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Nancy McManus (18+)

Nancy McManus (18+)

Name: Nancy McManus
Category: Drumset
Age: 54
Location: Langley, Canada

As I sat here thinking about what to write, and how to put my entry into words, I thought about the reason and history behind the Hit Like a Girl Contest, and how challenging it was for women to break into the music industry, especially on drums. It reminded me of some of the reactions that I have gotten when people realized that it was a female on the drums.

It still surprises me when people come up to me after we have played a set and tell me that I sound like anyone of the following drummers – Ringo Starr, John Bonham, Phil Collins, or even Keith Moon, depending on the style of song that we are performing. They are definitely influences in my style.

As far as my goals musically speaking, I was wanted to play drums in high school band, but shyness and a multitude of male drummers already in the school band, kept me from pursuing drums at that time. I dabbled in a variety of instruments and choral singing over the years, looking for “my” instrument, the one that I would connect with. It wasn’t until my youngest son started taking drum lessons that I finally got the opportunity to try my hand at the instrument I always wanted to play!

At my first lesson with Mike Michalkow, at the age of 48, I was asked what I wanted from my drums. My response, “You might think I’m crazy, but I want to be in a band.” His response, “I don’t think you’re crazy, I think that’s awesome, let’s get started.” Ten months after starting my lessons with Mike, I had an offer to arrange the drum parts for an original song by a local musician/songwriter, Brian Harris. Within a year I was playing jams with him, and by 2013 we had formed the band, Ages 2020. Our goal is for Ages 2020 to go into the studio and record an album of original music. My personal goal is to continue to be a role model for female drummers by encouraging them to pursue their passion, just as I have.

The song that we are playing in the video, “Stone Cold Man”, is an original that is due to go on the first album, later this year. The video is taken at the Landmark Events Festival at the Red Room in Vancouver, BC and is a raw version of the song performed live at the gig. The drum parts for this song were arranged by me to fit the feel of the music in cooperation with Brian’s vision of how he wanted the song to sound.
I am thrilled to be a part of HLAG, and to see so many women and girls of all ages showcasing their talent on this amazing instrument.

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  1. Hi Nancy, Love to see the live performances. We both started about the same age, so we know it’s never too late. I too had a lot of shyness getting into this mostly male world of music performance. But I persevered and got to the point of doing a respectable performance. I love it when the audience figures out it is a girl on drums. A lot of times it’s just drummer buddies who let me sit in on their gig for a few songs so there is that sudden shift to female not expected. Loved your song and playing.

    • Thank-you Rasila. I appreciate the feedback. I will check out yours as well.


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