With a family lineage that leans heavily to drumming, Tariq Ellis’ gravitation to playing that instrument was a natural step. He has followed in the footsteps of his father, Tito Ellis, a longstanding member of the Royal Barbados Police Force and drum extraordinaire with multiple bands on the entertainment circuit.
The youthful musician who has been drumming from the age of three, has already performed alongside some of the best in the business on the island. The extensive list of well-known entertainers the 16-year-old musician has backed includes Edwin Yearwood, RPB, Grynner, Adrian Clarke, Mikey, Marzville, Faith Callender, Biggie Irie and Natahlee Burke, to name a few.
Possessing an overwhelming passion for all things musical, he is not content to simply walk in his father’s shadow. The young entertainer’s interest in music is multidimensional. With a strong determination to plot his own musical path, he has been equipping himself with the tools for success.
It is not often that you see a drummer who is accustomed to making his magic behind the scenes step into the limelight. But that is exactly what the entertainer has done with his debut soca release.
Despite his recent emergence in the big-league, Tariq is by no means a novice when it comes to singing. The student of the St. Leonards’ School has attained a Grade 4 in voice from the Royal School of Music and is a member of his school’s award-winning choir. He has participated in the Junior Soca Monarch competition, advancing to the semi-final round.
It was the song Up and Up, by one of his favourite artistes, Skinny Fabulous, that gave him the much-needed push to start this new part of his journey. He can not say if it was the riddim or the melody that resonated with him, but this popular, catchy song confirmed in his mind that this was an avenue that he wanted to pursue.
Under the stage name Reckon Drums, a moniker influenced by his friend Renaldo Griffith, he has taken up position behind the mic and takes centre stage with the launch of his single. The sweet soca tune De Way How Ya Whine has an innate ability to make you want to move your waistline and has been receiving positive feedback since its release.
The artiste recently got the opportunity to test his song in front of a live audience. Though he is accustomed to performing before large crowds, this was not enough to keep his nerves at bay during his first performance of his original song at McBride’s and then at the D’Music Summer Soca Fest.
“I was really, really nervous the first time I actually performed on stage in front people, but when I got on the stage, I let all of my fears go.” Thankfully, his nerves were not evident to the crowd as he delivered an energy-packed performance that belied any initial trepidation.
Reckon Drums’ input on this initial track goes beyond simply delivering smooth lyrics on the lead vocals. It extends to the technical components as well. He shares writing credits with Kevin Watson and production credits with Randy Eastmond of Quantum Productions. Eastmond, who has assumed the role of mentor, has taken him under his wing and has been showing him the ropes.
The top-class production team for this song included industry veteran Anthony Lowhar. Tariq’s contribution to the process is monumental and must be underscored because of his age.
Ultimately, the musician wants to create music that leaves listeners craving more each time they listen to it. Being an instrumentalist, a part of his musical formula is the incorporation of sweet melodies. These are influenced by his disposition as he explained to Bajan Vibes: “My music expresses the happiness and love I have within myself.”
Beyond his talent on the drums, Tariq can also play the keyboards and is adept with Ableton programming. Like any other teenager, he quite enjoys simple partying and along his musical journey the fun-loving teenager has enjoyed a stint as a disc jockey. The multi talented entertainer is a songwriter as well. He is focused on learning different styles and using highly successful artistes as his benchmark.
Propelled by a thirst for success, Reckon Drums plans to make music his full-time career. He is guided by his personal mantra: “Stay true to the music and work hard.”
The talented teenager is determined to explore the full scope of the entertainment field and draws inspiration from Darien Bailey, Randy Eastmond, Renaldo Griffith, Kereesa Chase and most significantly, his dad.
One local performer Tariq would be thrilled to work closely with is King Cudi. The creative expressed to Bajan Vibes that their voices would work very well together. Admittedly, it is the performer’s positive attitude and vibes which push him to work harder.
Reckon Drums does have plans to release more music, but he is saving additional material for next year. In the meantime, music lovers can enjoy a sneak peek at what he has to offer on his social media platform. (STT)