Published: 13th September 2020
This 22-year-old beatboxer can produce the fine sound of the saxophone using his voice!
Harry D Cruz, a beatboxing artist from Bengaluru speaks about his beatboxing journey and how he mimics a saxophone so darn well. Check it out!
Bollywood hit Gully Boy starring Alia Bhatt and Ranveer Singh explored the art of rapping as well as beatboxing in India. While the movie was well received by the public, the songs became an instant hit among youngsters. And why not, in the recent past beatboxing has become a trend among young India. One such beatboxer is Harry D Cruz from Bengaluru who has performed in nearly 100 shows across South India and was the winner of Kerala Beatboxing Championship 2017. In fact, this 22-year-old is the most famous face when it comes to beatboxing among college students.
We speak to him to trace his journey into beatboxing and how he went on to become a certified performer at various TEDx shows. Excerpts:
You have performed in more than 100 beatboxing shows across South India. How and when did your love affair with the stage begin?
When I was studying in PUC II, there was a fest going on in our college. My friends and I weren't interested in attending it so we bunked the fest and spent our time in the college ground. At the same time, one of our seniors, who also bunked the fest, joined us. During our conversation, this senior started making the sounds of a drum using only his vocal cords. I became curious to know more about the sounds he was making. He told us all about beatboxing. My friend and I went home that day and did a lot of research about it, we found an international artist who had put up some basic tutorials on YouTube. That's how I learnt to make these sounds. Once, I performed beatboxing at a party and a girl was impressed with my skills. She actually hugged me in joy. I was so happy as I realised that girls get impressed with such unique art like beatboxing. What started as a curiosity, soon became an important part of my life. I went on to perform beatboxing at every college fest. I think that my performances are more than the number of classes that I attended. I am a beatboxer who learnt everything on the stage.
You are also a certified TEDx performer. When was the first time you performed on this platform and how did it happen?
In March 2018, there was an event happening at the New Horizon College in Bengaluru. The organiser had promised to invite me as a judge for the beatboxing competition, which didn't happen for some reason. After a few months, the same organiser asked me if I could perform at a TEDx show. In March 2019, I got to perform my first TEDxABBS show and the kind of response that I got here was amazing. There were huge banners that flashed my name and face. After that, there was no looking back and I got to perform at TEDxNCHE and at Siddhaganga Institute of Technology. These videos are available on YouTube for everybody to watch.
You have been a beatboxing coach for more than a year. Can you share your experience of training people?
I was invited to beatbox by a housing society for an event and the kids there liked what I did. So, my friend and I started taking classes in the same society and we were able to train over seven kids. Then, I also conducted beatboxing workshops at the National Institute of Technology Tiruchirappalli. In my six years of experience, I have trained over 22 kids, if you want to put a number on it. But I'm not particular about keeping tabs on the number of people I teach beatboxing to. I train whoever wants to learn.
Let's talk about your insane saxophone beatboxing skills. When did you realise that you can make those sounds?
Making saxophone sounds happened long back in 2017 when I attended my first beatboxing battle. People loved the sound I was making. I don't remember how or when I learnt to mimic the sound of a saxophone. The finest sound that I made while beatboxing sounded like this instrument. That's when someone pointed out to me that I can produce saxophone sounds. Many people have asked me to teach them but, I must admit, I have been very selfish in this and have never taught anyone this particular skill alone. After all , it makes me unique.
How long can you beatbox? Have there been situations where you have given tough competition to others?
I can go on and on when it comes to beatboxing and give tough competition to other beatboxers. There was a beatboxing competition at the Maharani Ammani College and a tie occurred between me and the other boy. While the crowd went on cheering me but the judge had to give the prize to the opponent. At the end, the jury told me it is not important to win the trophy but you have won all our hearts. When it comes to beatboxing on the stage, I am more into entertaining people.
What are your future plans? Have you given beatboxing for movies any thought at all?
I would love to beatbox for movies. I am trying to up my skill level with other musical instruments, it would help me make a distinct mark for myself in the field of music. I would love to first get into reality shows and then, move towards the movie platform.
Which artists do you admire and why?
I follow NaPoM AKA Neil Meadows who is a member of the Brooklyn-based collective, The BeatBox House. During my initial days, I would beatbox in his style, but later, I created my own style of beatboxing so that I have my own identity.
Having been into beatboxing since 2014, what suggestions/tips do you have for beginners?
When you start beatboxing, you will be bullied and discouraged from doing it. But you must not give up, you must continue to perform. We learn from our mistakes and experiences and that's how I learnt. I experienced the same bullying when I first started. They asked how beatboxing is going help me make a career. But today, I earn a living beatboxing.