Po-Chung Chen’s career milestones are exemplary of hard work paying off

Po-Chung Chen’s name has become synonymous with drumming in South Africa as he has worked tirelessly, and grown in leaps and bound, to become a respected figure within the music industry. And while his profile as a drummer for various music acts is widely known, Po-Chung wears many hats as a teacher, brand partner and performer.

“I see myself as a hard-working person,” he tells me when we catch up casually over the phone. “I put in whatever it takes to get things done and will go the extra mile to achieve the goal that I have set for myself. Currently I am teaching around 35 drumming students of all ages.”

It takes a great degree of patience to teach someone how to play an instrument, a quality which Po-Chung has in droves when fuelled by the eventual outcome, explaining, “I enjoy teaching and seeing beginners become successful in drumming and achieve what they want to achieve with lessons. I approach every student differently for different levels depending on the player, and I believe one always has to take it on a gradient moving up.”

As a drum tutor for various schools over the years­–including PlayMusic, Assumption Covent School, Beat That Drum School, Campus Of Performing Arts, DrumLab and more­­–Po-Chung eventually earned the position of Drum Tutor at the prestigious TOMS Rivonia branch.

Now as a part of TOMS, one of the most popular retail music stores in South Africa, Po-Chung has cemented his status as a teaching force, something that brings him the biggest amount of joy saying, “I have been teaching in TOMS’ drum studio in my own private capacity and have brought over 10 students from Grade Debut to Grade 8 in drumming, the rest work on my curriculum if they chose not to get graded.”

Proudly endorsed by Marshall Music, the biggest music retail store in South Africa, Po-Chung relishes the opportunity to be able to work alongside established brands to help elevate his profile, while creating engaging content across his social media. Currently endorsing Sabian Cymbals, Vater Drumsticks, Aquarian Drumheads and Roland, Po-Chung does so with a degree of authenticity that’s engaging and educational.  

As a performer, Po-Chung’s contribution to the South African music scene, both on and offstage, is priceless. As part of indie-folk band, Adventure Man, Po-Chung conquered the country’s biggest music festival, Oppikoppi, before touring Australia and Japan, and even releasing an album on Japanese indie label, Flake Records.

As a session drummer for pop giants The Parlotones, award-winning vocalist Kahn Morbee, pop rock group Van Wyk Brand and rock singer-songwriter Trevor Rebello to name but a few, Po-Chung is able to seamlessly transition between genres and style, a skill which earned him a spot as part of the lauded Jägermeister Brass Cartel.

Established in 2016, The Brass Cartel played over 100 shows in its first year, and went on to open for Migos, Wu Tang Clan, Macy Gray and Alien Ant Farm in South Africa. Their musical prowess also saw them tour France, Germany, London, Greece, Kenya, Namibia and DRC and at this rate, I’m pretty sure he’s got no more blank pages left on his passport. 

But as a creative who relishes new adventures and who doesn’t shy away from hard work,Po-Chung’s biggest accomplishments lie ahead of him on all the stages he’s yet to play.