Darryl “Lil’ Man” Howell, 24, Chicago-born drummer started playing the drums at the age of 4 with the children’s choir at his church.
“The beginning of playing drums for me was God given,” said Howell.
Growing up around music, Howell‘s passion for the drums grew. By 17, he had decided to make his passion his career with the support of other musicians, family and friends.
“It’s like you need two beats to operate his heart. Without one beat, there is no him. Music is his everything,” said Shocking Truth member, Jerrel Johnson.
Howell began honing his craft by listening to drummers, including Chris Dave, Teddy Campbell, and George “Spanky” Mccurdy and Rexell Hardy. Howell and his friends spent countless hours in his parent’s basement practicing.
“I enjoyed the practices at home,” said his mother, LaTanzya Howell. “It was all music to my ears. As a mother, it became a passion for me because it was a passion for him. It’s a passion and it’s easy to love.”
Howell began playing with several local acts and mainstream artists.
Growing up playing in the church world and moving to the secular world was a smooth transition for Howell.
“It can only be hard if you let people get to you. I first cared about my family’s view and then my church family’s views. Neither of them have judged me or discouraged me for making the transition. As for anyone else I can care less. God is still in everything I do,” said Howell.
Keeping God in everything he does, Howell has been a producer and writer as well as a drummer .Throughout his career he has been able work for artists such as BeBe and CeCe Winans, Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp, Dewayne Woods, Smokie Norful, Jay Sean, Avant and Nicki Minaj (Femme fatale tour).
“My most memorable moment so far is performing ‘Monster’ with Kanye West on the Nicki Minaj Tour. I’m a huge Kanye fan, so that takes the cake. I have so many more moments that come close,” said Howell.
Howell is signed to Sky High Entertainment as a producer working with artists MaryMary, Tank and Mario. He also produces for local Chicago artists Todd Dulaney, Kevin Gray, Aaron Sledge, Percy Gray’s Joshua’s Troop and more.
He has written songs for A few artists but most notably Black Entertainment Television “Sunday’s Best” finalist Jessica Reedy. He was endorsed by Vater Drumsticks and Yung and Reckless Clothing.
Howell said he has learned a valuable lesson during his successful career: remain humble. He said there is always someone new, better and more exciting than you. He said you have to know why the people you work for like you and make them love you.
In being a part of the music industry, Howell has traveled to many states as well as abroad.
“I get to see the world for free. What other job allows you to do that? I have the chance to connect with so many amazing people every day that I may never see again. That alone is exciting,” said Howell.
While enjoying seeing the world, Howell said the downside of traveling is being away from loved ones for so long and missing important events.
“That stuff you can never really get back, so you have to make sure this life is for you,” said Howell.
Howell’s support system helps him deal with being away from loved ones by cheering him on consistently. Howell said his support system is second to none. He said he can proudly say that there isn’t one person in his life who doesn’t believe in him. He said they only make him work harder.
“I am my brother’s NO.1 fan. When he gets tired, we give him the extra push. The key to keeping him motivated is just being on standby, whether it’s to take him to the airport or go to the dry cleaners for him. Our family is his limbs that keep him moving,” said his sister, Ashley Howell.
Howell gives back to those who have paved the way for him by teaching whoever is willing to learn the music industry.
“I love having the platform to teach others my craft. I’ll show anyone anything I know if they want to know it. It’s a part of the circle of music and starting a new trend for a new generation of drummers,” said Howell.
Howell is working on his own project and his band, Shocking Truth, which he co-founded, is issuing new record. Howell said he wants to continue touring with the hopes of getting signed to a major record label as a producer.
“At the end of my journey, I just want to live comfortably and happy, knowing that my music will outlive me,” said Howell.