From Kokomo Tribune:
lthough he’s only known the world for barely a decade, when Raven Milligan sits behind a drum set it’s as if the world has known him for lifetimes. As the 10-year-old nestles his ear buds in his ears and gently bobs his head, an older soul takes cover; erupting through the youthful fingertips gripping worn drumsticks and creating a beat never heard before.
“I write out the song [lyrics] then read over it until I hear the beat in my head, I usually hear it about halfway into the second read,” Raven explained as he paged through his “Cars” notebook, home to the lyrics of 40 songs written and recorded by the Sycamore Elementary student. “Then I hear a simple beat for my [7-year-old] sister, Rhea, to play on the keyboards.”
“It’s a God-given talent,” said Raven’s mom, Stacy, who’s dad and late brother were born with the beat in their blood as well. “He’s never had a lesson,” as her eyes glistened with tears of pride.
Four recorded CDs and 37 live performances later, Raven is taking his first drum lesson: with Chad Smith, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer, after the fellow percussionist spotted Raven rocking out in a video the Milligans posted on Smith’s Facebook page earlier this month.
“We posted the video of me playing ‘Monarchy of Roses’ and after I played the drums I said ‘I’ll see you November first,’” Raven said about the video his parents, Stacy and Suan, posted with the description: “Raven wants to meet Chad Smith!!!”
Stacy said after posting Raven’s performances five days in a row someone else took his turn and a dream come true quickly followed.
“We kept posting and posting videos so I commented on one of our posts on Chad’s [Facebook] wall and said: ‘Hey, you need to check out Raven on YouTube. He’s 10 and he really wants to meet you at the Milwaukee concert,’” Stacy said as she relived the moment all over again. “Not even 10 minutes later after I commented, Chad Smith reposted a video of Raven playing, then I got a phone call the caller ID didn’t recognize, it was Chad’s manager. I couldn’t even focus on her conversation, I was shaking I was so excited. I got off the phone and just started screaming for Raven. Our house was really loud that night, we all flipped out. I just couldn’t believe it, I’m like, this stuff doesn’t happen, you know?”
Raven said he was speechless after his mom ran upstairs with the phone still in her hand, but he says he knows exactly what he’ll say when he meets his lifelong idol.
“I didn’t say anything, it was unreal that Chad Smith tried to locate me for 10 minutes,” Raven said with a tone of humbled flattery. “The first thing I’m going to tell him is I’ve been listening to his music for a really long time and I’m really thankful to meet him.”
Stacy and Suan, who have been fans of the Red Hot Chili Peppers since the 1980s, said Raven started “listening” to Chad Smith’s beats before his ears were fully formed.
“He was listening to them when he was in the womb,” Stacy said. “When he was a baby, I took him on drives to go take a nap because he wouldn’t sleep. I’d put in [Red Hot Chili Peppers] and we’d drive in the country for his nap; he was listening to them when he was a baby, he just didn’t know it.”