If you haven’t seen or heard of Nandi Bushell yet, then you’re definitely missing out. This 11-year-old girl became an overnight social media and TV sensation with her vibrant and energetic videos of herself rocking out on the drums to her favorite pop and rock n’ roll hits.
One of the biggest highlights of her drumming videos is how she would scream and shout on top of her lungs, as she enthusiastically strikes her drums with high energy and accuracy. When asked by Ellen DeGeneres about what makes her want to scream while performing, Nandi responds without hesitation, “Well, I can be free and I can just let everything out. Then I get really tired. Then I just lay down. Then I go back to screaming…”
Being passionate music lovers themselves, Nandi’s parents showed her a video of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” when she was only 5. She showed a particular fascination to Ringo Starr’s drumming, which her parents encouraged by buying her her first drum set a few weeks after. She hasn’t stopped drumming since, and, in fact, has even started expanding her musical talent and potential to other instruments, like singing and playing the bass. Nandi lives in the UK with her younger brother and parents John and Lungile, where she apparently irks next-door neighbours with her drumming and screaming.
Born in South Africa, of Zulu descent, Nandi went viral through her Youtube channel. Rocking the drums to songs like Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”, Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and System of a Down’s “Toxicity” among others, her YT channel quickly gathered millions of views from all over the world and caught the attention of a number of famous artists like Dave Grohl, Lenny Kravitz and Questlove.
Former Nirvana drummer and presently Foo Fighters frontman, Dave Grohl, was so impressed by Nandi’s drumming and showmanship when he saw her drum cover of Nirvana’s “In Bloom”, which received more than 10 million views within the first week. “There’s something about seeing the joy and energy of a kid in love with the instrument,” Grohl commented.
A few months later, Nandi uploaded another performance video. This time, doing a cover of the Foo Fighters’ “Everlong”. In the video, Nandi confidently challenges Dave Grohl to an online drum-off. Dave happily accepts the challenge and even arranges an online meet-up with his youngest rival before they begin their epic drum battle. After posting some powerful, high-energy drumming video exchanges — with original rock n’ roll songs especially written for the drum battle, no less — Dave accepts defeat from Nandi and decides to invite her to perform live on stage with the Foo Fighters.
In the video shot by her dad, Nandi is shown taking the stage with so much confidence and even twirls her drumsticks before rocking out with the whole band to her favorite Foo Fighters song, “Everlong”. The crowd’s cheer resounds all through LA’s The Forum arena, but not as loud as the proud screaming and cheering of Nandi’s dad, which can be heard throughout the video. One of the video’s most heartwarming comments reads, “Your daddy is screaming because he did what every parent dreams of: Finding exactly what their child is good at and allowing them to live their dream. Great job Nandi.”
Since her Youtube breakthrough, Nandi Bushell has been invited for more guest appearances online and on TV shows like “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”, where host Ellen presented her with a bass guitar. She has also shared the stage with Lenny Kravitz and was featured as cover artist on the June 2021 issue of music magazine, “Modern Drummer.”
More recently, Nandi has posted some photos and videos on Instagram of her trip to the US, where she was able to meet and jam with some of her musical heroes. The post includes a short clip of her jamming with Rage Against the Machine’s guitarist Tom Morello and his son. Nandi also mentions how she has written a new song with the two and will be releasing it soon.
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