Tom Thum’s reputation long precedes him when it comes to his world class talent behind the mic. The beatboxer has become more than just a popular name in Australia but abroad too; his debut performance for TEDx has been viewed over 66 million times, making it the most viewed TEDx talk ever. Following on from his hugely successful experience in 2013, Tom has returned for his second appearance – ‘What Happens In Your Throat When You Beatbox’, armed with a camera lodged deep inside his throat, he delivers the world’s first, live on stage laryngoscopy of a beatboxer.
Tom’s initial steps out onto the global stage can be traced back to where he and fellow beatboxer Joel Turner took out the top prize at the first World Beat Box Battles competition in Germany. His prowess on the mic proved that he was an entertainer unlike any other, and soon, the internet came calling. As people began to discover this unique individual at shows right around Australia, Tom’s profile as an in-demand artist quickly spread online, eventually bringing him to the attention of the global TEDx brand.
Now with an online community consisting of over 300,000 YouTube subscribers, 60,000 Instagram followers and over 315,000 followers on Facebook, the cultish following Tom has generated over the years has remained fiercely loyal as he’s continued to push physical and creative boundaries, Tom has kept fans hooked on the concept of what’s coming next and what still remains on the horizon.
Tom’s relationship with the TEDx Talk family was first struck up in 2013, a moment where, unbeknownst to him, he would deliver the most-viewed TEDx Talk of all time. The irresistible nature of Tom’s performance style; the way he can manipulate sounds and rhythm with just a microphone and his voice, became a viral sensation. “The first experience was incredible because it was validation of something I had been doing for a long time. It was at a point in my life where I was beginning to have doubts about the path that I chosen and the exposure to such a different crowd on such a large scale, was exactly what I needed at that point. It opened the door to way more opportunities and gave me wider scope for weird collaborations like this, in which I’m glad the actual scope was smaller cause it was very uncomfortable.” Tom Thum
Named as one of TEDx’s favourite talks the week the session went live, Tom Thum proved to be the perfect example of just how far the reach of a TEDx speaker can be. Quick to become a choice pick by various TEDx staff and team members, the Tom Thum charm proved to be insatiable in the wake of his TEDx Talk debut. “His ability to layer sounds both in real time and with the drum machine make his sound almost endless, showing that beatboxing is much more than just background music for someone else to freestyle to.” Lucas Deely, TEDx
‘What Happens In Your Throat When You Beatbox’ delves deeper in investigating just how he is able to create the sounds he does. Joined by Dr Matthew Broadhurst, Tom reveals the science and physical maneuvers behind his craft and, just like his first Tedx performance, this one will definitely have people talking afterward. “Basically I wanted to get a deeper understanding (in the most invasively literal way) of how my art-form worked. I realised that beatboxing had been relatively understudied compared to other vocal styles and I wanted to be part of the story in my own weird way.” Tom Thum
The obscurities of Tom’s craft are explored through ‘What Happens In Your Throat When You Beatbox’, while the full scope of Tom’s ‘professional’ work is also highlighted. What are the risks associated with being fully reliant on the flexibility of your voice? How major is the role muscle memory plays when it comes to vocal manipulation? There are so many intricacies that come with the physical and biological elements of Tom’s work, that he decided to bring Dr. Broadhurst in to give him (and 5,000 audience members) an intrinsic lowdown.
“Never have I been so ensconced by a stage performance, waiting to see what would come next.”
Australian Stage Review
“Tom, in contrast, is a one-man whirlwind of energy, spewing out an entire high-energy nightclub, in the best possible way.”
“There are not enough superlatives to describe the wonder of this beatboxing virtuoso – I am still trying to figure out how he got those sounds out of his mouth.”
The Daily Telegraph (UK)
“Tom Thum is the best in beatboxing, that Australia has to offer, and exhibits talent beyond comprehension.”
Carrying himself with an effervescent charm and natural on stage presence, Tom Thum’s new TEDx ‘performance’ invites the audience to get to know him possibly better than any other crowd has before. Find out more about the man behind the voice. Or rather, the body behind the voice.
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