Getting chummy with Pally Zephyr Khambatta


From being in one of the top schools in Singapore to dropping out for music, Zephyr is one of the rare few we know who have done it successfully. For someone who has been through a series of (painful) life lessons, he sure knows when it is time to call it quits, in order to go full-steam in music, which is his life passion. In his own words: "It’s like a break-up and it definitely hurts but if the person just does not cut it, there is no point prolonging the pain." In the midst of sharing his experience through writing a book - ‘Surviving Music School’, we caught up with the man and his music.

What is a deep passion of yours?

Simply put: helping the world and the people around me.

How did you come about discovering starting your interest in music/drums/rapping?

It was funny. Drumming started after a friend suggested that I do so since he kept noticing me dance and drum my fingers on tables and anything I could lay my hands on! Once I threw myself into the music industry, the rest is history.

Tell us a bit about your journey so far?

It has been a lot of ups and downs, but mostly I realised that music is a celebration. If my mission is to make the world dance then I have to just focus on that. Money, friends, and colleagues come and go, but the mission stays the same. If you’re lucky, family usually sticks by you through it all. Have faith.

What’s your daily routine like?

There is no fixed routine for me. A great start would be a good breakfast of at least 3 eggs, oranges for immunity, some nuts, coffee and if I’m still hungry then carbs like oatmeal. Then I just get on with my music and lots of practice. Outside work, there is some meditation and exercise thrown in at least 4 times a week (I try!).

Any happy moments? What made it so?

I had a great diploma graduation recital in 2012. It was my very own vision and concert on drums. After debating with my own head of music and dean of music at LASALLE, I managed to get the flexible theatre space at LASALLE for a personal full day show. When I showed up at the Esplanade later that night, my head of music Timothy O’Dwyer said, “Ah, look, it’s the man of the moment.” Apparently, the dean had communicated to him that I put up a splendid performance. His comments came despite “fighting” with me all semester. After the event ended, over a few beers he told me, “You’re the ringleader. This is a blessing and a curse and a great responsibility on your shoulders. Live up to it.”

Tell us one recent achievement.

I wrote, composed, produced, and post-produced my own song. People contributed their thoughts and opinions but I didn’t need a producer, or a team to work with. I did it all by myself, for over 6 months, while I was in Singapore and Canada.  

Drumming is a great way to use your mind and body at the same time. From kids who have too much energy to adults who complain about not finding time to work out, drumming is a one size fits all type activity. Great for anyone with a highly stressful lifestyle to let loose! Zephyr’s 1-to-1 drum lessons experience can be found on our Pally website! 

Teaching all ages and skill levels from 3 year olds all the way to 65+ years old in a variety of genres, Zephyr brings a holistic approach to drumming education. He aims to keep music at the forefront of teaching to give the student a well-rounded understanding of what they are doing and having a real shot at making their mark in the industry should they wish to. 

What are the biggest misconceptions about being a musician?

That you become a pop star just like that *snaps fingers*

Was there any interesting stuff which happened while teaching drums?

Kids took a genuine liking towards me and parents have told me, “If not for you, my kid will never like music.”

How do you determine the geniuses while teaching them?

You get a feeling about a person’s gifts, and you develop those. 

What is the ultimate goal for being a good drummer?

A good drummer serves the music. Drums are but an instrument in a greater whole that is music. Music is but an instrument in a greater whole that is life. 

Choose one: Money or Experience

Experience. Money is, after all, an experience as well.

Being in the industry as an avid recording and performing artist, diversifying from a degree in music (specialising in drums) to now releasing his own songs and playing for other artists, Zephyr recently released his new hit ‘Sail Away’. "It is my firm belief that good music is one of the most vital ingredients in creating a better world for all of us." - Zephyr

Drums are not the end game; music is.

Do check out his latest music video 'Sail Away' here!


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