Jason Tom "Beatbox Lobby (Freestyle)"




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Published on Mar 13, 2006

Honolulu native and 4th-generation American of Chinese ancestry, Jason Tom, has not forgotten where he came from to know where he is going. This Beijing Foreign Studies University and the University of Hawaiʻi at Kapiʻolani Community College (KCC) alumnus is Hawaiʻi's scene choice "Best Performer" award-winning human beatbox and a 3X Hawaiʻi slam First Thursdays top 12 performance poet. This McKinley High School soccer "Mr. Hustle" award winning striker and outside halfback alumnus who chased after the dream as an aspiring comic book artist who is a retired judo champion known as "Spider-Man" before his career pursuit as a professional beatboxer.

"I couldn't take my eyes off him," said Andy Bumatai. "There is no denying he is interesting to watch. He definitely has talent, and he seems like a really nice guy. Could we be witnessing Hawai'i's first beatbox star?"

It began at age of four when Tom recorded himself beatboxing and scat singing, "I'm bad, I'm bad, you know it, you know," of Michael Jackson's "Bad" on audio cassette tape at his parents' master bedroom of their two-bedroom apartment in the concrete jungle of Downtown Honolulu. Tom's father operated a Chinese restaurant business as "head chef" and he was awoken when his father arrived home in the wee hours of the night to be read mathematics on a math poster that his Dad wrote up and taped on their living room wall. Tom was disciplined to sing mathematics through song in the Cantonese Chinese language. Tom's Dad was his first Chinese language, vocal and mathematics teacher.

Chaminade Silversword's Jolica Domdom wrote, "after being struck by a van at the age of 21, Jason Tom was hit with the realization of what he was doing with his life. Having a near-life death experience was a wakeup call and a reality check for Tom to pursue a career he is passionate about, which is beatboxing."

The day following that accident in 2004 he caught the Passion of the Christ movie film that soon followed him rocking the mic to young and old alike. His unique style mixes old- and new- school beatboxing with hip-hop, house and dubstep with his personal touch of boots and cats, tom-toms, kicks, hi-hats, snare drums, and didgeridoo all performed by his voice. "I said, 'why not, put it out there, get out there and perform. Perpetuate the art form of beatboxing.' I love beatboxing, because that's my instrument," as Tom shared on Art And Flea's Do What You Love Series.

"Tom's rendition of Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean,' is a spectacle of showmanship. From the first drum and snare beats, the song is recognizable, and you wonder how so many sounds could be coming from one person's mouth. Add to this Tom's signature Michael Jackson moves, from the hip thrust to the hand jive. He glides across the floor in a smooth moonwalk, a move that typically gets enthusiastic approval from audiences." wrote Tracy Chan.

Jennifer Takahashi blogged, "I don't think I can think of a better example of stretching the limits of potential than what Jason Tom can do with his voice. The sounds that he creates from his body are seriously incredible. Beyond that, what he has done with his talent is truly inspiring. His performance at TEDx Talks was one of the ones that inspired me to start this blog." Tom overcame extraordinary circumstances and battled victorious over torment, academic hurdles, bullies, asthma attacks, and stage fright to empower the lives of 10,000 to 20,000 middle and high school students annually on the American Lung Association's Music With A Message tour and a Moanalua High School student dubbed Tom as the Human Skrillex.

Tom conquered illiteracy and continues to process "complex trauma" through prayer and honoring God and people to impact the multitudes with foundation in the quantum leap of faith, mathematics and music. More than meets the eye, Tom watched more than one-hundred billion hours and listened to endless hours of Michael Jackson music and footage as well as live musical instruments to hone a foundation on his beatboxing talent. His attempts of playing the piano, ukulele and tuba were brief, because he was devoted to practice and hone his vocal gift of beatboxing. He also studied his heroes Bobby McFerrin, Michael Winslow, Elaine Chao, MC Jin, Naturally 7, Afra, and Rahzel of The Roots.

Tom's beatboxing students Noa and Elijah, won 1st place in the high school division variety act category at the Hawaiʻi statewide Brown Bags to Stardom competition in 2017 and 2018.



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