Marcie Chapa
photo by Sayre Berman

Story and photos by Sayre Berman

Anyone who saw her perform as a young girl knew that it was just a matter of time before Marcie Chapa would carve out a name for herself in the ranks of talented percussionists. Well, that time came several years ago, when the drummer/percussionist won her regional audition for a spot with Beyoncé’s touring band. She moved on to the final auditions in New York City and was chosen after only two days. One week after that, Chapa, Beyoncé, and the rest of the band were performing on the 2006 BET Awards show.

Three years later, Marcie is in the middle of her second world tour with Beyoncé. Modern Drummer was able to have a little pre-show chat with her before a gig in Sunrise, Florida, and she gave us some insight into her life as a musician.

MD: You started playing the drums at around eleven years old. What drew you to it?
Marcie: My mom wanted me to be involved in school, and I chose band because my older brother was in band and it looked like fun. Plus I always liked music. My first instruments were actually saxophone and tuba. But I was a hyper child, so the band director recommended I play drums. He was right, because it became an instant skill.

MD: Were your parents or any other family members musicians?
Marcie: My older brother played trumpet, and he was always listening to jazz, so I became a fan of jazz. Of course, I always liked what was on the radio at that time as well. My father was a DJ, so I was always listening to music in the house as a kid.

MD: Did you practice to CDs or DVDs?
Marcie: I practiced to whatever was on the radio. When my brother made me sit and listen to jazz, I started mimicking the rhythm. I really didn’t have a teacher at that early age, just the music I heard and my brother, who would tell me to play “real” music—jazz. When I finally did get into buying CDs I bought Buddy Rich albums. He was my favorite drummer during my early years of playing.