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The Drumeo “Drummer Of The Year” Awards

Drumeo  /  Articles / Dec 20

Voting for the 2021 Drumeo Awards is now closed. Thanks for participating and supporting your favorite drummers! We’ll be announcing the winners during a special live stream awards show on our social channels on February 4 from 1-4 pm PST.

Introducing The 2021 Drumeo Awards

Every year, drummers around the world accomplish amazing things. From ‘how did they do that’ performances to tasteful recordings and creative initiatives, musicians are making moves and taking names.

In 2021 in particular, their drumming is inspiring people to get through a difficult time and encouraging others to express themselves on the instrument. So we decided that this would be the perfect time to launch an awards program to recognize drummers who stood out this year.

We polled the drumming community and worked through dozens of names with an internal panel of drummers. We’ve identified nominees in 13 categories (9 style categories and 4 overall categories) and now we’re turning to you to decide who should receive each award.

You have until December 25 at 11:59 pm PST to vote!

Vote for your favorite drummers here

Find a quick overview of why each nominee was chosen, then choose your favorite.

Drummer Of The Year

This award will go to a drummer who checked all the boxes this year with recording projects, live/video events, online presence, and all-around excellence in their contributions to music.

  • Travis Barker – He played with everyone this year. And we mean everyone.
  • Mario Duplantier – Sitting in on Seth Meyers, combined with a new and highly-acclaimed Gojira album and his own drum sample pack, Duplantier has had a great 2021.
  • Larnell Lewis – Lewis has had a big year: his “Enter Sandman” video went viral, he put on a clinic at PASIC and participated in a live stream for the Juno Awards, Snarky Puppy won a GRAMMY for their latest album, he performed on JAZZFM with The Jeremy Ledbetter Trio, and he’s been busy coaching drums online as well.
  • Todd Sucherman – With a new Styx record, online clinics and coaching, Todd is a rock drumming master.
  • Robert “Sput” Searight – From Toto to Ghost-Note and KAMANI, tour dates, festivals, an iHeartRadio Music Awards performance and more, Sput has been all over the map.

Rock Drummer Of The Year

  • Todd Sucherman – With a new Styx record, online clinics and coaching, Todd is a rock drumming master.
  • Taylor Hawkins – Not only did the Foo Fighters put out a new album, but they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame this year and performed at the ceremony.
  • Baard Kolstad – An underrated but killer drummer, you need to check out Kolstad’s playing on Leprous’ 2021 album (and some of his awesome press from earlier this year).
  • Abe Cunningham – Deftones received multiple GRAMMY nominations for their new record, and Cunningham has outdone himself once again.
  • Chad Smith – Smith has had a busy year with a Red Hot Chili Peppers release, several supergroup collaborations, work on Eddie Vedder’s solo recordings, a track on Miley Cyrus’ Metallica covers album, and a feature on the Netflix documentary Count Me In.

Metal Drummer Of The Year

  • Mario Duplantier – Sitting in on Seth Meyers, combined with a new and highly-acclaimed Gojira album and his own drum sample pack, Duplantier has had a great year.
  • Dan Searle – Architects’ epic live streams, Abbey Road sessions and a new album kept Searle busy in 2021.
  • Spencer Prewett – Archspire’s new album features some of the fastest drumming you’ve ever heard (even by their standards) and Prewett deserves recognition for pushing the boundaries of what’s humanly possible.
  • Zev Rose – Spiritbox blew up this year, bringing light to Rose’s groovy but technical drumming, evident from his contributions to their new full-length album and massive live shows.
  • Jay Weinberg – Despite ongoing pandemic challenges, Slipknot released their first new track in over two years, persevered with Knotfest, and Weinberg launched a cool ‘jam with Jay’ initiative.

Progressive Drummer Of The Year

  • Matt Garstka – On top of Animals As Leaders releasing new music for the first time in five years, Garstka took on drum camps and clinics, put out drum transcriptions, and even streamed on Twitch.
  • Marco Minnemann – Never one to shy away from a diverse schedule, Minnemann played dates with Mohini Dey Collective, drummed on Fernando Molinari and Jan Rivera albums (among others), composed his next solo album, released a new album with The Aristocrats, and put out course content with Drum Channel.
  • Gavin Harrison – Porcupine Tree reformed and released its first single in 12 years, plus The Pineapple Thief did a cinematic live stream to keep things alive during the ongoing COVID restrictions. 
  • Jay Postones – The Tesseract drummer released his own sample pack through Toontrack, broadcast regular drumming streams on Twitch, took on tour dates, and released a new album.
  • Mike Mangini – With a new Dream Theater album and GRAMMY nomination – plus plenty of teaching – Mangini isn’t one to slow down.

Jazz Drummer Of The Year

  • Nate Smith – With a new album and accompanying tour dates, a cover story in Jazzism Magazine, an appearance on Seth Meyers and a masterclass, Smith is doing it all.
  • Mark Guiliana – Always one to watch, Guiliana toured and recorded with St. Vincent, lent his talents to jazz festivals and a David Bowie birthday celebration, contributed a track to a Louis Armstrong box set, played on a GRAMMY nominated jazz vocal album and more.
  • Brian Blade – Blade recorded and performed with Dave Stryker, performed with an opera and with Norah Jones, and toured with The Fellowship Band.
  • Marcus Gilmore – Not only did Gilmore tour with Zakir Hussain, feature on an album with Pat Metheny, play dates with Joshua Redman and guest with Brandee Younger, but his drumming was also featured in a Pixar film!
  • Eric Harland – His new album with Chris Potter, new album and live dates with Charles Lloyd & The Marvels, and other live dates kept Harland busy this year.

Contemporary Drummer Of The Year

  • Yussef Dayes – Dayes’ solo tour around Europe in 2021 included several prominent jazz festivals.
  • Chris Coleman – With a cover story in Batterie Magazine, masterclasses, a residency on Late Night With Seth Meyers, and the long-awaited Prince release Welcome 2 America, Coleman is killing it.
  • Larnell Lewis – Lewis has had a big year: his “Enter Sandman” video went viral, he put on a clinic at PASIC and participated in a live stream for the Juno Awards, Snarky Puppy won a GRAMMY for their latest album, he performed on JAZZFM with The Jeremy Ledbetter Trio, and he’s been busy coaching drums online as well.
  • Emmanuelle Caplette – With a regular gig on French Canadian TV show Belle Et Bum, her first book launch, sitting in on Seth Meyers, playing with Shad and delivering an online masterclass, Caplette has had a full schedule.
  • Justin Tyson – Tyson performed with Herbie Hancock, streamed live with Robert Glasper, performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival, tracked an album with Esperanza Spalding and more.

Country Drummer Of The Year

  • Rich Redmond – Redmond always keeps a busy schedule, and 2021 was no different. He hosted events, participated with other popular drummers in a fundraiser video, plus he released a new studio album with Jason Aldean and hit the road.
  • Eddie Bayers – A legend in the country world, Bayers drummed on Alan Jackson’s first album in six years and was inducted into the Country Hall Of Fame.
  • Miles McPherson – A prolific session guy, McPherson recorded on multiple established country artists’ albums in 2021. You might know him from previous recordings with Reba McEntire and Rascal Flatts or tours with Kelly Clarkson.
  • Chris Fryar – Fryar released several new songs this year and played some massive gigs with Zac Brown Band.
  • Billy Freeman – Tours with Dustin Lynch, a new album and singles, and a stint on Jimmy Kimmel gave Freeman a lot to take on this year.

Pop Drummer Of The Year

  • Aaron Sterling – You’ll hear his drumming on the latest John Mayer, Lady A, Niall Horan, and Lana Del Rey albums – plus his very own sample pack!
  • Ash Soan – Soan appears on the new Del Amitri and Rod Stewart albums, the Dear Evan Hansen and Boss Baby 2 soundtracks, and more. He released a solo album this year, was featured on Late Night With Seth Meyers, won a GRAMMY for his work with Dua Lipa, and recorded with Gary Barlow/The Wanted.
  • Domino Santantonio – Known for her never-ending pop covers on her social channels and her live gig with Roxane Bruneau, Santantonio has spent much of 2021 drumming at major events with a variety of well-known French Canadian artists.
  • Brian Frasier-Moore – Never one to slow down, Frasier-Moore kept his schedule full with online teaching, an upcoming performance for the Modern Drummer Festival live stream, fundraiser videos, backing Ed Sheeran on SNL and Ne-Yo for a Detroit Lions game anthem, a performance at the American Music Awards and the Kennedy Center Honors Gala, performing with members of 98 Degrees/NSYNC on an ABC Christmas special, and Jimmy Fallon’s That’s My Jam on NBC.
  • Aaron Spears – Spears took on a Vegas residency with Usher and drummed on The Masked Singer, among other ongoing initiatives.

R&B/Hip-Hop Drummer Of The Year

  • Questlove – Not only was he the Musical Director of the 2021 Academy Awards, but the Roots drummer kept expanding his career by directing an award-winning documentary.
  • Perrin Moss – With an ARIA nomination and Hiatus Kaiyote’s first album in six years, Moss is a drummer to watch.
  • Daru Jones – A new sample pack, an upcoming appearance at the virtual Modern Drummer Festival and shows with DMD The Vibes are just a few of Jones’ accomplishments in 2021.
  • Rashid Williams – Williams backed Rick Ross for an NPR Tiny Desk concert, and he stayed busy with online drum clinics.
  • Chris “Daddy” Dave – Dave released a solo EP, contributed drums to several tracks on the new Adele album, and launched a monthly residency in Houston to promote up and coming musicians.

Soul/Funk Drummer Of The Year

  • Robert “Sput” Searight – From Toto to Ghost-Note and KAMANI, tour dates, festivals, an iHeartRadio Music Awards performance and more, Sput has been all over the map.
  • Nikki Glaspie – With The Nth Power’s new album and tour dates, live gigs with KAMANI and Punkadelick, a Seth Meyers residency and an upcoming Modern Drummer Festival appearance, Glaspie has had an intense year!
  • Eric Hernandez – Hernandez’s performance with Silk Sonic at the AMAs and Vegas residency with Bruno Mars proved that live music is back.
  • Anderson .Paak – A new project formed in 2021 with Bruno Mars, Silk Sonic released an album based around Paak’s drum beats, and it’s worth noting his contributions to drumming in the genre this year.
  • David Garibaldi – Garibaldi released a new live album with Tower Of Power, made a special appearance at the GRAMMY museum, and started a drumming podcast with other legends (called Stick People).

Online Creator Of The Year

This award goes to a drummer who has built their profile independently, have created a strong online community, and are constantly inspiring people with their videos, playing, and personality.

Drum Performance Of The Year

The winner of this award put on a legendary, must-watch performance during the year (captured on video), either with a full band at an event or a solo studio video.

Drum Recording Of The Year

Let’s celebrate recorded music. The winner of this award will have played on a single track or a full album that has made an outstanding contribution to music via the drums.


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