have a good character because your character will get you a job before your skills. Most of the time spent with your band is off stage. Take your education seriously and never pursue a career that you don’t want for yourself. If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Don’t be afraid of the word NO. Try again until you get a YES. One yes will turn into many opportunities.”

We wish Delroy Joseph Jr. every success as he pursues his musical dreams.

Follow him on Instagram and Facebook at Delroy Joseph Jr.

Check out some of his work below.