Jessica Burdeaux is a Chicago-based drummer for the pop-punk indie band City Mouth and for Naia Izumi, who won NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest in 2018. Burdeaux was intrigued by the drums after seeing her brother’s first kit as a child, and in fifth grade joined her school’s band.
It didn’t come easy to her, but, she says, “I never felt so determined to get better at something.” And she has succeeded in spades. Her drum covers regularly garner hundreds of thousands of views on social media, and her lessons are top-notch.
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?
Chicago, IL, 26.
Do you have endorsements?
Yes, Vic Firth, Big Fat Snare Drum, MEE Audio, and Destroy-A-Drum.
What bands/groups do you perform with, if any?
I perform with City Mouth and Naia Izumi.
What led you to your instrument? What’s your origin story?
My parents got my brother a First Act drum set when I was really little and I was super intrigued by it. When I was finally able to join band in fifth grade, I was set on being in percussion. In 7th grade, I got to join jazz band and had my first real experience playing the full kit. It was TOUGH, and I’d never felt so determined to get better at something. From that day forward, the drums have been a constant in my life and my biggest passion.
Who is your favorite drummer and why?
I have a whole list of favorite drummers and all for different reasons. Some drummers are my favorite for their positive attitudes, others for their groove. Any drummer that inspires me to work harder at something is a favorite.
How do you practice? Do you have a routine?
I actually have a whole Drumeo episode about this.
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?
There was a time in my career when there was virtually nothing going on. I didn’t have a band, I didn’t have a following, I didn’t have endorsements or anybody calling me up for gigs, and I didn’t feel “successful” at all. I was desperately trying to find my way into the industry and I had no idea how.
I remember seeing Paramore at this giant outdoor amphitheater and wondering to myself, “How on earth does somebody get from the top of this hill to behind those drums?” It totally blew me away to see people on stages like that because that’s what I thought “making it” looked like.
Now, a few years later, I’ve experienced things I never thought possible. Each and every time an opportunity arises, I feel like I’ve made it, because those are the things that will take me from the top of the hill, to the throne on the stage, and beyond. I love music and want to share that with as many people as I possibly can, always. Passion creates success, not the other way around, and if you stay passionate, you’ll continuously find yourself reaching new heights.
Do you have any quotes or sayings that you live by?
When I decided to pursue music, I was fresh out of college and full of doubt. I turned to one of my percussion instructors seeking advice and he said something very simple, yet incredibly powerful. ”Envision yourself doing well.” I realized how often we tell ourselves that something is impossible or picture ourselves losing instead of winning.
That’s exactly what I was doing when I thought about becoming a professional musician. I had no clue where to start and was feeling very discouraged. This quote helped me clear my mind of the negative thoughts and replace them with some positive ones. Opportunities will come to you if you’re truly open to them.
Any advice for girls contemplating getting started and making it in this arena?
If you love the drums or are interested in playing the drums, don’t let that hold you back. You might be the reason another aspiring female drummer picks up a pair of sticks one day.
Where else to find Jessica
YouTube: Jessica Burdeaux
My band City Mouth (@citymouth) just finished up an album that we will be releasing in the coming months, so stay tuned for that.