hit like a girl 2021 drum contest
[Photo via Jason Pofahl/unsplash]

Public voting has opened for the 2021 Hit Like A Girl contest. Each year, the international contest returns to promote the visibility of female drummers and percussionists.

Supporters can now cast votes for their favorite contestants. They can submit one vote per person per day through April 25 at 11:59 p.m. PST by logging in to the Hit Like A Girl website.

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This year’s contest features a strong group of musicians from across the globe. The contest is open to all women, girls and gender expansive individuals. There are no age limits because the international contest is broken down into four age groups: under 13, 13-17, 18-39 and over 40. The Beatmaking category includes under 18 and over 18.

The contestants include U.S.-based drummer Isabelle De Leon, who is competing in the 18-39 age bracket. Raised in a musical family and trained in jazz at the University of Maryland, De Leon has played in a number of successful bands including Ivy Rose and IZA FLO. De Leon was also invited to participate in Oprah Winfrey’s 2020 Vision: Your Life In Focus tour with the band Daybreaker. For her submission, De Leon added a frenetic drum part over the mellow “Avengers” from drumless track site shedtracks.com.

Russian drummer Elizaveta Yurina, aka Liza is also competing in the 18-39 category. Yurina began playing drums 10 years ago and now currently teaches students in addition to performing. While she mainly focuses on metal music, Liza submitted a funky high-intensity cover of Cardi B’s “Up.”

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The pair will face off against Montserrat Iñiguez Macias. Also known as Montse IM, the drummer was born Guadalajara, Mexico and studies music production at Berklee School of Music. Additionally, Montse regularly posts videos to her TikTok. For her entry, Montse IM submitted a cover of Miley Cyrus’ “Prisoner” featuring Dua Lipa, replacing the track’s electronic beats with a low-key drum groove.

Additionally, the 18-39 category features Julia Stixx, a Las Vegas-based studio musician and touring drummer. Stixx is a veteran of the punk and metal scene, having played with a number of groups in the D.C. and Las Vegas area including Flirting With Disaster and her current band Metal Lixx. Stixx cites a number of drummers as key influences, including Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe, Iron Maiden’s Nicko McBrain and Avenged Sevenfold’s late drummer James “The Rev” Sullivan, who passed away in 2009. For that reason, it’s no surprise she submitted a performance of Avenged Sevenfold’s “Almost Easy,” making the song’s powerful drum part even more prominent in the track.

The 13-17 group includes Amy Harrison, a 17-year-old drummer from Bolton, England. Harrison is a talented young multi-instrumentalist who began on piano and is currently teaching herself guitar and ukulele. She cites a number of influences, including twenty one pilots drummer Josh Dun, Mini Fairhurst and Sarah Thawer. Harrison chose to perform an animated rendition of Arctic Monkeys’ “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor,” citing the band’s drummer Matt Helders as one of her biggest inspirations.

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Supporters can actively participate in the voting process. To contribute, log in to the Hit Like A Girl contest website to vote for your favorites from some of the world’s top female drummers and beatmakers. You can show your support by voting once per day between now and April 25 at 11:59 PM PST.

hit like a girl
[Hit Like A Girl]

More on Hit Like A Girl

Hit Like A Girl is an amateur contest. Drummers or percussionists who have an endorsement contract or make more than $50,000 per year playing music are ineligible. To enter the contest, participants submitted a video of a performance, with a recommended length of 3 minutes. They also provided brief bios telling their story, as well as a recent photo behind the drum kit.

HLAG features a number of mini-contests sponsored by top percussion brands including Paiste and Latin Percussion. The additional Beatmaking category is open to women and girls who focus on digital production. Co-sponsored by Beats By Girlz, contestants can upload originals, covers or remixes to SoundCloud.

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Hit Like A Girl has enlisted many celebrity judges. This year’s line-up features a long list of significant artists, including Jess Bowen (the Summer Set, 3OH!3, Tessa Violet), Emily Moon (Starbenders), David Garibaldi (Tower Of Power), Sarah Tomek (Steven Tyler), Nikki Glaspie (Beyoncé), Ainjel Emme (David Bowie, KISS) and many other musicians. Judges determine the champions and runner-ups using a standardized score sheet.

Hit Like A Girl contestants are competing for over $75,000 in prizes. Potential awards include drums, cymbals, sticks, heads, accessories, electronic gear, educational material, lessons and scholarships. Many educational prizes come from event sponsors, including School of Rock, Ableton and Hudson Music. Some winners can even receive performance opportunities at prestigious events or music camps around the world.

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Last year’s contest had entries from more than 50 countries, and nearly 100 women were picked as winners. The 2020 winners include Michaela Naydenova, Drummer Subin, Michelle Pietrafitta and Aira Deathstorm. The overall contest champion was Lisa Chepkovskaya.

Hit Like A Girl will announce winners and award recipients on their website and social media pages May 14 at 3 p.m. ET. More information on the Hit Like A Girl contest is available here.