Anika Nilles is a German drummer, composer, solo musician, and musical educator. She launched her career on YouTube during the early 2010s, and has released one full-length album to date, Pikalar, in 2017.




Nilles was born into a family with multiple drummers, and started drumming herself at age six. When interviewed by South Africa Drummer, she mentioned having two uncles, one cousin and a father who are drummers. Her father "taught me the first grooves as he realised I was interested in drumming."[4]

She secured degrees in popular music and music business from the Popakademie Baden-Württemberg in Mannheim.[3] Afterward, Nilles had a career in social education, which she stepped down from to pursue drumming full-time.


Nilles' posted her first original compositions "Wild Boy" in 2013, followed by "Alter Ego" in 2014. These and other music videos usually contain a visual recording of her drumming alongside previously recorded music. In such videos, she has historically cooperated with producer and guitarist Joachim Schneiss. Afterward, Nilles began acquiring work and viral attention outside of her native Germany, such as with a tour of Europe,[5] the United States, and China in 2015.[4]

In 2017, Nilles' debut album Pikalar was released, consisting of 10 instrumental tracks. In promotion of the album, Nilles was the cover artist and interviewee for the June 2017 edition of Modern Drummer Magazine. In this interview, Nilles stated that she coined the word "pikalar", which is intended "to stand for things that happen in life that you can't describe".[3]

Nilles embarked on a six-date United States clinic tour in October 2018, and performed at venues such as the Chicago Music ExchangeSweetwater Sound in Fort Wayne, Indiana,[6] and Salt City Drums in Salt Lake City, Utah.[7]


Toto member and career session drummer Jeff Porcaro is a primary influence for Nilles.[8] Other influences include Carter BeaufordJojo MayerSheryl CrowJoe SatrianiDave Matthews BandJoss StoneStanton Moore, and Prince.[4]



Nilles uses and endorses Meinl Cymbals,[9] Tama Drums,[2] and Evans Drumheads.[10] Meinl released a custom 18" Artist Concept Model Deep Hats cymbal that was conceptualized by Nilles.[11] She also uses Promark sticks, and formerly Mapex Drums.[12]