Black History 365: Derrick “D’Mar” Martin

Derrick “D’MAR” Martin’s is standing between two worlds where the gap grows by the day and D’MAR is the epicenter .He is simply a force of nature.  D’MAR is a musician, producer, songwriter, singer, educator, entertainer and motivational speaker. He has been traveling the world and spent 17 years as the lead drummer for the legendary Little Richard. D’MAR has also worked with a number of other artists such as: Dorothy Moore, Bobby Rush, Vastie Jackson, Ali Woodson (The Temptations), Big Jack Johnson, Billy Preston, Roy Gaines, Mitch Woods, Mark Hummel, Jackie Payne, Kid Andersen, Syl Johnson, Bob Margolin, Carla Thomas, Wendy Moten and Tutu Jones just to name a few. 

His career started when most of us were still playing with skateboards and riding Big Wheels. From the moment he beat on his mother’s couch at the age of five to the present, D’MAR has done what he loves to do: perform and play the drums. It was natural for him to be “All-City Band”, first chair in the percussion section and section leader before he was an upper classman in high school. What is more amazing is after working at a local record store for a couple of months while in college, he decided to fulfill a childhood dream and goal: he would play drums for a living and work for himself. As it would happen, D’MAR had an opportunity to audition for the living legend, Little Richard in which he got the drummer spot in the band! 

Within three years, he was the lead drummer and the youngest member of the Little Richard band. Even though he was young and surrounded by fame and fortune, the lifestyle he lived was not one of great jet setting. He took the time to learn the craft from one of the founding fathers of Rock and Roll. He began to develop his Berry Gordy business acumen and learned to identify business opportunities, which led him to open several businesses, which are still active today. 

17 years later, D’MAR has traveled globally, entertained amongst the hottest stars, and served as co-owner of Airtight Productions for twenty years and put together one of the most innovative music education programs ever seen. Not only is D’MAR in the business of producing, being an artist, teacher and musician, in 2009, he landed a role in the movie Chess: Who do You Love in which he plays Muddy Waters’ drummer, “Elgin Evans”. He is currently a member of the award winning band, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats and continues to release his own solo records. Despite his full schedule and full life, D’MAR gives back to his community through volunteering with the youth arts programs. He has also created music education program called Drums & More, which he performs for schools throughout the world. D’MAR is currently a member of the prestigious arts organization, Young Audiences of Northern California, based in San Francisco, CA. 

 Drums & More is a clinic and lecture series of unique caliber. Whereas some people speak from either an educational or a practical perspective, D’MAR’s program offers the best of both worlds. Drums & More is an informative and energetic program that is covers the history of the drum set and helps inspire students to embrace arts & education. 

This program goes hand in and with a new venture called Building A Better You that focuses on arts, education and health. 

D’MAR is continuing to grow and refine his craft. As he does so, he is always finding ways to share his lessons whether it is from the stage, in the studio or in the classroom.