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Article: We Are Oaklandish: Aaron Davis, Drummer

Aaron smiling, with his drum kit on the shores of Lake Merritt.

We Are Oaklandish: Aaron Davis, Drummer

My experience coming up in Oakland has been an interesting journey. There are people who love me and support me, and others who dislike me and are not supportive at all.

But, I’ve been living here for almost 22 years of my life and love my city.

My journey as a drummer was very tough. I started playing drums at age 2 and I’m 21 now. It’s tough is because it’s all about who you know. I don’t wanna move down to LA to get gigs and I think I should be able to gig in my own city. Another hard part is practicing when my neighbors like to complain about my play. Especially with the low budget I have, it’s really hard to find places to practice. 

But what I love about drumming is I get to show the world my talent.

I first started performing at Oakland First Friday back in 2015. I heard about Lake Merritt Farmers’ Market about a year later and someone told me I should go set up there. So back in the summer of 2016, I started playing there at the lake, across the street from the farmers’ market with just drums, no amps. 

In September of 2016, I had an incident with two racist people, a white male and female and who did not like me drumming there. Then one Saturday, the lady came over and handed me a sticky note with some faulty information about noise, and then knocked down one of my cymbals. But I still go and I enjoy playing there. I love it.

Oakland is special because we have our own sound, our own art, and culture, and what makes us unique is that there’s is no other city like Oakland.

What makes me wanna keep going is watching my favorite drummers like CJ Thompson Corey Baugh, Thomas Pridgen, Eric Moore, Devon Taylor, Chris Kee, Josiah Maddox, TJ Pole and so many more. Shout out to my family,

I also and thankful to my grandpa who always takes me to the lake, my dad, and my sister. My besties, everyone. They keep me going, tell me it’s your time. Stay with God.


Oakland is diverse and Oakland is proud. 'We Are Oaklandish' is a storytelling project created to highlight just that.

These are stories that shed light on the different experiences, memories, and opinions of the people in the city we all love. They are people who give our city its oddball spirit, its passion for justice, and its creative vigor. They lift us up with laughter, peace, nourishment, and authentic hard work.

They make us proud to call this town our home. They are Oaklandish.

Read more: We Are Oaklandish

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