What were you doing when you were 10 years old? Most likely it wasn’t jamming on stage with Lenny Kravitz at the O2 Arena, or taking part in drum-offs with Dave Grohl. But this is how young drummer Nandi Bushell spends her downtime. The viral sensation, from Ipswich, has already built up a hell of a buzz, earning fans in the likes of Tom Morello (who gifted her his signature Fender Stratocaster) and appearing in the Argos Christmas advert last year.
As she and Grohl engage in the most wholesome virtual drum-battle of all time, here we take a look back on some of Nandi’s best ever covers.
Bring Me The Horizon, ‘Mantra’
“I really love letting it all out to this song!” Nandi writes in the YouTube description for this one – and you can tell. The pint-sized drummer is clearly having a blast playing this Bring Me track from last year, singing along to the vocals and tossing her sticks in the end. Bring Me stickman Matt Nicholls has better watch his back.
Foo Fighters, ‘Everlong’
One of Nandi’s more recent covers, this is a belting rendition of the Foos classic. Alongside the video she wrote: “My dream is to one day jam with Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins and all the @Foo Fighters!”, finishing her version by challenging Grohl to that drum off. After responding in kind, Grohl set Bushell his own challenge: to perfect Dead End Friends’ by his supergroup Them Crooked Vultures. It’s a lovely story of music bringing the legendary rocker and Nandi together, but the best bit of all of this has to be when Nandi shouts “checkmate” at the end, knowing she’s smashed it.
Dua Lipa, ‘Don’t Start Now’
Here Nandi shows she’s not just a drummer, picking up the bass to play the strutting bassline from Dua Lipa’s hit ‘Don’t Start Now’. It comes after the two met on Scandinavian talk show Skavlan and Dua invited her on tour with her. While we may not be able to see the two perform IRL any time soon, this short-but-sweet cover is pure pop euphoria.
System of a Down, ‘Chop Suey’
Nandi properly goes for it here – she puts her own stamp on the massive metal tune; no mean feat.
Red Hot Chili Peppers, ‘Californication’
Look, most people can’t play one instrument as well as Nandi plays the drums. Here she proves she’s a whizz at them all, playing every single instrument on Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘Californication’, and then even looping them all herself. Bow down.
Green Day, ‘Basket Case’
Here she makes it look so easy, getting the drum part perfectly and not breaking a sweat whilst doing it. Nandi was born several decades after Green Day‘s pop-punk classic ‘Basket Case’ came out, but listen to this version with your eyes closed and you’d be hard pressed not to think she was a veteran drummer. Nandi Bushell, we are not worthy.
Coldplay, ‘Fix You’
Most of Nandi’s covers lean to the heavier end of music’s spectrum so her bitesize Coldplay cover is a rare chance to see her doing a more tender track. That doesn’t mean she lets up any of her power, though, smashing the skins to reinforce the emotion in the track. Her drum corner gets a makeover too for this video, finding her pounding along with coloured lights and neon decorations on her kit and sticks.
Queen, ‘We Are The Champions’
When Queen’s Roger Taylor himself sends you a pair of signed drumsticks, what’s the first thing you’re gonna do with them? Learn a Queen song, of course, and Nandi chose a banger to thank the star. Not only does she drum along flawlessly, she also mouths the words with so much enthusiasm and joy it’s hard not to get swept up in it.
Ever since I jammed Hysteria by @muse on drums I wanted to learn the bass line too as it’s so so #awesome! It is the HARDEST bass line I have ever learned. I had to concentrate A LOT! @MattBellamy #domhoward #chriswolstenholme – #muse #hysteria #mattbellamy pic.twitter.com/kEppn1T6Nk
— Nandi Bushell (@Nandi_Bushell) December 6, 2020
Nandi already nailed this Muse track on drums before but she’s returned to it to slay on bass too. It’s quite something to watch her noodling away on four strings while the video of her on drums plays along in the corner – proof of her talent.
If you thought playing two of a song’s parts was impressive, on her Audioslave cover, Nandi added guitar into the mix too. Can she leave an instrument for the rest of us to play (with half of her skill) please?