• Audra A. Russell

A DRUMMER. Justin Bieber's.

If there was ever an embodiment of one living his higher purpose, a calling - it was Justin Bieber's drummer (original), Melvin 'Melly Mel'. (Believe and Never Say Never world tours).

Earlier this year, my family had dinner with Melvin and his family.

Admittedly, I did not walk in as a Justin Bieber fan. Nor, my kids. I was plagued by the poor behavior and portrayal in the news at the time. My kids heard what they heard at school. It wasn't favorable and kids aren't alway nice. *

We were meeting Melvin because he and my husband went to college together at UNA, They were in the band together years ago, both drummers.

We had to clearly have a talk with our kids before meeting Melvin and his family.

Our perceptions of JB were turned around later that evening, but what is most legendary is Melvin himself. He is a legend in his own right.

God apparently had a plan for him.

His story is most unique.


One day, Melvin was working in management in the corporate world in Alabama. One weekend, he visited friends in Atlanta and after dinner, he watched them practice (musician friends). Several days later, he was filling in as their drummer, filming in upcoming music video (that would end up on MTV), with a tour to follow. His career changed almost overnight.

Amazingly, the corporate management position which he was leaving offered to hold his position should the tour not work long term. (Speaks highly of this company!). And his family! They agreed and rather quickly, picked up and moved to Atlanta. His degree was in Finance and Business/Management with a dual major in music. He was well prepared for what was to come.

That was nearly 30 years ago. He has been drumming/performing ever since.

"It's no wonder why his shoulder was tapped when the world's biggest superstar was looking for a drummer that had it all" -Pearl Drums

Melvin is an inspiration. His life path lends insight into how God can work and can Guide you to one that is your unique path. Sounds like he listened well.


I quickly learned there was more to a person that what is shown in the media. Melvin and his family did alter our perceptions. This is a family who spent many years with Justin, with him on and off stage, with him as he grew up in front of the world. I trusted their words.

They said if Justin would be sitting at the table with us, he would be picking the kids up, all about kids. It's probably the innocence and pure spirit kids can bring to the table.

Notice the humanitarian work, a care, and concern that goes out to children - from kids in rural Guatemala (he gave the shoes off his own feet on a visit and observed how these kids had so little, yet were smiling, playing, and happy) to granting wishes to children with cancer at home in the U.S. and others who are seeing their last days.

You can see it's genuine and not manufactured for photo ops.

BEFORE Melvin & his family:

"Change the channel! That's the guy who pulls his pants down and goes to jail," my kids, then 4 and 7 would say. (They were repeating what kids on the bus or in class would say)

AFTER Melvin & his family:

"Hey! Go Back! That's Justin Bieber! Turn it up!!

In the following months, I became witness to full on simulated JB concerts my living room. From acting out the on-stage dance moves, complete with back up dancers to turning kitchen cabinets into full drum sets, pretending to be Melvin.

This is thanks to Scooter Braun's productions -two documentaries (Original Motion Pictures Never Say Never and Believe). We watched them to watch Melvin. In this, new fans were created.

My little girl was not happy when she learned I declined the offer to go to a concert when we had the opportunity. My husband wanted to watch Melvin play. I didn't want to be in a loud, crowded venue in Atlanta.

Yes, I had to go back to my husband and tell him how wrong I was for declining that offer once I learned there was more music than the songs on the radio. He had tried to tell me all along that there was a lot of talent with Justin Bieber. Above all, he was wanting to watch Melvin play.

Melvin is the shining star with our kids. He lights up when playing the drums on stage.


I asked his wife how she managed raising two fine young boys while her husband toured the world - away far more than at home for those consecutive world tours. Her answer was 'He loves to play drums. He does this because he loves to play music.'

In a way, the boys shared their dad with the world. So did their mother.

His youngest boy told friends at school his dad was a pilot. He had to go to the airport "to fly" so often that he truly thought his dad was going "to fly" the airplane.

However, no matter what part of the world Melvin was in, he was in their kitchen. "There's Melvin" or "It's Dad" as he called in via FaceTime and joined them as dinner was being made.


Due to my limited view, biased from what I saw in the news alone we missed an opportunity that will never be recreated. I believe most of the original musicians have moved on to other places to perform.

Will be sure to catch Melvin with whomever he tours with next!


It's hard to hear stories like this and not BELIEVE there is a bigger picture, one that goes beyond logic and traditional trajectories. Melvin's story rather speaks for itself.

Notice Scooter Braun's career path. It's noteworthy and defies logic. He not only discovered, elevated, and managed what would become the world's biggest/young superstar ... but he did this before the age of 30 as a college kid in Atlanta. He discovered Justin on YouTube.

Another true story of Inspiration in one of the backup dancers @MighyMykell. He was set to die from a rare disease. Now, he dances on world stage for Justin Bieber. A life by God's design. He uses his platform to share this - inspiration - with the world. All can be inspired.

Finally, I believe if you were to ask Melvin, he would attribute much to God and His direction. Faith seemed to play a central role in this family's life.

All of the above: Inspiration in its highest form.

Photo courtesy of Mattias Karlson of Flickr -"Justin Bieber at Ericsson Globe Arena 24 april on the Believe Tour 2013. Photo also linked to blog http://www.chicagonow.com/old-single-mom/2016/03/hey-justin-bieber-my-son-is-your-biggest-fan-so-please-dont-screw-this-thing-up/

*Reference: Purpose tour had not yet started. It was just before the tour began. Like the post linked the photo above, I can relate. Kids turned new fans, parent watches in hopeful terms that my now 5 yr. old little boy can maintain his new outlook. So far, so good?

More on Melvin, Dummer. Producer. Engineer. http://www.melly-mel.com

#JustinBieber #Musician #Drummer #HigherPurpose

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