Maybe best to take a seat because your mind is about to be blown. Three very impressive Drumming resources-- DRUM! Magazine, TRX Cymbals, and Tom Tom: The Magazine of Female Drummers-- came together in 2011 to create a contest which highlights women drummers from all around the world. The idea is to specifically showcase women, whom often get much less recognition than their male counterparts, and encourage other women to pick up sticks and start making beats.
The general guidelines include, first and foremost, being a woman or girl and not making more than $50k per year playing music. All you have to do is submit a 3 minute drumming video and you’re entered! The competition is divided into two groups, over and under 18 years old (for rock stars younger than 14, you’ll need consent from parents).
Participants are judged on their performance, unique style, and personal story. As per usual, 2016’s panel of drummer judges was completely star-studded, including: Venzella Joy, drummer for the little known artist Beyonce, Kiran Gandhi, who drummed beside M.I.A, Samantha Maloney of Hole and Motley Crue, three time Grammy winner Kimberly Thompson, and Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers… to name a few.
This year over 300 lady musicians from over 50 countries competed fiercely but, there can only be one champion per age group. After scrupulous debate, Hit Like a Girl unanimously awarded the gold medals to Helen De La Rosa and Becca Webster, both from the USA.
16 Years ago Helen’s brother began playing drums, it took a mere moment for Helen to abandon her classical guitar studies and pick up a pair of drumsticks. “Just like that I was hooked!” says Helen. Apparently, the Hit Like a Girl judges were equally as entranced with her skills. For Helen, drumming is a part of a much bigger picture: “I see music as the one thing that can unite every single person of any kind of background; it’s a powerful tool for us but it comes with a huge responsibility! I take music very seriously because of that and that's why my main focus as a drummer is serve the music and not myself.”
Besides her incredible beats, of course, our favorite part of 15 year old Becca Webster’s story is how she began drumming 7 years ago: “My interest in drumming actually began when I was three or four. My Nana would visit our house and play a game where she would tap out a rhythm and see if I could repeat it back to her. We would do this for hours at a time…” Becca’s and her Nana continued to play side-by-side inspiring one another, “Nana had always wanted to play drums, but grew up in a tiny apartment in Brooklyn at a time when it was hardly common for girls to take up the instrument. But as an adult she started taking drum lessons in her 50’s.” Due to a shoulder injury, Becca’s Nana had to retire a bit early, but gifted Becca her kit, the one she continues to play. And according to her, will never stop. Ultimately, Becca hopes to make music a career as a session drummer, or play in a personal band. We can’t wait to see what she does next!
Both winners will return to be judges in next year’s competition, as is the Hit Like a Girl tradition. Which means you’ve got plenty of time to grab some drumsticks, take a lesson from these two stars and get your own shiny competition video ready and recorded!