Jason Tom’s "Boom Bap" Prisma Dance May Showcase at Ala Moana Centerstage Set 1 of 3: Beatbox Battle College!
"It's not every guy who gets mistaken for a boombox. Jason Tom, one of Hawaii's most visible beatboxers, is a walking, talking instrument; an energetic combination of drums, snare, vocals and synthesizer, all replicated using his voice."
Jason Tom is a co-founding crew member of Hawaii's Human Beatbox Academy, Hawaii Scene Choice Awards' Best Solo Human Beatbox Performer, and an American ambassador of the fifth element of hip hop urban culture called "human beatbox." He is recipient of the McKinley Tigers' Mr. Hustle Soccer Award, and is a former judo champion at San Jose State University and the City College of San Francisco.
Hawaii human beatbox pioneers Radical Rob, Gizmo, Re-Run, Joevon Brown paved the way for Jason, and music artists like him. He began beatboxing at the tender age of four, began recording by six, and performing at 21.
The turning point of his life, at 21, was when he fell unconscious from a collision with an SUV that caused a concussion, long term memory loss, and head trauma. It was at that pivotal moment he decided to pursue beatboxing as a career.
Jason listened to and watched countless hours of Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Michael Jackson, Bobby McFerrin, Michael Winslow, Rahzel, and MC Jin. He also enjoys Motown music, the Temptations, Diana Ross, Jackson 5, the Fat Boys, Beastie Boys, Run DMC, the Jacksons, the Roots Crew, and Doug E. Fresh. Chinese American beatboxer Elaine Chao's televised show stopper at the Showtime at the Apollo blew him away.
His Chinese name, in traditional form 譚志豪 and 谭志豪 in simplified form, means "will," "many aspirations" and "a person of outstanding talent." Jason is a Xenniel, a bridge between the Generation X and Millennial cohorts. He was raised by those of the Greatest Generation, Silent Generation, and Baby Boomer cohorts.
As a McKinley High School sophomore, he nearly gave up in life until he met Charlie and Lucy Wedemeyer. Their book "Charlie's Victory" impacted him. Their interaction left a lasting impression that he continues to take with him, today.
When Jason flexed his human beatbox and web design skills, he was selected as Asian Avenue's Member of the Week in 2005.
Jason was a Freeman Scholar of Beijing Foreign Studies University. He is a Phi Theta Kappa alumnus of the University of Hawai’i at Kapi’olani and was also their Math Supplemental Instructor. Jason was then part of the first Belmont University and Honolulu Community College MELE music business and entertainment cohort.
When Asian Avenue rebranded as Asian Ave, he was selected as their Member of the Day in 2007 and again, in 2008.
"Jason 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."
Jason is a fourth-generation American of Hawaii Chinese descent, top 3 musician of McDonald's NextNext: Sounds That Spark Change Music Competition, and recipient of the TEDx Talks Presenter Award for his "Vocal Groove" presentation.
“Imagine standing on a stage in front of hundreds or thousands of fans. Cameras of every type are focused on you as bright stage lights blind you. Now imagine that you are also wheezing and coughing and short of breath. Such is the case with today's entertainers living with asthma, including Honolulu's Jason Tom.
Tom is a nationally known beatboxer and fashion designer who has asthma. His musical profession presents unique difficulties for someone with airflow issues. Like many vocalists, his only instrument is his mouth. A beatboxer is solely responsible for vocally producing all of the musical sounds (beat, melody, etc.) in a song, so they typically perform solo. They do not have the luxury of taking mid-song breaks to catch their breath. This literally puts Tom's life on the line at every performance.”
— Fernando Pacheco, HMSA's Island Scene Magazine Feature