Mariya Tikhonov – France

When I was a young girl, I wanted to play the drums but they seemed to be reserved solely for men. Every concert I watched I saw a man on drums and every band I listened to I heard a man on drums. Of course there were a handful of female drummers at the time but not very many and they were not very visible. At least they were not very visible to me.

Because I didn’t see any women playing drums, it took a long time for me to realize that this was something I could do. As a teenager I told myself that if I would see even one example of woman who played the drums and built a career in music, I could overcome my doubts and play the instrument I longed to play. By age 17 the urge to play was so strong I decided to become a drummer— even if it wasn’t for girls. This revelation was like finding the key to unlock my heart.

This was also when the phrase “Hit like a girl.” took on a whole new meaning. For me it meant to hit your way, hit hard, hit with confidence because we girls have what it takes to play the drums and anything else we choose to do.

I took lessons, practiced and, eventually, I graduated from the music conservatory in Agen, France. During the same period I had the good fortune to play with several bands, including an electro-pop band in Europe, an acid-jazz group in Russia and a local rock band in Morocco. Earlier this year I won 3rd place in the French section of the Hit Like A Girl contest and I am now working with a variety of pop, funk and hip-hop bands here in France.

Today the world is changing. We see more and more women on stages and records and videos. Being an Ambassador of Hit Like a Girl gives me an opportunity to highlight female drummers for other girls and women who want to play drums but who may be hesitant like I was. I am so excited to be part of this change.