Jason Tom, Hawaiʻi's Human Beatbox, began beatboxing and scat singing at the tender age of four to the chorus of Michael Jackson's "Bad" on audio cassette tape. He is a fifth-generation Hawaiʻi Chinese American born and raised in Downtown Honolulu's Arts District. Growing up in the urban and southern coast of Oʻahu, Tom speaks English, Cantonese and Mandarin.
Since 2004 he has been rocking the mic as a freelance musician and inspirational speaker to young and old alike while spreading an urban a cappella art form known as vocal percussion. His unique style mixes old- and new- school beatboxing with hip-hop, house and dubstep with his own personal touch and personality. Tom has also been dubbed the Human Skrillex.
In 2006 and 2007, he placed in four consecutive Kapiʻolani Community College talent contests. Then one Friday evening in October 2008 became the turning point in his journey and spiritual life. He entered the nationwide Emerge Talent Contest at Word of Life, vying for a $600 cash prize. Prior to the performance, he prayed, promising God that if he did well, he would not give up no matter how hard life got. If he did poorly, he would move on to something else, maybe become a math teacher. Regardless of the outcome, he promised he would continue to pursue a closer walk and personal relationship with Jesus. Tom was the last to perform out of 12 contestants, and emerged as the 1st-place winner. He continues to look to God for guidance in his endeavors as a professional beatboxer.
In Honolulu, audiences first took note of Tom for his cover routine of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” that he fused with beatboxing, singing, dance and the moonwalk. His original song "Listen Carefully" was inspired by the sound and feel of Bobby McFerrin, Rahzel of the Roots, and MC Jin of Great Company, Ruff Ryders and the BET Freestyle Friday Hall of Fame Emcee Champion. The “Billie Jean” routine and Tom’s original tunes have also been described as a combination of rap and electric dance music. The sound library produced by his voice includes kicks, snares, hi-hats, bass, synths, tom-toms, and wobbles.
Tom, 33, is a three-time performance poet grand finalist of Hawaiʻi Slam's First Thursdays poetry slam. He is dubbed the Michael Jordan of the largest registered slam poetry competition in the world.
As the founder of the Human Beatbox Academy and co-founder of the Hawaiʻi Hip-Hop Collective, Tom does outreach with performances, workshops and events for people of all ages. He has toured China and collaborated with groups such as Hawaiʻi Meth Project and Music With A Message.
Tom has been invited as featured presenter at TEDx Talk conferences, the 6th International Human Beatbox Convention and the 1st and 5th American Beatbox Championship in New York City, and is also featured in the documentary film, "American Beatboxer."
In 2010, Tom became the first Asian American beatboxer in the nation to be featured on the website of the global beatboxing multimedia platform Beatbox Battle Network and then in 2014 on the Beatbox Battle TV YouTube channel of over 405,232 subscribers. In 2015, he became the first beatboxer from the Hawaiian Islands to be nominated to represent the U.S. in the men's solo category at the Beatbox Battle World Championship in Berlin, Germany. He has been dubbed Hawaiʻi's King of Beatbox.
The Human Beatbox Academy pays its respects to Hawaiʻi beatbox pioneers Radical Rob Onekea, Gizmo also known as ACE of Princes of Percussion and Re-Run of TMT. Rest in Peace to ACE!
“Jason Tom has become an artist to watch. His unusual talent won a perfect score from all the judges during last month's Hawaii's Got Talent competition; Tom's rendition of Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean' is a spectacle of showmanship.”
-Tracy Chan, Metromix Honolulu
"What sets Jason Tom apart is the incorporation of dance into beatboxing, especially during his trademark Michael Jackson routine."
-Ryan Senaga, Honolulu Weekly
“Jason Tom is a walking, talking instrument; an energetic combination of drums, snare, vocals and synthesizer, all replicated using his voice.”
-Tracy Chan, Honolulu Advertiser TGIF Metromix
“Best local musician deserving of a wider audience: You’ll have to catch Jason Tom at surprise appearances here and there. Until he gains a wider audience or splits for the mainland, check Tom out. Pretty sick.”
-Ragnar Carlson, Honolulu Weekly Best of Honolulu
“Jason is Hawaii 's premier human beatbox whose unique talent has made him a recognizable icon in the local music and art scene.”
-Ellice Island, the 808 Scene Zine
"Jason Tom sounds like a real beat machine, and he demonstrates excellent use of vocals, beat variations, and sound effects. I believe he will be known for his talent."
-Jess Navarrete (break/salsa dancer)
“He has fresh sounds, you can see the energy popping off of him, and he is fierce. His name is Jason Tom, a beat boxer from Honolulu, Hawaiʻi.”
-Maimounah Masudi, Ningin: Asian Media Community
“Jason Tom is an incredible talent. If you can make one of his gigs, please do so. He will blow you away.”
-Traci Toguchi, Good Stuff
“I think Jason Tom has the potential to be a famous whatever he wants to be because he has the qualities such as dedication, passion, and motivation that will take him wherever he chooses to go in life. And if his goal is to become famous beat boxer, then he shall be."
-BB Kim LIVE
- “Best Solo Performer, ”Hawaii Scene Choice Award Recipient, Nemesis Productions
- “Best Local Musician Deserving of a Wider Audience,” Best of Honolulu Weekly
- Wrote and composed music for the "I'm Movin' On" track in the Na Hoku Hanohano Award (Hawaii Grammy Award) nominated album “Nobody Owns Me” by Faioso.
- “Music With A Message” tour with American Lung Association in Hawaii (Not-On-Tobacco message)
- “Say Yes To Purpose” Tour with Diverse Art Center and Academy of Hype
- Hawaii Meth Project with Diverse Art Center
- Presented at the Chevron/Honolulu Speech Festival
- Presented at TEDx Honolulu “Shift,” [RE]Think Hawaii Conference, TEDx Honolulu “It’s About Time,” McKinley High School Career Day, Mid-Pacific Institute Career Day, Chaminade University’s Hogan Entrepreneurship Program.
- Featured in the “American Beatboxer” documentary film.
- Showcased at the International Human Beatbox Convention (Boxcon) in New York City
- Showcased at the 1st and 5th American Beatbox Championship in New York City
- One of 150 professional beatboxers nominated for the Beatbox Battle World Championship in Berlin, Germany.
- Three-Time HawaiiSlam’s First Thursdays Top 12 Performance Poet and Grand Slam Finalist.
The Human Beatbox Academy
For Human Beatbox Academy inquiries, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Human Beatbox Academy was founded by Jason Tom to further perpetuate the art of beatboxing through community, education, workshops, and concert outreach. It started with mobile beatbox workshops for after school programs at public and private schools in 2006. That eventually led to opportunities for public speaking and concerts on school tours in 2009. In 2010, the Human Beatbox Academy facilitated and offered weekly beatbox workshops and classes in Kakaʻako, Downtown Honolulu's Arts District Chinatown, and Waikiki. The Human Beatbox Academy have organized events (i.e. Hawaii Beatbox Battle Under 18 Division, Hawaii Beatbox Jam, etc.) and have participated at events (i.e. Hawaii Children and Youth Day), and offers outreach for children and youth, the homeless communities, prisons, and U.S Veterans.
Break Down of Mr. Jason Tom's Chinese Name
Mr. Jason Tom's Chinese name is written as 譚志豪 in traditional character form and 谭志豪 in simplified character form.
Pronounced as Taam4 Zi3 Hou4 in Cantonese and Tán Zhìháo in Mandarin. His Chinese family name 譚 (谭) is the origin of his surname Tom. 志 is translated as "will; aspiration" and 豪 is translated as "a person of outstanding talent" as defined by the Oxford Chinese to English Dictionary.
In 2008, Tom was introduced as 譚志豪 (谭志豪) at the historic Chinatown Cultural Plaza's Moongate Stage for the Hawaiʻi Chinese New Year Festival, where he demonstrated a live beatbox remix to "有隻雀仔跌落水 (有只雀仔跌落水)," a Cantonese lullaby about a sparrow with a "London Bridges Falling Down" melody.
Background And Education
Mr. Jason Tom is a class of 2001 graduate of McKinley High School (Honolulu High School). In 2006, as a foreign language, he enrolled in Intensive Chinese through the Freeman Foundation China Scholarship with a focus on Mandarin Chinese at the University of Hawaiʻi at Kapiʻolani, Hawaiʻi Tokai International College and abroad at Beijing Foreign Studies University (北京外国语大学). On November 4, 2006 he was inducted to the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. In 2007, Mr. Jason Tom was on the University of Hawaiʻi at Kapiʻolani's Dean's List and graduated with his Liberal Arts in Associate of Arts. On December 27, 2006 he received a letter by the United States Achievement Academy to be honored nationally as an official Collegiate All-American Scholar Award winner nominated by the University of Hawaii at Kapiʻolani's dean Louise Pagotta. Meanwhile he simultaneously enrolled at Belmont University in partnership of the University of Hawaiʻi at Honolulu and the Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business for Music Business, Audio Engineering and Songwriting through the MELE Program thanks to former Hawaiʻi Governor Linda Lingle and Lieutenent Governor Duke Aiona.
Beyond all of the above, since October 24, 2008, by faith, he invested into getting to know the Word of God and tithes and offerings on end in courses in pre-Encounter, several Encounters, Post-Encounter classes, and completed School of Leaders I, II and III with application through the School of Media and Performing Arts (SMPA), Word of Life Academy, Word of Life Emerge, Kidz Life, Emerge Life, Life 360, singing praise and worship, getting involved with fervent intercessory prayers, daily/weekly bible studies (Life Groups), facilitating Life Groups, devotionals, missionary work locally, nationally and globally, ministering, sharing the word of his testimony and serving at the local church.
In His Own Words
In my own words (the word of my testimony): As a fifth-generation Hawaiʻi Chinese American, I grew up bullied and picked on as early as kindergarten and felt parallelized. Many of us can relate to bullies. I was teased non-stop as "four eyes" and "loser" until I fought back in self-defense against bullies and group of bullies (like Bruce Lee) throughout elementary and middle school. Having low-esteem and a negative outlook in life.. it was awkward growing up until I chose to believe that I don't have to live this way forever and decided to flip the script! This is the word of my testimony of how I overcame....
Over the years, I volunteered at Word of Life Christian Center in Downtown Honolulu, and I volunteered with the Department of Education and Honolulu Police Department on an anti-bullying tour, and the American Lung Association's Music With A Message tour. I enjoy encouraging our global community on ways to be an advocate for one another, protect, defend, assist and help one another. One day, I would love to work with the Honolulu Fire Department, who are super heroes!!! So are ambulance workers, nurses and doctors!!!
Staying out of trouble...
In the media, music and entertainment industry, I have discovered creative outlets to stay out of trouble and away from recreational use of illegal drugs, alcohol abuse, recreational use and the abuse of tobacco and marijuana (pot, weed, cannibus) which I am highly allergic to even on a second-hand level. I have nothing against people who do these type of activities.. it is just I know from a lifetime of experiences that it is hazardous to my life and overall well being. That also does not mean I cannot assist those who struggle in these areas. Today, I am also an advocate against the abuse of prescription medication with a disciplined regimen of proper counsel, support system, healthy relationships, wisdom, knowledge, wellness, nutrition, rest, and exercise.
I grew up as an athlete and lettered two years in varsity soccer and judo and developed a personality. I also tried out in basketball, volleyball and baseball. I retired my soccer jersey number "17" from McKinley High School (Honolulu High School) class of 2001. My judo alias "Spider-Man" was given by my 5th-degree black belt coach Clinton "Tubby" Sunada due to uncanny spider-web like grip fighting, slinging, grappling, throwing, sprawling and shooting techniques. It was all the motivation to stick with judo and on December 11, 2002, I earned my Yonkyu-Green Belt by the United States Judo Federation and Central Coast Judo Association's 4th-dan president Vaughn Imada, 7th-dan instructor Emilio Mel Augustine and 9th-dan Chairman of the Examining Board Kaiki Fukuda.
On Friday, February 27, 2004, my application of judo miraculously saved my life after intense training at Shobukan Judo Club in Liliha as a member of the 50th State Judo Association when I got struck by a fast 3,610 pound van that made a left turn. With no fear I took the impact judo style and I broke my fall and safely landed on the wet asphalt from stormy forecast.
I was able to answer questions by the immediate emergency rescue team and I was sent to the Queen's Medical Center and left that same night with no broken bones and serious injuries. I thank God that female driver was sober and it was not a hit and run. Next morning my older sibling (I am the youngest of two in my family) took me to see the Passion of the Christ and that pointed my focus back on Jesus. That was the spark I needed to be reawakened and the rest is history! It inspired me to the point that I wanted to take care of unfinished business academically and pursue beatboxing professionally and passionately than just as a hobby and to surrender my whole heart and to seek more of Jesus in regards to my livelihood.
Academic to professional journey...
On December 27, 2006 I received a letter by the United States Achievement Academy to be honored nationally as an official Collegiate All-American Scholar Award winner nominated by the University of Hawaii at Kapiʻolani's dean Louise Pagotta. I moved on from that endeavor with the faith in God the size of a mustard seed and the pursuit in life to dream BIG and to live beyond the box as a freelance musician for the love and passion for the culture and music of the Human Beatbox element of hip-hop culture and to share the word of my testimony.
Who am I today?
I am a happily single healthy and strong and sharp young man of 33 years who honor and love Jesus Christ! I also love people of all walks and animals of all kinds. I am a freak of nature who love freaks of nature that I can't put my finger on.. I love mysterious women and I am a one woman man. I am Mr. Jason Tom, the Human Synthesizer of Hawaiʻi Nei and blessed by our Good Father with the gift of Sound! I am a lifetime American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) member that have worked with folks of Disney, SESAC, Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), and multiple winners of the The GRAMMYs and Dove Awards!
Little known facts...
I am also a dancer with a background in popping and b-boy!! I also can somewhat pretend to do ballet like Gene Kelly!!! I have also been approached by Hawaii 5-0 and movie film writers.
My NFL team are the Detroit Lions and my dream is for them to win SUPERBOWL 51!!!!! I endorse President Barack Obama, Tulsi Gabbard and Bernie Sanders! I am forever grateful for former Governor Linda Lingle and Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona's full two-terms together for the beautiful 50th State of Hawaiʻi!!!
Dreaming into the beyond...
One day, I would love to be the President and the Commander in Chief with my first lady. I want to headline SUPERBOWL 51! with my homies Michael Winslow, Rahzel of The Roots, Tom Thum, Afra the Human Beatbox of Japan, Black Rhythm the Human Beatbox of Puerto Rico, Reeps One and my students and their students with Beardyman, DJ Toki, Kealoha, Makana, Jake Shimabukuro, Jody Kamisato, Honoka & Azita and friends, Justin TImberlake, Blake Lewis, Butterscotch, Nicole Paris, Beyoncé, JAY Z, Floyd Mayweather Jr. with Obama and Bernie Sanders present!!! No forget, Bruno Mars!!! I can MJ with Bruno Mars!!! Donald J. Trump supporters can endorse and sponsor this message. #dreambig #livingbeyondthebox
What is Human Beatbox?
A "human beatbox" is a term made popular in the early 1980's in hip-hop culture and was coined to Doug E. Fresh by Barry B. in 1982. "Beatboxing" is also known as the fifth element of hip-hop culture. A beatboxer is a person who emulates music, percussion, synthesizers, a drum machine, and more with his or her voice. Beatboxing is an a cappella art form that has its origins in scat singing (jazz) and urban vocal percussion. A human beatbox is a vocal musician that does voice music.
Mr. Jason Tom has facilitated human beatbox workshops and or done motivational/inspirational speaking tours at these studios and or schools (not an exhaustive list)....
- Branch Studios Hawaii
- Diverse Art Center
- Housing Project 360
- The Human Beatbox Academy/Hawaii Beatbox Academy
- Kidz Life Hawaii
- Waikiki Community Center Preschool
- College (New York)
- Hawaiʻi Pacific University
- Tokai University (Hawaii Tokai International College)
- Tufts University (Boston)
- University of Chaminade Hawaiʻi
- University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa
- University of Hawaii at Honolulu Community College
- University of Hawaii at Kapiʻolani Community College
- University of Hawaii at Leeward Community College
- University of Hawaii at Windward Community College
- Campbell High School (Sabers)
- Castle High School (Knights)
- Farrington High School (Governors)
- Kalaheo High School (Mustangs)
- Kalani High School (Falcons)
- McKinley High School/Honolulu High School (Tigers)
- Moanalua High School (Menehunes)
- Nanakuli High School (Golden Hawks)
- Pearl City High School (Chargers)
- Radford High School (Rams)
- Roosevelt High School (Rough Riders)
Intermediate and Elementary
- Aina Haina Elementary School
- Ala Wai Elementary School
- Aliiolani Elementary School
- Hahaioni Elementary School
- Hokulani Elementary School
- Jefferson Elementary School
- Kahala Elementary School
- Kalihi Elementary School
- Kalihi-Uka Elementary School
- Kalihi-Waena Elementary School
- Kamiloiki Elementary School
- Kauluwela Elementary School
- Koko Head Elementary School
- Kuhio Elementary School
- Liholiho Elmentary School
- LIkelike Elementary School
- Lincoln Elementary School
- Lunalilo Elementary School
- Maemae Elementary School
- Manoa Elementary School
- Noelani Elementary School
- Nuuanu Elementary School
- Palolo Elementary School
- Pauoa Elementary School
- Puuhale Elementary School
- Royal Elementary School
- Waiau Elementary School
- Waikiki Elementary School
- Hawaii Baptist Academy
- Iolani Middle School
- Kamehameha Middle School
- Mid-Pacific Institute Middle School
- Word of Life Academy
- Central Middle School
- Kaimuki Middle School
- Niu Valley Middle School
- Waipahu Middle School
- Washington Middle School