Whitney K. Sellers was born and raised in Florence, South Carolina. She currently resides in Columbia, SC. She was brought up in a musical family, with her dad originally teaching her how to play the drum set and snare drum, starting with rudiments. She started out playing in church, and from there joined some of the bands at her high school. That’s where she learned rudiments, was taught how to read music, and gained experience playing different genres. Currently she works as a drummer full-time, playing with Chris Fairley, at New Hopewell Baptist Church, and for a few artists/groups in South and North Carolina.
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’s your city, country, and age?
Columbia, South Carolina, 23.
What’s your setup?
What I love to play with: Tama Drums, TRX cymbals, Cympad, Remo Drum Heads, Vic Firth Drumsticks and DestroyADrum Apparel. I use a 22” kick, 14” snare, and 10”, 12”, 14” toms. I play with a 17” X series crash, Hammerax crash coarse stack, 20” MDM crash-ride, 18” X series, and 14” X hats. I love that I can play them with any genre!
What bands do you perform with?
I play for Chris Fairley and a few other artists around Columbia and with a few bands in Charlotte.
What’s your origin story?
My dad taught me how to play drum set when I was five. He also taught me how to play snare, along with some rudiments before I started high school and joined the band. I was also playing in church every Sunday during that time.
Who’s your favorite drummer?
Honestly I love and listen to a majority of the drums for my hometown and all over South Carolina!
How do you practice? Do you have a routine?
When I practice I’m usually learning songs for a gig, but when I get to practice I work on independence techniques with a metronome.
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?
I believe we determine our own success. I know plenty of musicians who don’t care where they’re playing as long as they are playing their instruments. Some want to be on tours and around the world full time.
Being where you wanna be and doing what you wanna do is success!
Do you have any quotes or sayings that you live by?
“Play what you feel and feel what you play.”
“Give the drummer some.”
How important is failure in making music/performing?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve failed in my younger days, which made me the musician I am today! Showing up late, not really learning music, and getting embarrassed—those things made me become dependable and pushed me to never take advantage of any opportunity I’m given.
Any advice for girls contemplating getting started and making it in this arena?
Just do it! And make sure you’re having fun while doing so. Many people will talk but make sure when you start playing, they won’t have any choice but to talk about you!
Where else to find Whitney