We are reader-supported. Links on our site may earn us a commission. More about us

The 11 most famous female drummers of all time

The world of drums is mostly dominated by men. Most people could probably list two or three that play drums famously. But there is a whole slew of female drummers out there that are amazing.

The facts are that many of these drummers on the list are not really famous for being in any one band, or even starting a popular group. All the reasons why they are here are really for their playing. Which says a lot.

Some drummers get the good wrap just for being in a famous group. In the female drumming world, you really have to earn your stay by your skills. Or have done something to ferment the female drumming name.

This list will pounce at the world of social media drummers as well. So, let’s dive into those female drummers.

Sina Doering (born 1999)

Sina Doering (sina-drums)
Sina Doering (sina-drums) | Photo: Jörg Schnebele

Sina Doering (better known as Sina-Drums) is one of the original drummers made popular in the YouTube drum cover space. Starting in 2013, she has really built up her name in the world.

She started with doing simple drum covers. Sina played many classic rock songs that any listener would enjoy.

As she progressed further, she expanded the types of music played. Now she is collaborating with many different artists, making her own music, and securing her spot in the world of drums.

What made her videos special was her attitude. You could tell there was something special about how Sina was playing. Some of her videos even began with a short story about the song, or what you were about to see.

Her playing ability is outstanding as you can see from a young age, she had talent and was playing some songs that she shouldn’t have been playing that young.

Watch this video of Sina performing Surfaris’ “Wipe Out”

Nandi Bushell (born 2010)

Nandi Bushell
Nandi Bushell | Photo: Amanda Rose

Nandi is one of the newest drummers to hit the scene. At just 14 years old, in the past four years she has taken the musical world by storm.

She has always had a presence on YouTube, posting drum covers and all around being a grace to watch. She had a small black kit that she drew on and it grabbed all her watchers’ hearts.

Then one day she decided to call out Dave Grohl for a drum battle. Surprisingly, he responded! She completely rocked his world. For a drummer at her age to be as good as she is made him smile.

From that point on they proceeded to write songs together. Then eventually she even got to play the closing song at a Foo Fighters show!

All in all, her mainstream fame did come from this interaction. But now she has seen where her drumming and dedication to the art can take her. So, keep a close eye on Nandi in the coming years.

Watch this epic drum battle between Nandi and Dave Grohl

Sandy West (1959 – 2006)

Sandy West of The Runaways
Sandy West of The Runaways | Photo: Chris Walter

The Runaways are one of the greatest rock and roll bands ever. They embodied the essence of what rock is meant to be, and what makes it so great. Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Jackie Fox, Sandy West, and Cherie Currie were a group made in heaven.

Sandy had a great passion for the music from a young age. Her drum playing was furious and pounding. There wasn’t a complication to her playing, it was pure rock. Rock beats are usually simple and are there as a backbone to drive and support the song.

Her drumming can be heard throughout The Runaways catalogue. Listen to the song “Cherry Bomb”. This is West at her highest.

Right at the beginning of the song the kit is pushing the song into what would become one of the biggest girl rock and roll anthems.

Watch this video of West performing this song live with the band

Dorothea Taylor (born 1950)

Dorothea Taylor
Dorothea “Godmother of Drumming” Taylor

Dorothea Taylor is one of the newest drummers on the scene. Well, sort of. She started playing drums at the age of 13. Now she is 73 and is still rocking!

What made her fame pop was a video posted by the popular drumming group Drumeo. Taylor played an amazing cover of “Down with the Sickness”. It sparked an insane uproar from the drumming community.

She is now a normal appearance on Drumeo. She is loved and adored by the community.

Her real skill seems to be rudiments. Her ability to rip through certain rudiments takes a lot of time and dedication. A notable one is the flam tap. This is alternating between a flam, and a single. Dorothea is able to hammer these out very quickly.

The peak of her career to this point has most likely been her appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where she did a drum battle with Questlove.

Watch how Nana Dorothea competes in a drum-off with Questlove

Cindy Blackman (born 1959)

Cindy Blackman Santana
Cindy Blackman | Photo: Ciro Boro

Cindy Blackman is a more renowned name on this list. Known by many for being the wife of Carlos Santana. Her drumming abilities are really something to be heard.

Cindy’s drumming can be echoing of a Stewart Copeland. In the way that every note has its place. None of them seem to be for show.

She was twice in her career the drummer for the Lenny Kravitz band. Currently she is the regular touring drummer for the band Santana.

One of her biggest achievements is her album Another Lifetime. This album is really a work of art. Drummer or not, it is worth the listen.

All of the instruments just fit so well together. With the drums added in, it is a barrage of different sounds and ideas that should really be heard.

She continues to make new music and inspire the drumming world.

Watch this video of Blackman performing live at the Stockholm Jazz Festival

Moe Tucker (born 1944)

Maureen Ann Moe Tucker
Maureen Ann “Moe” Tucker

Moe Tucker is an insanely inspirational drummer to many. She truly defined the art of playing what the song needs. The Velvet Underground would not have had their sound without her.

Listening to some of their work, you will quickly realize the lack of traditional drums. Today’s world focuses on playing a beat or groove that fits the song. Tucker took this with an extreme simpler approach. There are barely grooves, if that makes sense.

Many of Velvet’s most popular songs contain a lot of auxiliary percussion. Snares are foreign, ride cymbals, hi-hats. These songs are special in their own way, and Moe made that sound.

Watching footage of her drumming reveals sometimes she played standing up. Using mallets instead of sticks on the drums themselves. Very unusual to say the least.

But these are the qualities that make her such a well-known drummer.

Watch this documentary by Cam Forrester to explore the legendary drummer

Senri Kawaguchi (born 1997)

Senri Kawaguchi
Senri Kawaguchi | Photo: Drumeo

Speed is a skill that all drummers strive for. Some achieve it better than other. Along with it comes control. The two must go hand in hand. To have these two skills at the high level that Kawaguchi does is a blessing.

Senri can play very quickly, filling the space with large amounts of notes. Containing the control that they are all heard, and none of them sound sloppy.

At the young age of 8 years old, she began training with the drum master Kozo Suganuma. At the age of 13 she was added to the Drummerworld’s list of top 500 drummers.

She plays with a jazz fusion, rock style. There are elements of the complications of jazz.

Senri also has very good snare work. She is able to play it in a way that is almost becoming lost in time. How the likes of Buddy Rich were able to work the snare and solo on it on its own.

But elements of rock are also hinted at. Especially in the regard that you can feel the pulse and follow along with her playing.

Currently she is 27 and has plenty of room to continuing growing. It will be crazy to see where she is five years from now.

Watch this crazy drum solo performed by the incredible Senri Kawaguchi

Viola Smith (1912 – 2020)

Viola Smith
Viola Smith | Photo: Authentic Wisconsin

The roaring 20’s was a time to be alive. The world was changing and innovating. Someone who came along with this was female drummer Viola Smith.

She is one of the first professional female drummers in the game. Viola had a long extensive career, recording movie soundtracks, touring, and recording for other artists. She even turned down an opportunity to play in Sinatra’s band!

Her drumming style was that of the time period. Very jazzy with different sounds pulled in. Wood blocks were used in her solos, which is unique to the time period. They produce a clicky sound that waves away from the traditional boom, crashes and cracks of the kit.

She was also fond of using mallets on the kit. An amazing video of her you can search for is her playing with The Coquettes. It is a spectacle to see how she aids the song and plays her solos.

Viola Smith helped pave the way for futures girls wanting to play the drums.

Watch this recording of Smith performing with The Coquettes

Karen Carpenter (1950 – 1983)

Karen Carpenter
Karen Carpenter | Photo: David Warner Ellis

Karen Carpenter is perhaps one of the most talented people on this list. Let’s start with her drumming.

She kept things decently simple. But she did have that fancy flair to it. Most of her music with The Carpenters was rock based. Again, there was a flair to it that was just slight enough for it to not overpower or stick out in the song.

Along with being in this band, she also did some solo performances where she displays more of what she is really able to do behind the kit. Much more technical than what you would find within her music.

Now what made Karen special was her ability to play drums and sing. This is a talent not many possess. There are drummers who can do so separately. But to be able to do both at the same time is quite the feat.

Being able to control your voice, and all your limbs at once can be quite the challenge, making Karen Carpenter an amazing drummer with unique talent.

Watch this video of 18-year-old Karen drumming and singing during the live show

Anika Nilles (born 1983)

Anika Nilles
Anika Nilles | Photo: Drumeo

It is never too late to start playing drums. Anika Nilles is a great example of this.

Anika had the eyes of being a musician from a young age. Though growing up in society, she was shunned away from being a musician. Completely understandable, who wants to take that kind of risk?

She became a pre-school teacher to keep herself afloat. But at the age of 26, decided to take up the drums professionally, finally pursuing her long awaited career.

She started around 2010, bringing her drums to YouTube. And now has worked her way up to releasing two of her own albums. Pikalar is an especially good listen.

Her drumming has been practiced down to the nail. Everything is in time and is played fluidly. Some drummers you can give the water treatment, their drumming just flows. It is a delight to listen to.

Overall, Anika is one of the top-tier female drummers of the 21st century.

Watch this video of Anika performing a composition from her album, Pikalar

Meg White (born 1974)

Meg White of The White Stripes
Meg White of The White Stripes | Photo: Scott Gries

Being the drummer for the band The White Stripes is a pretty big deal. They are one of the most influential bands since their first album in 1999.

Though music was slowly changing and being more commercialized, the sounds were being cleaned up, becoming more “professional”, they stuck with the old sounds.

Songs like “Seven Nation Army” represent a garage-band-like sound. Yes, the sound is sort of tidied up, but in general, there is still that feeling of freedom and going off the rails.

Meg’s drumming is not that of an amazing drummer. She stuck to simplicity and played to the song. It is a trait that can be hard to find in today’s world. So, some people would discourage her from being on this list.

But truth of the matter is, whether you believe she has any drumming talent or not, White was an integral part of The White Stripes sound, landing her a spot on the famous female drummers list.

Watch this video of Meg White performing live for The White Stripes


All of these drummers here are remarkable. They all fill in a part of the female drumming world.

Sina is a great YouTube drummer who helped define female drumming on the platform.

Nandi is the recent drumming prodigy who brought light to the drumming world from the outside.

Sandy recorded some of the biggest female rock and roll hits.

Dorothea, like Nandi, has brought a lighthearted, warm feeling to the world of drumming.

Cindy performed in one of the best drumming albums – Another Lifetime.

Moe helped create the unique sound that is The Velvet Underground.

Senri is one of the fastest and most skilled drummers alive now.

Viola created the vision of females becoming professional drummers.

Karen is one of the best singing drummers of all time.

Anika has one of those inspirational stories that would guide anyone to pursue their dreams, no matter the age.

Finally, Meg was the drummer of a massively inspirational rock band that brought many others to create music.

The female drumming world is truly great and a stone in the drum world.