Bianca Richardson fell in love with drums in middle school, when she first saw and felt the magic of drumline. The band teacher tried to discourage her, telling her that playing in drumline wasn’t “lady-like.” She persisted, however, and has been grooving ever since. Richardson has played with performers such as Diana Gordon, XYLØ, Artur Menezes, Marcus Miller, as one half of the duo BNBGROOVES, and she performs as a session/freelance drummer.
Women are underrepresented in the percussion world. Our weekly series, Woman Crush Wednesday (#WCW), aims to recognize, celebrate, and inspire female percussionists of all stripes. Each Wednesday we’ll feature a profile of a drummer, who will share tips, advice, and videos.Want to be featured yourself? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org telling us more about you.
What is your city, country, and age?
Los Alamitos, California. I’m 26.
What kind of gear do you use? What’s your setup?
For drum kit, it varies. For snares I have a Ludwig Black Beauty and Black Magic.
My setup is SPD-SX, 12” mounted tom, 14” snare, 22” bass drum, 16” floor tom, 19” and 21” crashes, 24” ride, and a 16” hi-hat.
Do you have any endorsements?
Turkish Cymbals, Ultimate Ears, and Protec.
What bands/groups do you perform with, if any?
Diana Gordon, XYLØ, Artur Menezes, Marcus Miller, and I perform as a session/freelance drummer as well. And I’m one of two members of BNBGROOVES. I partner with my friend Billy Lebua on bass, and we make funny, funky tracks!
What led you to your instrument? What’s your origin story?
I remember seeing the drumline in middle school and remember the feeling the drums resonating in my body. My first thought was, “I want to be able to give that feeling to people.” So I joined the marching band, to be a part of the drumline, and then time kept passing by and my band teacher still hasn’t put me on the drumline. He said it wasn’t “lady like” and told me to play flute instead. When I heard this I told my parents about it and they handled everything [laughs].
Next thing you know I was on the drumline but they put me on fourth bass, which wasn’t the drum I wanted to play, but now that I think it about it, I’m glad I went through that season because for two years I had consistent training in my forearms, which I believe is the reason why I play heavy and I’m able to move fast around the kit, because the bass drum has little rebound.
I kept going, both teaching myself and having training by the drumline instructor. Watching YouTube and listening to the radio is how I taught myself certain grooves and to help me with my vocabulary with different of music.
Who is your favorite drummer and why?
My favorite drummers at the moment are my peers, Chris Coleman and Calvin Rodgers.
Are there any specific playing tips or techniques, or advice, exercises, or discoveries you’d like to share with Drum readers?
In school I didn’t have a routine, but now my advice would be to always put yourself in situations where you can experience the sound that you’re trying to achieve! If you aren’t in a band or church, go there, visit, and meet the musicians. Also YouTube is you best friend. Watch it and learn!
As artists, the goal post for “success” is always moving. There’s not one “I made it!” point. How do you think about and define success?
Success is when you’re able to help others through situations with the gift God has given you!
Do you have any quotes or sayings that you live by?
Where else to find Bianca?