Nandi Bushell, a 10-Year-Old Musician, Has The Spirit of 1,000 Rock Stars

There is a ton of chaos that comes with social media. That is an undeniable fact. But in the midst of all the questionable hot takes, comments and aggressive exchanges flooding the timeline, there is the splendorous discovery of the new—new things, new places and people—that sometimes manage to drown out all the noise and add a ray of sunshine to your day.

Such was the case back on a chilly grey morning in November 2019 when the destruction of the coronavirus was seemingly only affecting the people of China, and Americans were busy plotting their Thanksgiving holiday debauchery. Upon my groggy morning routine scroll through Twitter, I landed on a video of a little girl cloaked in all black and sitting at a drum set. I clicked play, and for a complete 57 seconds I watched, completely gobsmacked, as she drummed through Nirvana's "In Bloom."

To call the cover impressive would be an understatement. The performance gave me goosebumps. It was if Dave Grohl himself was guiding her tiny little hands and feet. And as she so passionately screamed while quite literally thrashing her drum set, you just knew that the spirit of the late great Kurt Cobain was somewhere in that room screaming with her.

I needed to know who this youngster with such invigorating talent and spunk was, so, naturally, I followed her.

The gifted musical prodigy turned out to be Nandi Bushell from Ipswich, England, and her Nirvana cover was just one of many amazing jam sessions featured on her social media accounts. At just 10 years old, she's already mastered plenty of classics by the rock gods from David Bowie's "Heroes" and Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child" to the Arctic Monkey's "Brain Storm" and "Hysteria" by Muse. She's even pretty killer on the guitar, as proven by her cover of Radiohead's "Creep."

And in the months since her "In Bloom" video went viral—amassing more than 1.2 million views on Bushell's YouTube channel so far—she's only gotten better. On Wednesday, she announced her foray into punk rock and treated her growing legion of followers—some 451,000 on Instagram and 75,000 on Twitter—to a cover of "Anarchy in the UK" by the Sex Pistols.

"Today I learnt about #punk music. This song is called 'Anarchy in the UK' by the Sex Pistols. Anything goes with PUNK! We made this British Flag shirt because I am #British and so are the #sexpistols #afropunk," she captioned the video.

Today I learnt about #punk music. This song is called ‘Anarchy in the UK’ by the Sex Pistols. Anything goes with PUNK! We made this British Flag shirt because I am #British and so are the #sexpistols #afropunk @afropunk pic.twitter.com/wOylhnURHc

— Nandi Bushell (@Nandi_Bushell) July 8, 2020

While no one can guess what the future holds for Bushell, it's pretty obvious she has the spirit and talent of 1,000 rock stars embedded in her bones. And it would be a surprise to no one if she grows up to become a musical legend, inspiring little girls around the world in her own right. Get to know a little bit more about the British marvel below.

She's been on Ellen

Nandi has been drumming for years, even though she’s only 9. I adore this young girl. pic.twitter.com/K5dl3yuS39

— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) December 9, 2019

If there's anyone who supports the talents of children, it's Ellen Degeneres. The award-winning talk show host has welcomed stars-in-the-making on her daily show for years, and Bushell is one of them. Shortly after Bushell's Nirvana cover went viral, Degeneres asked her on the show. Along with giving a live performance of "In Bloom," Bushell shared the story of how she became fascinated with playing the drums at just 4 years old. It was all because of Ringo Starr, the legendary drummer of the Beatles.

"On Saturdays and Sundays, [my family and I] make pancakes, and I listen to The Beatles, and I saw the drum kit and Ringo Starr," Bushell said. "He just inspired me to play the drums, because I loved seeing him playing the drums."

She's already started making her own songs

Along with covering the greats, Bushell also has a penchant for making her own music. Most recently, she shared a video a song she wrote with British pop singer Zuzu.

Tom Morello gifted her a guitar

Even major artists are fans of Bushell. Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello was so impressed by Bushell's cover of the band's hit anthem "Guerrilla Radio" that he gifted her one of his guitars in June. In a video message shared on Bushell's Instagram, Morello said he wanted the young musician to have his instrument because "you rock so great and to see someone rocking so great who is so young really gives me hope for the future."

He isn't the only celebrity member of Bushell's hive. Questlove of The Roots is also a fan. The drummer gifted her with a pair of autographed drumsticks last year.

She's played with Lenny Kravitz

Back in June 2019, Bushnell got to perform on her biggest stage yet: London's 02 Area alongside Lenny Kravitz. In a December 2019 interview with BBC's Victoria Derbyshire, Bushell spoke about her jam session with the "Fly Away" singer.

"I met Lenny Kravitz. That was the first famous person I met, and he was really friendly. And I played, 'Are You Gonna Go My Way.'"

She's a mini activist

Bushell used her growing platform to advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement at the height of the racial injustice protests following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by a white police officer in Minnesota. The atrocity brought on a flood of protests all over the U.S. as well as in 18 other countries across the globe. Bushell shared a solitary video calling for the end of racism in May (it was her Rage Against the Machine cover that caught Morello's attention) and attended a march in England in June with a bass guitar plastered with the Black Lives Matter slogan.

She's a big sister

An affinity for music apparently runs in the family. Not only does Bushell rock out with her father John Bushell from time to time, but she also plays alongside her baby brother Thomas Bushell. Although he's only 6 years old, he's already turning out to be a beast on the electric guitar.

She is Zulu and British

Bushnell is a proud interracial kid. While her father is a native of England, her mother is of Zulu descent and hails from southern Africa.

Nandi Bushell, a 10-Year-Old Musician
Nandi Bushell released a cover video of the Sex Pistols "Anarchy in the UK" on July 8, 2020. iStock / Getty Images Plus