The Raw Musical Talent of Sina Doering and Mia Black
Posted on April 26, 2020
I like to be surprised.
Her name is Sina Doering aka “Sina-Drums”.
You pronounce her name like the Warrior Princess.
I like to be inspired.
Her name is Mia Black.
Sina’s German and Mia’s Irish. It would take a few days for me to come across Mia, but it would first take a viral-lockdown to find Sina.
Yet, that’s how it happened browsing YouTube one autumn day Down Under, the country sealed off, its people inside, minds wandering and a spirit needing succour. And for some reason Sina-Drums showed up in my feed. I like how providence works that way.
It showed the video thumbnail of a teen wearing a pink tee and jeans, long light-brown hair hung loose, a full drum kit in front of her.
It was titled, “Jump (Van Halen), drum cover by a 14 year old girl”.
Ok, I thought, and I played it.
Sure enough, if you can hear that song in your head, once the bars of Eddie Van Halen’s synthesiser intro momentarily pause, Sina simultaneously kicks her bass and hits her crash cymbal four times—and we’re away in the magical rush of a superlative percussion performance.
Yes, Sina was only 14—it said so right across her video in a streaming banner too—and already, she was pro. This was in 2013.
Here it is: (Click for Sina on YouTube).
Ok, well she’d sold me. As a kid I was the proud owner of a set of drumsticks. A bit like the day I bought my first PC game and didn’t yet own a PC. Had I’d known Sina in those days, I might have begged my mum for a drummer’s key accessory too—an actual drum kit. But along with a wooden tennis racket, my instrumental career served only the air, powered by a boom box and a pair of Sennheiser HD40 phones.
I say this because in video after video, both Sina’s presence and the way her videography works with a multi-camera set-up around her kit, actually reveal where all the familiar sounds we know come from. Her videos then, are phenomenal not just for their entertainment but education. And for this reason, over the next few days I watched nearly everything she’d made. Check out her lecture on Ringo Starr, her complex performance of Toto’s Rosanna and AC/DC’s Whole Lotta Rosie. Her Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell puts any aerobic session you can do to shame.
Fast forward to 2019 and enter Mia Black. Mia was then also 14 years old when she came into a studio to collaborate with Sina singing Radiohead’s Street Spirit. Sina was then, just short of 21.
It’s rare to find natural talent that moves me. But combined, Mia’s smooth, strong alto and Sina’s drums created a cover performance better than Radiohead’s original.
It didn’t just stop me, it captivated me. The purity of Mia’s vocal range from her felt-smooth lows into mezzo, her breath control, plus lyrics that were mystical in and of themselves carried me away.
First, it’s just Mia and a perfect piano accompaniment. The first two verses and choruses:
Rows of houses, all bearing down on me
I can feel their blue hands touching me.
All these things into position
All these things we’ll one day swallow whole.
And fade out again and fade out.
This machine will, will not communicate
These thoughts and the strain I am under.
Be a world child, form a circle
Before we all go under.
And fade out again and fade out again.
It’s a story about a person struggling with the pull of life by a spirit that wants them taken to the other-world. “All these things we swallow whole [the memories we take with us] … Be a world child of a circle [a family] before we go under [die]”.
Then, once the second chorus trails off Sina enters—off the snare, onto the crash, in with the bass and onto the ride cymbal. And the whole thing becomes a true “ride”. Done right, as these two women do, it’s as perfect a fit for video as it is for listening.
Take some downtime and see what I’m talking about right here: (Click for Mia on YouTube).
In Mia’s online bio she tells of her father hearing her hum to a dial tone when she was 7-months old. Of her recording history she already says, “(Sic) I have 4 x demo CD’s, 2 recorded in a studio & 2 live. In June, I was invited to Florida to Colab with Interval 941. Interval 941 are sons of Boyce Avenue. Recording & filming in the Boyce Avenue Studio’s was so amazing”.
Sina on the other hand comes from a purely musical family. Her mum plays piano, her younger sister, Milena, sings and plays numerous instruments like Sina—and helps running the brand’s admin, and their dad (stage name Mike Wilbury) toured Europe with a finely polished tribute show, The Silver Beatles, seeing a decade of success; he now forms part of a team called the International Musicians’ Network that seeks to build collaborations between artists across the globe—of which Sina is now a part. In fact, it was her father’s industriousness, his industry connections and fellow musicians who put Sina behind the drums and uncovered the beat in her blood.
Sina plays with a German group, The Gas, and has two self-published high-end production albums of her own in Chi Might 1 and Chi Might 2.
What I find most endearing about Sina, her sister and I reckon largely led by their dad, is their collective dedication to bringing classical rock and pop roots to today’s younger generations. In a cute video titled, “How come drums in modern music sound all the same?”, Sina and her crew reach the conclusion:
Most of today’s drum parts are created by machines or virtual drummers … it gets worse … so please listen to real musicians.
Oh, I couldn’t agree more. The day the new romantics replaced guitar-rock, only to return before grunge bore top-40 hip-hop, was the day I began to wish for anything that sounded like the certainty of the Phil Collins/Genesis years, while I eventually settled on the post-grunge Foo.
Over recent years it’s been a joy for me to fit fresh unknown talent to a particular mood. In 2015 it was Iceland’s Maria Olafs through her Eurovision hit Unbroken, then 2016’s Australian, Olivia Bartley on stage as Olympia, and England’s folk-pop phenom Isabella Tweddle, aka Billie Marten.
I’m sure you see a pattern there. Yes, there are definitely guys who can rock it for me too (as in Foo Fighters, Everclear, Paul Kelly, Shawn Mendes and AC/DC) but it’s the sincerity of the feminine that more often brings me truth.
Therefore, keep an eye on Sina-Drums who through a decade of hard slog looks on the verge of striking it gold (as fate, that’s the 21st Century’s music industry, allows). Mia Black, however, is well on the road to stardom so early on too.
But as both of these women will tell you, as all creatives know, hard work has no end even for those who eventually find success young. I know of no harder working artist than Olympia for example, who has stormed the worldwide Indie circuit since I first stumbled across her on iTunes—but, to me, her fame lies in the yet, untapped mainstream. Billie Marten now has two sensationally unique albums to her name; yet Maria Olafs unbelievably stalled. It’s never too late to regroup when your voice is so blessed, Maria.
Yet, what do you say when a platform like YouTube rewards a mere browse with wonder? I’ve never had occasion to use the term “kismet”, but this was it.
Check out Sina and Mia via their platforms linked below. Sina with millions of views per video and a channel boasting nearly a million followers, doesn’t make a cent off her covers owing to copyright. So, she deserves sponsorship. Mia deserves a record label capable of the freedom to elicit what yet lays within and will irrefutably begin to ferment as her years follow.
So, sit back and enjoy. You’ll discover numerous other collaborations viewing both artist’s work. And I’ve already begun to choose some favourites I might follow.
For now gals, “Just keep doing what you do”.
Because you’re doing it so well.
© 2020 Adam Parker.
Street Spirit lyrics credit: © 1995 EMI Ltd.
Picture credit: © 2019 Sina-Drums.