Xenia native appears on ‘America’s Got Talent’: ‘Dream outside the box’

From practicing in his parents’ basement during high school to getting a chance to compete for a $1 million prize on one of the biggest reality TV shows, Xenia native Kramer Sell, a Nashville-based drummer, is encouraging young musicians to follow their dreams.

Credit: America's Got Talent (AGT)

Credit: America's Got Talent (AGT)

“Dream big and dream outside the box,” said Sell. “There is no road map to do this. Once you have all that positive energy in the gas tank, buckle down and put in the work.”

Sell followed his own advice to make it on the big stage. He was a part of Drake Milligan’s band during the audition round on Season 17 of NBC’s America’s Got Talent. The episode aired June 7.

Milligan is a Nashville-based country singer from Fort Worth, Texas. He has been focusing on recording his own songs and touring with his band. Sell told Dayton.com he first played as a sub in Milligan’s band in the fall of 2021 and has been playing in the band ever since.

“It’s definitely a grind, but what makes it fun is you’re hanging out with your best buddies and it’s your job,” Sell said. “Drake is such a nice guy.”

Sell recalled the filming for the audition round of “America’s Got Talent.” He said initially all he knew was the band was going to Pasadena, California for two days. He didn’t realize it was for “America’s Got Talent” until he received the paperwork.

Sell said he was very nervous before the performance, but once he hit the stage, he went into “total play mode.”

He wasn’t the only one nervous though.

Milligan said during his introduction on the show, “I get nervous getting in front of a big crowd, but I got my band with me and those guys are awesome.”

Sell explained that what people saw on TV was exactly what happened. Once they were done performing, they all stepped forward for feedback from the judges.

Credit: America's Got Talent (AGT)

Credit: America's Got Talent (AGT)

“I think that song’s a hit and I think you’re a hit,” said Howie Mandel. “You’re like the new Elvis of country.”

“I loved it,” said Heidi Klum. “I also love that you guys are a band. We don’t have a lot of bands yet this season, so I think you are perfect for ‘America’s Got Talent.’”

“The perfect combination,” said Sofia Vergara. “The song was amazing. You are amazing and I think America’s going to go crazy. The girls are going crazy.”

“Sometimes when we get bands on the show for whatever reason it just really honestly does sound like a mess from the minute it starts,” said Simon Cowell. “With you, it was the opposite.”

All four judges said yes for Milligan and his band to move to the next round.

Sell explained after the audition round they went back to Nashville to continue with other responsibilities.

“It is incredibly amazing and such an awesome opportunity that I am so thankful for,” Sell said. “When you’re growing up, you never think that you will be on TV.”

Sell is a 2012 Xenia High School graduate who was involved in the drumline, jazz band and ensemble among other extracurriculars. He went on to pursue a music education degree at Capitol University in Columbus and later completed his master’s in classical percussion at Bellarmine University in Nashville.

Credit: Patrick Holman

Credit: Patrick Holman

He explained he always knew he wanted to be a professional drummer.

“I didn’t know what that meant, but my dad did it and my brother was starting to play guitar,” Sell said. “I knew I loved drumming and music, but I didn’t know what it actually meant.”

When he was 12, Sell believed in himself and let his dream fuel his passion as he began playing in bands.

“I wanted to be a drummer because as a boy I knew music made me feel something,” he said.

As Sell reflected on his journey to Nashville with his wife, Grace, and their two dogs, Millie and Maple, he said it has been a lot of work, but “it’s just so worth it when you’re playing and performing with your friends.”

“The moment is what I live for as a drummer,” he added.

Sell’s advice for young musicians is to expose themselves to all kinds of music and use the digital tools that are now at their disposal to their greatest potential.

“America’s Got Talent” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC. For more information about “America’s Got Talent” or to watch previous episodes, visit www.nbc.com.

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