I was born and raised in Richmond Virginia- factually, as well as musically. I took private lessons with Carl Jenkins while rising through the ranks of the Henrico County Schools' Band Program. Through the rigors of this realm, I developed a sound rudimentary foundation as well as a keen sense for sight reading. Said foundations and keen sensing led me to seats in the All-County and All- District Bands, first chair drum set spot in the Hermitage High School Jazz Band, as well as the position of drum captain for the Marching Panthers. My junior year, as part of the Honors Band curriculum, I turned my attention towards the instruction of others; deepening my passion and understanding of music in general with a "return to the basics through the eyes of another" attitude. Before entering my freshman year of college, I served as a percussion/ marching instructor for the Marching Man High Hillbillies- a high school band in West Virginia for which my uncle, Gregg Collins, is the director. While persuing a philosophy degree at James Madison University, I continued the study and instruction of music theory on my own accord; performing with various groups, and teaching clinics within the Harrisonburg Public School System. I graduated in 2011 and bounced around Virginia gigging and jamming. I've since moved to Philly to pursue a graduate degree in philosophy from Temple, and am excited for the possibilities this town affords! Even though I'm engaged in rigorous study, my services are still readily available! :-)
The nickname "Animal" was bestowed upon me not by the music world, but that of Ultimate Frisbee. Most everyone in the Ultimate world has a nickname, and given that I played drums so well my friends dubbed me "Animal" after the muppet. This nickname grew in popularity as my friends supported my rock band in college- Bocks Car. On the scene and in the clubs, I was increasingly introduced as such until my lead singer eventually referenced it as a stage name; and it has stayed with me ever since. Whether I am performing with my djembe or while behind the set, I always channel the essence of "Animal" through my rhythms; as I get underneath all voices involved and bring out the heart of every matter. With passion and a playful seriousness I can work alongside any group or musician, and enhance the entire moment of what is given with depth and spirit. With this passion comes much experience, as I have been playing and performing for over 16 years.
I am now able to offer my professional services as a producer. Whether you have have tracks in need of drums, or need to lay down tracks in the first place (or whatever it is you have in mind) I'm your lady.
A Short Synopsis
This world makes very little sense to me. My first step in trying to navigate through the chaos which ensues from an entanglement of wild emotion and things posing as truth, my first step in establishing a positive connection with what befuddles me to no end, is to find an end; that is, to find a pulse. From there comes a pattern. From there comes a time signature. From there comes a measurement. From there comes an understanding. And from there I may subdivide how I see fit. From there I may create alongside this chaos, as its equal. Rhythm is how I process my relationship to and with this world, and in turn, how I process the world, itself. And while I’ve been trained and practiced and tried as a professional musician, while I’ve spent more time keeping time with a metronome than I’d like to admit, I still like to think that my polished form stems from a very visceral, primal beginning; one which attempts to unite and harmonize my confusion with the clarity provided pure sound. This is why they call me animal. This is how I’ve come to be.
And now for my given name: Ms. Keli Birchfield. No matter your age or circumstance, I will rise to the need of your occasion. Whether you desire a solid performer with many years of experience or instruction on how to become a solid performer with many years of experience, I'm your person. I cover the whole gammut of genres, styles/ techniques, as well as the whole spectrum of percussion instruments (minus lessons on the piano).
Interested in learning more?
"If I just simply let go, and allow my hand, my arm, to be more of a support system, suddenly - I have more dynamic with less effort. Much more, and I just feel, at last, one with the stick, and one with the drum."