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Highlighting Black Music Month: YML and Friends

Posted at 6:53 AM, Jun 27, 2024

WMAR — A dynamic drummer and some of his talented friends have been putting people on notice that they can jam with just about anybody.

With a heavy influence from the GoGo sound of Washington D.C., YML & Friends is a blend of different music genres all wrapped up into one live band.

Their leader Dominique "YML" Lee, was inspired by the seasoned pros he watched from a young age throughout the DMV and Baltimore area. He was first drawn to the drums in church spending a lot of time his mom and aunts who were in the choir.

"I just remember music being a part of my every day life," Lee said. "Being at church seeing musicians, some of the greatest in the area being from Baltimore."

Over the years his passion grew, while learning from people like Paul "Buggy" Edwards of the Backyard Band, the late great Chuck Brown and many more.

Instead of pulling from just one of his mentors to model his drumming style after, he decided to use it all.

"I meshed all of their styles into one and it’s kind of adding my own flavor to it," Lee said.

A versatility that's earned him nicknames like "The Human Metronome." One of his bandmates, singer Corey Nyell, also compared YML's talent to the drummer from the world-famed band The Roots.

"He’s kind of like DC's very own QuestLove," Corey said. "He just rides the track like a Cadillac."

The kind of skills you can see on full display when YML plays with R&B star Raheem Devaughn.

"I think I bring versatility because I don’t approach each genre traditionally," Lee added.

As the voice of the band, Corey makes a point to give the audience a show; often moving around the room to get the people involved in the performance.

"As long as I'm on that stage and I give the crowd what I'm feeling they know that they’re rocking with me," Corey said. "That’s all that matters to me."

In Celebration of Black Music Month, YML and Corey Nyell shared with WMAR-2 News, what Black music means to them.

For Corey it means feeling. "No genre would be possible without feeling, not a single one," Corey said.

YML thought of a trip he made to Africa to perform in 2017, where he realized how you can trace the rhythm and sound of GoGo back to its roots.

"[Black people] are responsible for a lot if not all genres, from classical to jazz to blues, gospel country," Lee said.

You can go to the linkHERE learn more about YML & Friends. You can also follow YML and the band on social media.

Instagram: @official_yml