Tom Tom Magazine caught up with Jessica Smith (Silver Drum Girl) from her hometown in Asheville, NC to ask this street performer a bit about herself. We found out that not only are we a big fan of hers but so is Steven Tyler.
When did you start drumming and for how long? I have been drumming for 15 years but I started drumming at The Silver Drummer Girl 8 years ago.
What inspired you to dress up and paint yourself silver? I had been performing as joan oF Arc and decided to reinvent a character that could incorporate the snare and be more engaging.
What is a typical reaction to your street performance? “I didn’t know she was real!” is something that I get a lot.
What does a typical day for you entail? Kids dance, grandpas dance, teenagers try to get a rise out of me and I usually get a rise out of them to the delight of the crowd! Sometimes people will crowd around and wait for someone to come up and tip me and then sometimes people will walk up and say “What is that? I didn’t see that here before.” People love to see me go back to being still and then when a person walks by me, I will crack a snare roll and the crowd will uproar in laughs when they see me startle someone. They’ll get up really close and then someone with them will say, “Do you think it plays that drum?” Someone will then put a dollar in my basket and are surprised that I do in fact move and shake and play a drum fill that they were not expecting.
What is one of the strangest reactions you got? That is a toss up between the time when Steven Tyler crawled up to me on hands and knees in the Jackson Square, New Orleans to give me a tip and when a lady made the entire crowd do the cabbage patch and say “Go Jessie, Go Jessie Go Jessie.”
What would your dream street performance be? Getting my band Common Visions to all dress as a statues with their instruments and getting to play our song when tipped would be fun.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I am in furniture school right now and am hoping to be making custom couches. I do see myself continuing to perform as the Silver Drummer Girl as I have been performing for more and more festivals.
Read more about The Silver Drummer here and in Issue 6 of Tom Tom Magazine. Look for her video of her performing on Tom Tom TV.