Go to YouTube, do a search on for “girl drummer,” and one of the people who quickly pop up is Milana Nigro. The Salt Lake girl has her own channel — Milana Rocks — and her performances are amazing.
Oh, did I mention that she’s 10 years old?
Her videos will blow you away. But she probably hears that all the time, right?
“Yeah,” she said with a laugh. “Yeah, thank you.”
You won’t have to go online to see Milana perform. She’s on Sunday’s episode of “Little Big Shots” (7 p.m., NBC/Channel 5), wowing the audience and host Steve Harvey.
“Meeting Mr. Harvey — that was really fun because he’s super nice and reallly funny, you know?” Milana said. “And, of course, getting surprised by Sheila E.”
Yes, the percussionist/singer came onstage and gave Milana a hug, prompting a big reaction from the surprisingly unflappable girl.
“Yeah, I had a meltdown right after that,” she said with a laugh.
It wasn’t her first brush with fame. It wasn’t even her first time meeting Sheila E. — Milana performed with the acclaimed percussionist when she was just 6. And she’s played with drummer Stewart Copeland of The Police, as well as members of the Dave Matthews Band, Neon Trees, Fictionist, Tower of Power and more.
She doesn’t come from a family of drummers. She doesn’t even remember when she first saw one. For Milana, this just came naturally — she’s been drumming on things “as long as I can remember.”
“I started playing on trash cans, boxes, literally anything I could find,” Milana said. “And I still do it till this day. On the back of my mom’s seat in the car.”
What’s a mom to do? Alicin Christensen took the next big step when her daughter was still a preschooler.
“I begged for a drum set and I got one on my fourth birthday,” Milana said. “I took lessons not too long after that. And the rest is history.”
“Little Big Shots” marks her first network television appearance, but — other than that Sheila E.-inspired meltdown — she was cool as a cucumber. No nerves at all thinking about how the show is seen by 6 million to 7 million viewers on Sunday nights.
“No, actually — fun fact — I haven’t been nervous since my very first show,” Milana said.
That was when she was 5.
She’s home-schooled, and she practices drums “at least an hour every day. It’s 90 percent fun and 10 percent work,” Milana said.
Her philosophy is to “keep practicing every day. That will make you one step closer to being the greatest whatever — musician, artist, scientist, mathematician. I don’t know. But keep doing your stuff every day and you’ll get one step closer to being the greatest.”
And she has other musical interests.
“I’m learning guitar right now. And I’m learning bass guitar,” Milana said. “And I’m pretty good at ukulele and singing.”
Along with other artistic talents.
“I draw,” she said. “I love art and stuff.”
Milana is a little young to be making life decisions, but she hopes to make drumming her career.
“I see myself doing this in the future, but if it doesn’t work out I’m probably going to go on to art or science,” she said.
The fact that drumming is such a male-dominated profession doesn’t concern her in the least.
“No, not one bit,” she said with a laugh. “I’m totally fine with it.”
She already has another network TV appearance in the can. Milana taped an episode of ABC’s prime-time version of the game show “To Tell the Truth,” hosted by “Black-ish” star Anthony Anderson.
“I’m super excited for that, too,” Milana said. In the episode, celebrity panelists ask the Salt Lake girl and two other youngsters a series of questions and then try to guess which of them is the real super-talented drummer.
Spoiler alert — it’s Milana.
(The series returns to ABC’s prime-time lineup on Sunday, June 10; the network has not yet announced when Milana’s episode will air.)
But television is just a sideline for Milana. Drumming remains her passion, whether she’s sitting at her drum set or riding in the car with her mom.
“I still do it on the dashboard till this day,” Milana said.