RUPERT Brown is something of a tour-de-force, having played drums for Cher, Annie Lennox, Nigel Kennedy and the Lighthouse Family, among many others.

Since then, he has passed his wisdom on to the next generation of Isle of Wight musicians, for almost two decades.

Now, his innovative T-Minus app, which aims to alleviate the struggle of the auditory affliction tinnitus, has proven popular around the globe.

The music producer and performer was interviewed by the County Press about his projects during lockdown.

As a musician and producer have you found lockdown stifling or liberating for your creativity?

I've been dedicating myself to developing the T-Minus app. We have been providing digital care packages for our beloved community. Myself, co-founder James Rodley and digital marketing manager Silas Gregory provided a seven-week course while having Zoom meetings with prominent worldwide hearing organisations.

You've toured with some huge names — do any moments stand out? The most memorable tour for me was working with Nigel Kennedy — a genius who is one of the most dedicated musicians of all time. I remember him leaving his violin with me at the airport, the instrument was owned and played by the first violinist in an orchestra Tchaikovsky was conducting, so there was a lot of responsibility on my shoulders!

A single moment that stands out was going on stage after Miles Davis’ guitar player John Schofield, with the great Bill Stewart on drums at the Pori Festival in Finland.

How did you get into the music industry?

I started playing the drums in the Cyril Daish trio when I was 14 at the Ocean and Trouville hotels in Sandown. We were playing strict ballroom dancing music. I did seven nights a week for eight months of the year.

After that I played in the professional summer show at Sandown Pier. For any musician on the Island at that time, that was the best gig in town. From there I went straight to Leeds and the Grand Theatre in Blackpool, playing in a pit orchestra to the stars of comedy, stage and TV.

You have taught aspiring percussionists for several years. What advice would you give to young musicians on the IW?

I have taught drums with classes, and privately, for 18 years, and the only advice I would share is that being a musician or artist can be a precarious and difficult path to walk.

The single most important aspect is your ability to express yourself. It will save your life in many ways you thought were impossible.

How did recording with Cher and Nigel Kennedy come about?

The Cher album came as a result of Phil Collins missing his plane and not arriving in London. The producer, Steve Lipson, had his private studio around the corner from Battery studios and the rest is history.

Nigel Kennedy’s call came from the recommendation of Level 42's Phil Gould and drummer Steve White. With those heavyweight recommendations I was invited to tour and record with Nigel.

Who are some IW musicians you would recommend people listen out for?

I would give a big shout out to Rufus Reader, Louis Marshall, Jack Clements, Ademar and Oliver Boydon- Garcia, Sol Grimshaw, Wilfred Armfield and Herbie Bareham. Look out for these ferocious monsters, I believe they are the future of the local industry.

If you could choose three festival headliners from any era for your dream weekend, who would you select?

Miles Davis, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix.

In 1991 you came off stage suffering the effects of tinnitus for the first time, can you share that experience?

My tinnitus story sadly starts at the age of 22. I was on stage with legendary American vibraphone player Roy Ayers at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, and as I left to find my car I realised I was profoundly deaf in one of my ears.

I was experiencing eight different sounds and noises ranging from tones, screams and bells through to a thunder clap. The terrifying isolation I felt was instantaneous and I knew straightaway it was going to be life changing.

How did the tinnitus subsequently affect your music career?

I was determined to carry on with music. In the studio I'd wear ear plugs and industrial ear defenders. I felt every time I approached the drum set I was going into the gladiators' arena to fight lions.

Each time I made it through the day I felt I was surviving, which aided my recovery. Since my diagnosis I've taught and recorded drums, and produced music for many artists. I even have a Grammy nomination for playing on an R&B album.

You released the T-Minus app earlier this year to ease discomfort for people with tinnitus. When did the idea first come to you?

I was originally commissioned to create music for a meditation class. When the project finished I began re-sculpturing the tune until I realised I was making my own unique style of tinnitus music.

Feverishly, I would go for walks and record nature to blend with frequencies and music. Soon I’d created eight albums worth of material.

One of the unsung heroes is Andrew Fox, who created the app. Every album and sleeve has been photographed and curated by Gianpaolo Giancovich. We are very lucky to have their valuable contributions.

How has T-Minus been received?

Since we launched in January we’ve had nine updates and are constantly planning and creating new improvements and features that take us well into 2021. Watch this space as the next six months will take a revolutionary step into the amazing world of tinnitus management.

How can people download T-Minus?

Find our website at, on Apple App Store by searching T-Minus Tinnitus App. We can be found on Facebook at T-Minus group.

It has been a real team effort to get it this far hasn't it? I know there are a number of people to thank for the app flourishing.

Yes definitely, I have great respect and gratitude towards the musicians who have been part of T-Minus. Severine Mouletin for vocals, lyrics and poetry; Andrew Norman — trumpet, cornet; Gary Plumley — saxophone, flute, bansuri; Rafe Spencer — double bass; Mark Smith — bass guitar; Dave Granshaw — mastering; Gianpaolo Giancovich — app photography; Angela Warwick — voice-guided meditation and Mia Rose Finnigan — voice guided meditation.

Finally, do you have a philosophy you live by?

Cherish the time you have on this beautiful planet and love one another.