Drummer Spotlight: Romarna Campbell

Header Photo Credit: Kimberley Hawkins

Full Name:
Romarna Campbell

Age:
21

City:
Birmingham, UK

Music Project:
B L A N (C) A N V A S

Fav venue to play in:
Birmingham Symphony Hall – It’s one of the first spaces that I ever performed in and feels like home.

Your current gear set up:

  • 13”x8” Natal Meta Aluminium Snare
  • Premier Heritage Artist Birch:
  • 14” Snare
  • 12” Tom
  • 14” Floor Tom
  • 18” OR 20”x8” Bass DruM
  • 20” Zildjian K Custom Dry Ride
  • 20” Zildjian K Pre-Aged Dry Light Ride
  • 21” Zildjian K Custom Special Dry Ride (with rivets)
  • 16” Meinl Candela Percussion Crash
  • 14” Vintage Zyn HiHATS

One piece of gear you wish you had:
20” K Constantinople Bounce Ride OR the 20” K Constantinople Medium Thin Ride Low (I love cymbals!)

How did you get your start in music?
Ironically I started out as a flautist; possibly one of the easiest instruments to set up and transport. Around the age of 7 or so, I attended a percussion workshop and that was pretty much the beginning. Quite soon after that, my Mum bought my Dad a drum kit, which I took delight in helping him open and set up. They had hell keeping me away from that kit.

“I think the recent rise in gender and racial prejudice has highlighted the daily micro-aggressions faced by women in music.”

Why drumming?
I have a theory that everyone has an instrument that matches their demeanour and personality. For me, from a very young age, music was at the heart of everything I did. Playing the drums simply felt like a natural extension of me as a person and my personality. There is nothing quite like that feeling of absolutely finding that groove, that pocket, and just letting it simmer or the furious exchange of ideas in the middle of someone’s solo. For me, drumming is about being part of a collective group all aiming for a common goal.

What are your thoughts on Nepotism in the music industry?
I’m of the opinion that nepotism in the music industry can’t be avoided. Every job has it’s perks and it’s not necessarily always with negative intentions. For the type of industry that music is, many of the people that you work and collaborate with, are also people that you socialise with and in many cases, are some of your closest friends and/or family. I think it’s very much still happening, but I also think the industry is what you make of it. There’s no doubt that it is and can be an upward struggle, but it’s worth it.

“Find your voice, have your say and never lose sight of where you want to go and what you want to do!”

What have you overcome to have the career in music you have right now?
To be blunt…being female. The music industry is still very much a male-dominated industry and environment at every level, whether that be in education or professionally. I think it can be really easy to become discouraged and disheartened by the negative energy that can be channelled in your direction. However, I work hard to be the best musician that I can be and nobody can take that away from me. I think the recent rise in gender and racial prejudice has highlighted the daily micro-aggressions faced by women in music.

What is the thing you are most excited about musically at the moment?
My new band, B L A N (C) A N V A S. We recently debuted our first project called ‘Limitations of Our Imaginations’. It’s my first time being in the revolving seat of the band leader, composer, arranger and drummer. I also whole-heartedly believe in my bandmates’ skill and power as musicians, both individually and collectively. The most exciting part for me is to hand over charts. What do they hear and how will they interpret the music that I have composed? The most stressful part of the whole process is presenting new charts. By that point, I have been completely immersed in the creation of that piece; it’s become a part of me emotionally.

As well as my new band, I’m excited to start at Berklee College of Music this fall. 18 year old me can’t contain the excitement! 21 year old me is still in complete disbelief and overwhelmed! I have also been completely humbled by the incredible love and support that I have received from all my family and friends. I’m can’t wait for this next chapter.

Photo Credit: Silas Zur

What one piece of advice would you give a girl starting out right now?

Find your voice, have your say and never lose sight of where you want to go and what you want to do! Don’t let the fear and pessimism of others become yours! Many will try to discourage you from every angle, take that discouragement as strength to aim higher and strive for more! Most of all, own it like no one else can but you.

Keep up with Romarna via Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr!

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