“I believed in myself and I knew I could fight past it. I knew I could find a way.”

Mike Sleath is one of Canada’s most in-demand drummers who now performs all over the world with Shawn Mendes. Mike, like most of us, spent his first few years playing for $200 per night. And yes, he had to share that $200 with the band. After being rejected from Humber College three times he had a heart to heart with his mom. The conversation was along the lines of “well, you can keep music in your life but maybe it is time to find a job.”

Even considering the constant rejection, he continued to apply himself as best he could and he wasn’t going to back down. Mike is a determined musician who is pushing himself with practice, bringing hybrid drum sets to the next level, touring non-stop, and keeping himself in good health and a healthy state of mind. Mike Sleath is proof that when the universe is signaling you to give up, respond with a good strategy and try again, harder.

Mike endorses DW Drums, Remo, Los Cabos, Sabian, Drum Dots, LP, Big Fat Snare Drum, Roland, and Stone Thrones Drum Seat Covers.

In this episode:

You will hear about…

  • The recent Shawn Mendes tour
  • Mike’s earliest days with the drums and his Uncle’s Ludwig drums
  • Mike’s crazy hybrid kit for Mendes gigs and the steep learning curve to learn that setup
  • Some tips for playing big stadiums and large rooms
  • How much Mike is playing below his technical abilities for a pop gig
  • How Mike finds a routine for drum practice during his tour life
  • Mike’s story of how he worked past being rejected three times from Humber College
  • If social skills are more important than drumming skills
  • How we can get bored with “our sound” but continue working toward your strengths as a musician

Why you should listen:

For starters, this episode is FUN! Mike is a total bro and we had the best time hanging out and discussing his career and thoughts. A lot of interesting points came up that I think will inspire drummers to work hard and not beat themselves up over rejection. Mike could have easily thrown in the towel and said to himself that drumming professionally wasn’t meant for him.

A saying that I really love is, “nothing good is easy, and nothing easy is good.” I think this applies directly to Mike’s career and I really respect him for sticking with it and making something great happen.

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