Will Champion

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Will Champion
ColdplayBBC071221 (44 of 53) (51740660457).jpg
Champion performing with Coldplay in 2021
William Champion

(1978-07-31) 31 July 1978 (age 43)
EducationPortswood Primary School
Cantell School
Peter Symonds College
Alma materUniversity College London (BA)
  • Musician
  • songwriter
Years active1996–present
Marianne Dark
(m. 2003)
Musical career
  • Drums
  • vocals
  • keyboards
  • piano
  • guitar
  • tin whistle
  • percussion
Associated acts
Will Champion signature.png

William Champion (born 31 July 1978) is an English musician, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist known as the drummer and backing vocalist of rock band Coldplay. He occasionally takes the lead in some live performances as well, such as "Death Will Never Conquer" throughout the Viva la Vida Tour and "In My Place" during the A Head Full of Dreams Tour.

Early life and education[edit]

William Champion was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England, and was brought up in the Highfield suburb of the city, close to the University of Southampton, where his father, Timothy Champion, is a professor of archaeology. His mother, Sara Champion, was also an archaeologist.[1] As a youth, Champion's musical influences included Tom Waits, Nick Cave and traditional Irish folk music.[2]

He learned to play piano and violin when he was eight years old and started to practice guitar at twelve. Champion is also experienced on the bass and tin whistle.[3] Before joining Coldplay, he performed in a band called Fat Hamster.[4] He attended Highfield Church and as a youngster played cricket for Chandler's Ford CC along with his older brother.

Champion attended primary school at Portswood Primary School, secondary school at Cantell School, and sixth form college at Peter Symonds College.[5] He then studied anthropology at University College London (UCL), where he would meet his future bandmates Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland and Guy Berryman.



Champion was the last of the four band members to join the ensemble on 31 July 1997. He took up the position as drummer with no prior experience, but quickly adjusted to fill the role.[6] In 1999, lead singer Chris Martin sacked Champion, but the band asked him to return soon after.[7] His previous experience on other instruments has been praised by Martin: "Will is like a human jukebox. He knows more songs than anyone. You name it, he'll play it."[8]

In Coldplay, Champion is often regarded as the rationality of the band. They say of him: "Will does have a very sensible head on his shoulders and when it comes to making band decisions he's really good at putting valid points across and keeping everyone focused. He frequently has the casting vote and his decision can sometimes override the consensus!"[9] Martin has also said in multiple interviews that "We [Coldplay] are all just working for Will Champion".

While all four members have sung backing vocals, Champion has been the most prominent. During the Viva la Vida Tour, he sang and performed an acoustic version of the song "Death Will Never Conquer". This version was later included on Coldplay's live album LeftRightLeftRightLeft. He also performed lead vocals on "The Goldrush", which was released as a B-side for "Life in Technicolor II", on a live version of "Til Kingdom Come" and on the live version of "In My Place" that was played during the A Head Full of Dreams Tour and included on Live in Buenos Aires. Along with the rest of the band, Champion has hopes of making touring carbon-neutral.[10]

Other projects[edit]

In 2004, Champion and Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman guested on A-ha keyboardist Magne Furuholmen's first solo album Past Perfect Future Tense.[11][12] Champion has also made a cameo appearance in the famous "Rains of Castamere" episode of HBO series Game of Thrones, which aired on 2 June 2013. He portrayed one of the musicians during the Red Wedding.[13] In 2014, he played electronic drums for Brian Eno and Karl Hyde's Someday World album.[14]


Champion currently uses a Yamaha drum kit[15] with Zildjian cymbals.[16] In the music video for "Christmas Lights", he uses a Slingerland drumkit and Ludwig Supraphonic Snare 14x6.5 inches. For sticks, Champion looks to Pro-Mark's American Hickory 5A stick with a wooden tip. [17]

Personal life[edit]

Champion's mother, Sara, a doctor of prehistoric archaeology, died from cancer in 2000. The band's debut album Parachutes was dedicated to her.[18] In 2003, Champion became the first Coldplay member to marry after becoming engaged to Marianne Dark, a teacher. The first child of the couple, a girl named Ava, was born on 28 April 2006. On 7 May 2008, Marianne gave birth to fraternal twins Juno and Rex,[19] they currently live in Hampstead.[20] Champion is a lifelong fan of Southampton F.C. and has had a season ticket for many years.[3] According to an article released by The Times in May 2021, Champion has an estimated wealth of £107 million.[21]


With Coldplay[edit]

With Brian Eno and Karl Hyde[edit]


  • Roach, Martin (2003). Coldplay: The Scientist. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-9810-8.


  1. ^ "Chris Martin: 'Coldplay are saying the opposite of walls and Brexit'". the Guardian. 23 June 2016. Retrieved 30 May 2021.
  2. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Will Champion Coldplay | Rare Interview | The Lost Tapes". YouTube.
  3. ^ a b "Coldplay drummer Will Champion remembers his Southampton roots". Daily Echo. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  4. ^ "Hampshire's understated rockstar - Coldplay's Will Champion". Daily Echo. Retrieved 30 May 2021.
  5. ^ "Coldplay drummer's journey from Hampshire primary school to the Superbowl". Daily Echo. Retrieved 30 May 2021.
  6. ^ Weiss, David (March 2003). "Will Champion: Just Right For Coldplay". DRUM! Magazine (March 2003). Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  7. ^ "Chris Martin: 'I punish myself with lemonade'". Digital Spy. 14 September 2009. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
  8. ^ Roach, Martin (16 May 2011). Viva Coldplay: A Biography. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9780857125941.
  9. ^ Slender Fungus (20 November 2008). "Oracle question". Coldplay.com. Archived from the original on 27 September 2010. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  10. ^ "Coldplay star goes green as he swaps his Volkswagen Polo for new electric model". Hampstead Highgate Express. 5 November 2020. Retrieved 30 May 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "Magne Furuholmen: Past Perfect Future Tense" (in Norwegian).
  12. ^ Grunfeld, Matthieu. "Magne F - Past Perfect Future Tense" (in French).
  13. ^ "BBC - Ed Sheeran to Coldplay: Every band who has starred in Game Of Thrones". BBC. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  14. ^ "Eno • Hyde: 'Someday World' a new Collaborative Album from Brian Eno and Karl Hyde will be released in May". Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  15. ^ Yamaha Drum Artists, retrieved 22 July 2009
  16. ^ Zildjian.com – en-US, archived from the original on 3 January 2010, retrieved 22 July 2009
  17. ^ "Will Champion on world domination with Coldplay, new kits and the art of waiting". MusicRadar. 25 August 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ (2000) Artwork for Parachutes by Coldplay. Capitol (0 6700 30162 2 3).
  19. ^ McLean, Craig (1 June 2008). "'We're about to be fed to the lions'". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 March 2009. Will Champion (father of a two-year-old and three-week-old twins)
  20. ^ Langlois, André (5 November 2020). "Coldplay star goes green as he swaps his Volkswagen Polo for new electric model". Hampstead Highgate Express. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  21. ^ "Paul McCartney tops musicians rich list". Music-News.com. Retrieved 21 May 2021.

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