Will Champion

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Will Champion
Coldplay - The Rose Bowl - Friday 6th October 2017 ColdplayRoseBowl061017-41 (36987265334).jpg
Champion performing with Coldplay in 2017
William Champion

(1978-07-31) 31 July 1978 (age 42)
Southampton, England
  • Musician
  • songwriter
Years active1996–present
Net worth£107 million (2021 estimate) [1]
Marianne Dark
(m. 2003)
Musical career
  • Drums
  • percussion
  • vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
  • keyboards
Associated acts
Website coldplay.com

William Champion (born 31 July 1978) is an English musician, songwriter, and the drummer of alternative rock band Coldplay. He is also the group's most prominent backing vocalist and occasionally takes the lead in some live performances, such as "Death Will Never Conquer" on the Viva la Vida Tour and "In My Place" during the A Head Full of Dreams Tour.


Early life and education

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. [2] As a youth, Champion's musical influences included Tom Waits, Nick Cave and traditional Irish folk music. [3]

He learned to play piano and violin when he was eight years old and started to practice guitar when at twelve. Champion is also experienced on the bass and tin whistle. [4] Before joining Coldplay, he performed in a band called Fat Hamster. [5] 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 Maths and Computing College, and college at Peter Symonds College. [6] He then studied anthropology at University College London (UCL), where he met 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. [7] In 1999, lead singer Chris Martin sacked Champion, but the band asked him to return soon after. [8] 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." [9]

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!" [10] Martin has also said in multiple interviews that "[they] are all just working for Will".

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. [11]

Other projects

In 2004, Champion and Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman guested on A-ha keyboardist Magne Furuholmen's first solo album Past Perfect Future Tense . [12] [13] 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. [14] In 2014, he played electronic drums for Brian Eno and Karl Hyde's Someday World album. [15]


Champion currently uses a Yamaha drum kit [16] with Zildjian cymbals. [17] 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. It wasn't until the A Head Full Of Dreams Tour (which started in March 2016 and concluded in November 2017) that Champion owned his own drum kit, as all the other drum kits he used were either from the band or from the company. [18]

Personal life

Champion's mother, Sara, a doctor of prehistoric archaeology, died from cancer in 2000. The album Parachutes was dedicated to her. [19] 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, [20] they currently live in Hampstead. [21] Champion is a lifelong fan of Southampton F.C. and has had a season ticket for many years. [4] According to an article released by The Times in May 2021, Champion has an estimated wealth of £107 million. [22]


With Coldplay

With Brian Eno and Karl Hyde


Related Research Articles

Coldplay British rock band

Coldplay are a British rock band formed in London in 1996. Vocalist, rhythm guitarist and pianist Chris Martin, lead guitarist Jonny Buckland, bassist Guy Berryman, and drummer Will Champion met at University College London and began playing music together from 1996 to 1998, first calling themselves Pectoralz and then Starfish before finally changing their name to Coldplay. Their creative director and former manager Phil Harvey is considered the fifth member of the band.

Chris Martin English musician, record producer, and philanthropist

Christopher Anthony John Martin is an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and philanthropist. He is the lead singer, primary songwriter, and co-founder of the alternative rock band Coldplay. Born in Exeter, Devon, Martin went to University College London, where he formed a rock band with Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman, and Will Champion in 1996 called Starfish, which was eventually renamed Coldplay in 1998.

Magne Furuholmen

Magne Furuholmen is a Norwegian musician and visual artist. He was named Knight First Class of the Order of St. Olav by King Harald for his services to Norwegian music and his international success. Furuholmen, better known to music fans by his stage name Mags, is the keyboardist of the synthpop/rock band A-ha, and co-wrote hits such as "Take On Me", "Stay on These Roads", "Manhattan Skyline", "Cry Wolf", "Forever Not Yours", "Analogue ", "Minor Earth Major Sky", "Touchy!", "You Are the One", "Move To Memphis" and "Foot of the Mountain". The band A-ha has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide.

Guy Berryman Scottish musician

Guy Rupert Berryman is a Scottish musician, songwriter, producer, and the bassist for the bands Coldplay and Apparatjik. He is also the creative director of The Road Rat magazine and owner of menswear brand Applied Art Forms. Despite being left-handed, Berryman plays the bass right-handed.

Jonny Buckland Welsh musician and multi-instrumentalist

Jonathan Mark Buckland is a Welsh musician, songwriter, and the lead guitarist of alternative rock band Coldplay, which he co-founded alongside Chris Martin.

Twisted Logic Tour

The Twisted Logic Tour was a global concert tour by British alternative rock band Coldplay in support of their third studio album, X&Y (2005). The year-long tour took the band across Europe and their native United Kingdom, as well as to the United States and Canada. The main legs of the tour concluded in July 2006 after shows in Asia & Australia, with the band resting for a lengthy period of time, and beginning production of their fourth studio album Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends in November. In the beginning of 2007, a final leg in Latin America concluded the tour entirely in March, after about a dozen shows. Pollstar reported that the 2005 North American leg grossed an estimated $24.1 million. The second leg of the North American tour ended 6 April 2006 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.

<i>Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends</i> 2008 studio album by Coldplay

Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, often referred to as simply Viva la Vida, is the fourth studio album by British rock band Coldplay, released on 12 June 2008 on the Parlophone label. The album was named after a Spanish phrase that best translates into English as "Long live life". Lyrically, the album contains references to love, life, death and war.

Violet Hill 2008 single by Coldplay

"Violet Hill" is a song by British rock band Coldplay. It was written by all members of the band for their fourth album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008). Built around a repeating guitar sound, it utilises a marching tempo, supported by the pianos and rhythms that accompany the song's lyrics. The song was initially made available as a free download on the band's website and was downloaded more than two million times.

Viva la Vida 2008 single by Coldplay

"Viva la Vida" is a song by British rock band Coldplay. It was written by all members of the band for their fourth album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008).

Viva la Vida Tour Concert tour

The Viva la Vida Tour was the fourth concert tour by British band Coldplay. The tour was in support their fourth studio album Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008) and was a massive commercial and critical success, visiting Europe, Asia, the Americas and Oceania. It further established the band as one of the concert industry's biggest draws and as one of the world's most popular bands. According to Pollstar from 2008 to 2010, the concerts grossed around $209.4 million.

Lost! 2008 single by Coldplay

"Lost!" is a song by the British rock band Coldplay. It was co-produced with Brian Eno and Markus Dravs for the band's fourth album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. The song was released on 10 November 2008 as the third official single from the album to generally positive critical reviews. A live version was released via download following a performance of the band and Jay-Z at the 2009 Grammy Awards, spurring high digital sales and giving "Lost!" a new peak at number 40 in the United States.


Apparatjik are a multi-national band formed in 2008. The band is a supergroup that consists of bassist Guy Berryman from Coldplay, guitarist/keyboardist Magne Furuholmen from A-ha, singer/guitarist Jonas Bjerre of Mew and drummer/producer Martin Terefe. The band's name literal translation is "agent of the apparatus". Apparatjik is based on apparatchik, which is a word of Russian origin and is used to describe "an official or bureaucrat in any organization" but has in the past had other meanings, including "Communist agent or spy".

Lovers in Japan 2008 single by Coldplay

"Lovers in Japan" is a song by British rock band Coldplay. It was written by all members of the band for their fourth studio album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. The song is built around an introductory tack piano sound, then followed by chiming guitars and soaring choruses, supported by the pianos and rhythms that accompany the song's lyrics. The album version of "Lovers in Japan" also includes the track "Reign of Love".

Strawberry Swing 2009 single by Coldplay

"Strawberry Swing" is a song by British rock band Coldplay. On 13 September 2009, it was released as the fourth and final single from the band's fourth studio album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008). The song was written by the members of the band and was produced by Markus Dravs, Brian Eno, Jon Hopkins and Rik Simpson. The track received mostly positive reviews from music critics who praised the infectious melody, the vocal performance of Chris Martin and the tribal influence of the production.

Glass of Water 2008 song by Coldplay

"Glass of Water" is a song by British alternative rock band Coldplay. Included on their 2008 EP Prospekt's March, it was written by all members of the band during recording sessions for their fourth album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008). The song starts with and is built around a repeating guitar riff, with additional instruments added to the song's mix over the course of its duration.

Yes (Coldplay song)

"Yes" is the sixth track from Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, the fourth studio album by British rock band Coldplay. The track actually consists of two songs: the eponymous "Yes" (0:00–4:04) and the hidden "Chinese Sleep Chant" (4:04–7:06). Both compositions were written by all band members.

Death and All His Friends Song by Coldplay

"Death and All His Friends" is a song by British rock band Coldplay. It was written by all members of the band for their fourth album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, and is the tenth and final track on the album. The song begins with Chris Martin singing softly to a piano accompaniment before morphing into an uplifting arrangement featuring drums, chiming guitars, and a choir recorded in an art gallery in Barcelona. After the song fades out, a hidden song featured on the album, entitled "The Escapist", brings the total length of the track up to over six minutes and concludes the album. "The Escapist" is an ambient music piece that consists of a sample of "Light Through the Veins" by Jon Hopkins, with different mixing and with added vocals and lyrics by Chris Martin. A brief 40 second section of the instrumental of "The Escapist" is what begins the first track on the album, "Life in Technicolor", making the album cyclical.

<i>Mylo Xyloto</i> 2011 studio album by Coldplay

Mylo Xyloto is the fifth studio album by British rock band Coldplay, released in late October 2011. The band worked closely with producer Brian Eno following their successful collaboration on Viva la Vida, the band's previous album.

"Fun" is a song by British alternative rock band Coldplay, featuring Swedish singer Tove Lo. It is the sixth track from their seventh studio album, A Head Full of Dreams (2015). The song was produced by the band's long-time record producer Rik Simpson along with Norwegian production duo Stargate.


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