This is my top 20 female drummers.
Our industry, like many others, is dominated by men. I personally have always believed that woman are just as capable as men and that on the whole we are largely equal.
When we talk about drum idols, and we look at drummers who have won awards and polls, we’re usually always talking about men; Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, John Bonham, Steve Gadd etc, these are all guys.
I will always been a firm believer that women can do anything that men can. I love it, seeing girls in bands and not just being a singer, you know. So for all the upcoming female drummers, I wanted to compile a list of great successful female drummers that are really giving the boys a run for their money.
1: Meg White
So first on my list is Meg white.
Why is Meg white the first on my list? What Meg White does isn’t flashy, glamorous and over the top, but she does her job and she does it well. Okay. What is our primary job? To keep time! She does a great job of keeping a firm solid foundation in The White Stripes.
For the younger drummers that are starting out, what Meg does is quite attainable. It doesn’t take long, after learning drums, to play Seven Nation Army. So she’s kind of like the first level of inspiration and stuff like that. So I personally think she’s really important for not just female drummers but anybody starting out on drums because she’s kind of attainable, that doesn’t mean that she’s rubbish you know.
I don’t know if she’s a multi millionaire (not that it matters), but the white stripes are very, very successful. Okay, so make white number one.
2: Sheila E
Next up is Sheila E. Now Sheila, he is a legend. And I mean and legend, okay. Who she has not played for isn’t worth noting. She’s played for prints Phil Collins, Ringo Starr, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion. The list goes on and on and On, okay, and there’s a reason why she plays for all these massive, massive names. Okay? She is flawless. absolutely flawless. Okay. She’s been around for a long time. She definitely definitely holds her own against any drummer out there.
Okay, so if you don’t know who she is, go check Sheila E out.
3: Cindy Blackman Santana
Okay, number three on the list is Cindy Blackman Santana. Now another legend in the drumming world.
She’s played an 11 year stint with Lenny Kravitz as well as playing for David Gilmore and currently for Santana, who coincidentally is her husband.
She’s great. I’ve read interviews with her for years, She kind of studied the way that Tony Williams played, now if you don’t know Tony Williams you gotta check Tony Williams out. She’s a phenomenal kind of jazz, funk.,rock drummer. Again, flawless. absolutely absolutely flawless another living legend along with Sheila E.
Okay, so that’s Cindy Blackman Santana.
4: Cora Coleman-Dunham
Next on the list is one of my favourites, Cora Coleman Dunham.
Back in 2002, she beat 5000 people to become the winner of the Guitar Centre Drum Off.
Now drumming is not a competition I know however, when there’s competition made of drumming, thats bloody good going right! From then on she got found by Prince and played with Prince for a while. She also played with Beyonce, Pink and Maceo Parker.
I first discovered Cora on the DW Kick, Snare, Hats DVD. She’s the only one on there who is female and she’s in the company of legends like Gerald Hayward, Aaron spears and Nisan Stewart. There’s a scene where all four of them shed in DW warehouse and she kills it, Living Proof that gender does not mean anything when it comes to music. Check Cora Colman Dunham out!!!
5: Anika Nilles
Next on the list is Anika Nilles. Now I love Anika Nilles she makes my brain ache. I don’t know if there’s something in the water in that of part of Europe, she comes from Germany, but you know when we think about; Thomas Lang, Benny Greb and Jojo Mayer there must be something in the water in that part of Europe. There must be okay! What they can do is just mind blowing there’s often videos of Anika playing groups of fives and sevens and stuff like that and it just makes my head hurt. She is incredible Okay, absolutely incredible so definitely, definitely check Anika Nilles out!!!
6: Hannah Ford Welton
Number six is Hannah Ford Welton.
She went on to play with Prince. Prince seems to be the guy in the industry that discovers all the amazing female talent and it’s kind of a massive honour to have Prince’s name on your resume. It’s not a gig that’s taken lightly so you know if anyone’s played with Prince, they are of the highest caliber and Hannah is no different. She’s absolutely incredible.
7: Kristina Schiano
Number seven is YouTube superstar Kristina Shiano. Now, I absolutely adore Kristina Shiano she makes incredible videos. She’s got the most gorgeous SJC kit, but I really respect her determination and her drive and passion. She recently released like a 10 year progression video which showcases her hard work and stuff. She’s a massive name on YouTube and it’s clear to see why, she’s just phenomenal and living proof that if you want something enough and you work hard and you put the time in you can succeed. Just go check out all of our videos. You know, just clear like your weekend you in your diary and just binge the hell out of it.
8: Kim Thompson
Number eight is Kim Thompson. Now Kim Thompson has played for Beyonce, amongst others as well as having had a lot of success by her own. Again, if you’re playing for someone like Beyonce, you need to be on the button, there’s a reason why she got that gig. She’s incredible. So definitely, definitely check her out.
9: Gemma Hill
Next up is Gemma Hill, who is from the UK.
She’s played for the likes of Cee Lo Green and Cyndi Lauper. She also was the editor of Drummer magazine. I hope you remember Drummer magazine. In the UK we had Rhythm, Modern Drummer and there was also Drummer magazine which kind of turned into iDrum magazine. Anyway, Gemma is great and still does a lot with or she used to do a lot with Mike Dolbear, who of course is a legend in his own right. So yeah, Gemma Hill, definitely check Gemma out.
10: Cherisse Osei
Number 10 is another Mike Dolbear alumni, Cherisse Osei, I hope I said your name right? No disrespect if I didn’t. She’s playing for Simple Minds at the moment, she’s played for Kelly Jones of the Stereophonics, Paloma Faith, Mika and The Faders. You know we have Karl Brazil and Ash Soan who are absolutely incredible, but Cherisse is kind of like the UK session queen. She’s great to watch, she’s always wearing an infectious smile.
11: Meytal Cohen
Number 11 is another YouTube sensation Mytel Cohen and again I hope I said your name right. An absolutely flawless drummer, quite known for doing like metal covers, which is no mean feat in itself. You know metal drumming is intense and technical and she does it like, you know, walking. She makes it look flawless and easy and it’s great to see another person utilising YouTube to like really kickstart her career and get herself out there and inspire others.
12: Vikki Brown
Number 12 is Vikki brown from the Courtesans, So another UK little superstar. The Courtesans are making a lot of waves right now and it’s great to see all female groups kicking it, and I really love that kind of thing. Like I say just to give them boys a run for their money to even everything out, you know? So if you don’t know the Courtesans check them out, Check ViKki Brown out, she’s incredible.
13: Louise Bartle
Number 13 is Louise Bartle. Now Louise is currently she’s in two bands; She’s in Nova Club but her other credit is Bloc Party. Now obviously she’s not the original Bloc Party drummer and when you listen to Bloc Party, the beats are pretty intense! Listen to Silent Alarm where you’ve got tracks such as Helicopter and Like Eating Glass you know they’re really quite fast and intricate drumbeats, definitely not for the faint hearted. Louise is doing a killer job at holding that throne. So yeah check out Louise Bartle.
14: Paris Jeffree
Number 14 is Paris Jeffree. Paris Jeffree plays for Years & Years. Scroll through her Instagram page and try and find me a picture where she’s not on a massive stage in front of a sold out crowd. She’s doing an amazing, amazing job. She’s always smiling, fun to watch and she comes up with some great beats. She’s embraced the hybrid setup integrating Roland electronics into her gorgeous Gretsch kit.
15: Taylor Gordon a.k.a. The Pocket Queen
Number 15 is Taylor Gordon, aka The Pocket Queen. I think her nickname says it all. Just go and search the Drumeo video that she done and you’ll see why. She’s in the pocket and tight. What more do you want from a drummer then someone who’s got fantastic pocket? But yeah, check her out, she just puts people to shame, absolutely incredible to watch her play.
16: Emily Dolan Davis
Number 16 is Emily Dolan Davis. Now she is another UK session superstar. She’s played for The Darkness, Kim Wilde, Cher Lloyd amongst others! In Kim Wildes band actually she’s sharing double drum duties with Johnathan Atkinson. Which is always tough, you know, to have two drummers in a band and keep them in time each other and you know, it’s tough. But she does it flawlessly. You watch her own it’s easy, easy.
17: Simone Lockhart
Number 17 is another internet sensation. Simone Lockhart. I believe she’s 14/15 so she’s quite young. She’s got this gorgeous Tama Lars Ulrich kit (which I’m very jealous of). You know, she’s always posting, she’s always doing drum covers and her passion and enthusiasm is kind of infectious. She’s always smiling, always having a laugh and actually, I saw her use the Roland RMP5 in one of her videos. I’d never heard of it until then and I just went out and got one. I saw her using it and I was like, ‘that’s actually really cool.’ But I digress. Simone has a very of positive vibe which is great and very infectious like I said, so yeah, check out Simone Lockhart.
18: Ihan Haydar
Number 18 is Ihan Haydar. Again another incredible, incredible drummer again, just look her up on Instagram. She’s great. She comes up with some cool crazy little beats that she films and stuff like that she’s got this gorgeous pink Mapex kit, but yeah another one that’s like the New Age sort of thing that’s embracing social media to to make a career out of something that she loves. Very, very talented.
Okay, we are into the final two.
19: Meghan Herring
Now number 19 is one of my very, very personal favourites. If you know me, you know that I love punk music and pop punk. It’s what I grew up on, it’s where my heart is. I love all kinds of music but deep down on nothing but a punk. Now, number 19 is one of my personal favourites because she plays in this incredible punk band called Doll Skin. She is of course, Meghan Herring.
I absolutely adore Dolls Skin. They’re just an incredible band, Meg’s an incredible drummer and they’re one of those bands that if you believe social media that they live in a van constantly because they’re always touring. I think at this point, they may technically be classed as orphans because they just never seem to be at home. But that’s the dedication they have to pursuing their craft.
Now, have you watched a talent show on TV, and this little tiny thing gets up and you think ‘Oh, she’s gonna start singing and it’s going to be really weak and wimpy’ and she belts out something like Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey and you’re like ‘How How did that come up this little thing?’ Meghan is like the drumming equivalent of that. She’s this tiny little kind of pocket size person and then she sits down behind the drum kit and you’re like ‘How did that come out of you?’ She’s a beast in a good way, an incredible drummer.
Okay, so the last one. Now this last drummer I only discovered about a month ago and when I discovered her, I was blown away and quite frankly speechless. What blew my mind? This drummer is 9 years old. Her name is Geneva. She’s a lovely little girl and already super tight and in the pocket. I did some digging around and discovered that she’s like been playing for two years? I mean, when you think about it, she’s 9, she’s only been playing two years and when you check her out, you’ll see what I mean. She is on the button! She’s just got a god given talent.
She’s drummed on like CBBC and stuff like that. Do any of you remember watching Tony Royster play when he was 9 or something and he’s like this little little tiny kid sat behind this massive kit and he’s just killing it. Geneva is the female equivalent to that. She’s going to go on to some huge, huge things. Okay. And what’s really good is I want other 9 year olds, 7 year olds etc young girls to get into drumming and music and what better way than to have one of their peers someone their age, being a little idol, you know? She can inspire all of us. I think she’s incredible. She’s 9, been playing two years. So definitely check her out.
So that was my top 20. Now there are obviously loads more female drummers out in the world I wanted to highlight some legends in the drumming world that are of the female kind. Try and help balance this out, you know, let’s get a Sheila E or Cora Coleman or Anika Nilles to top some of these polls in the drumming industry. Lets make it that people say ‘oh you have to hear John Bonham and Kristina Schiano’ or have ‘Best Metal Drummer Of The Year’ go to Meytal Cohen etc. Lets even this whole industry out and give the girls the same power and accolades as the boys!