10. Jonathan Ginger Hamilton (Sam Smith)
The Rhythm Best in drums 2018 polls received an astonishing 100,000 votes, and we're now ready to roll out the winners. The nominees were what we considered to be the drummers and gear that have excelled in 2018. Here, we present the best live session drummers of 2018.
Taking up positions 12 to 11 are:
12. Oli Wiseman (Anne-Marie)
11. Jonathan Rodney (Skepta)
Kicking off the top 10 we have Sam Smith drummer Jonathan 'Ginger' Hamilton...
2018 highlight: Jonathan 'Ginger' Hamilton has always been a consistently busy drummer on the live circuit, backing artists such as Jessie J and Pixie Lott. This year Ginger hit even bigger leagues by taking on arenas in the UK and beyond with vocal sensation Sam Smith. The gig requires control, musicality and professionalism, all skills that Ginger has fine-tuned over many years backing pop's biggest artists.
The MusicRadar Best in drums awards are brought to you in association with Allianz Musical Insurance - the UK's Number 1 Specialist Instrument Insurer
9. Tom Meadows (Kylie Minogue)
2018 highlight: Tom has played with many pop greats, but he is arguably best known for his work with Kylie Minogue. In 2018, Kylie took the airwaves by storm with her Nashville-inspired new album Golden and live dates followed, with Tom taking care of rhythm duties. A particular highlight was the BBC Radio 2 Live In Hyde Park performance, with a cool full-band performance of Can't Get You Out Of My Head.
8. Daisy Palmer (Paloma Faith)
We say: Daisy Palmer might be a new name to most, but she has plenty of form in the live session world, having played drums with the likes of Goldfrapp, MIKA, Rae Morris, Beth Orton, Beth Gibbons and Get the Blessing. Her latest gig has taken her on the road with pop powerhouse Paloma Faith, performing hits around the globe from Faith's The Architect album and beyond.
7. Kaz Rodriguez (Josh Groban)
We say: Is there anything this drummer can't do? The last few years of Kaz's career have seen him dazzle with his clinics and videos, write tunes for big hitters including Aaron Spears and Chris Coleman and turn in an amazing performance on Drumeo. We always knew a major gig wouldn't be far off, and this year he secured the drum chair for Amercan singer Josh Groban. On the gig Kaz is playing a stunning Tama Star Walnut kit, and he recently performed at Madison Square Garden.
6. Tony Royster Jr (Katy Perry)
2018 highlight: When he's not blowing minds with his chops on Instagram, Tony can usually be seen playing arenas and stadiums behind pops great and good. This year his time was mostly spent on the road with Katy Perry. Any artist who books Tony Royster Jr can guarantee their beats are in good hands.
5. Tony 'Rico' Nichols (Kendrick Lamar)
2018 highlight: Tony began his drumming life in church, before graduating to backing RnB acts such as Brandy and Mary Mary. It's his latest gig with Kendrick Lamar that has really cemented his name in the annals of session drumming history. The 18 month Damn tour took in dates around the world, from the US to Japan, and included two shows at the legendary Coachella festival. Throughout the tour, Tony's tight pocket was the perfect backbone to Lamar's eclectic style.
4. Karl Brazil (Robbie Williams/James Blunt)
2018 highlight: As always, Karl rarely sits still. In between studio sessions with the likes of Feeder and Olly Murs, the Brummie drummer has been pulling double duty on the road with James Blunt and Robbie Williams (who has just announced a Las Vegas residency for 2019!). Our personal highlight was Karl's performance with his old pal Ash Soan at the Bag'Show in France. Groovy!
3. Gerry Morgan (James Bay)
2018 highlight: Morgan was last year's winner in this category and it's great to see him threatening the top spot again in 2018. After his gig with Niall Horan drew to a close, Morgan hooked back up with Hold Back The River star James Bay - who Gerry toured with previously - to record astonishing new album Electric Light and take the songs on the road. Gerry's attention to his sound and style make him the perfect drummer for Bay's soulful guitar pop.
2. Ralph Rolle (Nile Rodgers)
2018 highlight: Since his appearance on Daft Punk's Random Access Memories album, Nile Rodgers and Chic have been enjoying a new wave of interest, as has his drummer Ralph Rolle. Ralph is the anchor to which Rodgers moors his irrepressible dance riffs and he proved that during the band's rapturous BBC performance on New Year's Eve 2017, including a fantastically funky call-and-response spot from Rolle.
Winner: Cherisse Osei (Simple Minds)
2018 highlight: Brit sensation Cherisse took the number three slot in this category in 2017. She's clearly delivered the goods this year and rightfully earned the top spot for 2018. So how did she do it? Simple Minds headed back on the road in support of new album Walk Between Worlds (on which Cherisse also contributed some drums and percussion). Cherisse had been handling percussion duties on the band's previous acoustic tour, so it was a no-brainer that she should take up residence behind the kit for the Scottish pop legends. Cherisse brings grace, style and pocket to the kit and the latest shows have been extra special as a result.