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Island Scene Magazine Feature

January 9, 2013 at 02:19PM

A day after I opened for the Michael Winslow show, my friends and supporters on Facebook have been buzzing about seeing this:

It is HMSA's Island Scene Magazine's Winter 2013 issue featuring the "Finding the Flow" article write up by Fernando Pacheco (on page 34). Island Scene Magazine is Hawaii's premier health and wellness magazine. It is the largest distributed magazine in Hawaii, delivered quarterly to the households of HMSA's 700,000 members.

Bring your copy to a show and I will sign it!

Finding the Flow:
A beatboxer's victory over asthma.
By Fernando Pacheco

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.

Tom agreed to speak to Island Scene about his history with asthma and how it affects his life as an entertainer.

At what age are you diagnosed with asthma?
During the third grade, so around the age of 8 or 9 years old. I grew out of it and then it came back during my early beatboxing years.

Do you know what level of asthma you have? Intermittent, mild, moderate, severe?
At the time I had asthma, it might have been from moderate to severe. There were times I thought I could not breath or function normally during the more intense attack episodes.

Researchers are looking into possible genetic factors that may cause asthma. Does anyone else in your immediate family have asthma?
They used to, but not currently.

Do you notice anything specific that triggers your asthma attacks?
Secondhand smoke, weather and climate changes, anxiety, pressure, and stress. Lately, I've been keeping my spirit strong and have been healthy overall.

Do you worry about having an asthma attack on stage?
I've performed while recovering from asthma allergies on occasion. Performing while recovering allows me to combat asthma and kick it in its tush. I do not worry about having an attack, but I have opted out from a few gigs after an attack if rest is really what I needed.

Does asthma hinder your beatboxing in anyway? Are there any specific beatboxing tricks you can't do because of the asthma?
Sometimes I'll lose my voice on my high notes, and so I can't perform my high synthesizer techniques at all or my bass techniques without having to choke shortly after.

Clearing my sinuses is important, and hot spices are great for strengthening my immune system and clearing up my sinuses. If my nose is clogged up, then my throat has to work twice as hard to send oxygen to my lungs. I was not a fan of hot spices growing up, but I now include them in meals on occasion, because they benefit my overall health.

Going to the beach and getting sunshine and going in the water also help as well.

Do you use any specific methods to control your asthma?
Prayer in the spirit helps me tenfold to strengthen my overall health. Exercise is important. Even beatboxing while I've lost my voice tends to help me recover faster than if I were to stay silent and do nothing.

Any inspiring words for our readers with asthma who may be hesitant to engage in physical activities?
Don't be afraid of getting into physical activities once you talk to your doctor. Get out there, go out for hikes, go to the beach, take a walk, get out and dance. I've found that the more I exercise, the better it is for my overall health and condition to combat asthma.

It's when I do nothing or feel hopeless that my asthma condition, allergy, and attacks take far longer to go away. You are not without hope or help. You can win.

More than 22 million Americans have asthma, including nearly 6 million children.
​Source US Department of Health and Human Services

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Good job homie! Keep doing you! And keep up the good work!!

Hey, sharp! Can’t wait for the episode. Pretty stoked to see what you do there. My friend’s @hi sessions are so dope. Glad they brought you on!

Cheers!

Hey Jason,
Glad to see you still performing! Keep up the good work! Hopefully, you'll come back to the Bay area soon!

love the caption "Her math tutor can dance". :)

What a beautiful tribute to your dad! He must be so proud of you. Thank you for your labor of love to your students and to the community.

Happy labor day,
Interesting read.

Jason you are awesome, so focused and committed to your craft and compelled to share and educate others. Human Beatbox Academy?!?! WHAT!?! Amazing, I didn't even know. Keep it up, look forward to our future encounters my friend.

Amazing performance of dance using sound and body. Your have an amazing flow.
Keep sharing that talent of yours!

Yup bro yu are awesome as I am big fan of beat box and yu ar beatboxer as I am fan of yu tool.

That was amazing!!! Beatboxing and doing the moonwalk at the same time!!! Mind-blown dude!

Amazing job. proud of yah bud. keep it up

Way to go my friend! So proud of you Jason!!!

I'm so glad I got to see you perform Jason! You were awesome!

Dawg u get um no worries keep doin wut u love braddah

It was great seeing you perform and meeting new people.

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Child of the 1980's and child of God, #JasonTom, Hawaiʻi's Human Beatbox, is a mathematician moonwalker who sings music with his voice. #jasontomblog

So great to reunite with Angela Keen! Tonight, I had an honor to volunteer my time at Shriner's Hospital with Prisma Dance as we cheered the young patients there up. I beatboxed and danced for them and offered beatbox lessons. They rocked the microphone and all. They were incredible! I loved every moment, especially when one of the patients in his wheelchair rocked the beatboxing on my microphone and my dance buddy Henry danced to his beatboxing. That was something I had not seen in all 13 of my years performing live. It was rewarding to see their smiles and the patients enjoying himself and herself. All of the dancers did great too from ballet, jazz, acrobatics to hip hop, and our dance contest. I loved it all!

As for Angela Keen, growing up in Honolulu I watched her as a news anchor and I didn't think then that she'd one day interview me at the First Inaugural TEDx Honolulu Conference years back. She asked me great questions. She also knows my good friend Jody Kamisato and I told her he said, \
Spent quality time performing music, dance, and sharing words of edification, encouragement, honor, praise, desserts, and prayers with Prisma Dance to our brave and strong American veterans at US Vets in Barber's Point Kapolei last week. Here Hiro and I improvised on our viola and beatbox collaboration. We had blessed time.

PC: Brian Bat
I want to thank those of you who inbox'd me and inquired about my Hisessions shoot. My Hi Sessions episodes is in post production. I had a great time shooting with the Hi Sessions team. I just followed up with them and heard my episodes could launch December of this year or January of next year. People who have written shared with me that they can't wait and are buzzing about it right at this moment. Me too. Very exciting. Stay plugged in! I will keep you posted!
First Inaugural Rock The School Bells Hawaii Conference at the University of Hawaii at Manoa Campus. Dance, breakdance and beatbox workshop! What? Yes!

Other workshops included the dj and producer workshop, emcee and rap workshop, writing and aerosol canvas art workshop.
I am grateful and blessed to have an honor to have volunteered my time with Prisma Dance and to have performed for, converse with and pray for our brave and strong American veterans at US Vets in Barber's Point Kapolei last week. I am grateful to our American veterans for having served our great and beautiful nation.

2017 is wrapping up. What a fruitful year 2017 is. The biggest loss was when I lost my father on this Father's Day. I've honored my father's last wishes for what he wants and wanted me to fulfill in life. I am also working on another one of his final wish for me. My father didn't make it for his 85th birthday. There is not a day I don't think of my father or miss him. Father God has shown my earthly father at his best in my visions and dreams since his passing on multiple occasions that brought great comfort and peace.

Staying productive with the beatboxing....
I've performed for and spoken at...
- Bboy Reunion at Pure Nightclub
- First Friday at Downbeat Lounge
- Rising Melody at Downbeat Lounge
- Kick Butts Day at Hawaii State Capitol
- Revive Christian Fellowship at Iolani School
- Friday Night Flow at Inspire Church Waikele
- Boy Scouts at Iolani School
- Skillz Talk at Pure Nightclub
- Hawaii Baptist Academy
- Sung a song dedicated to my father & spoke at my father's funeral
- 1212 Session Hawaii at Kewalo Basin Kakaako .
- Hawaii Baptist Academy
- Prisma Dance Summer Intensive II
- 6th Annual Pacific Ink & Art Expo at Neal Blaisdell Cente
- Uplift at Ala Moana Centerstage .
- 2nd Annual Taste of Chinatown at the Smith Beretania Park .
- HI Sessions Shoot .
- 3rd Annual Moon Festival at Chinatown Cultural Plaza Moongate St .
- US Vets at Barber's Point Kapolei .
- First Inaugural Rock The School Bells Hawaii Conference at the University of Hawaii at Manoa

I will perform for a hospital and high school reunion party next week. I am grateful to be booked 'til December 2018 as my work is far from done and I am always working on music with my voice called beatboxing. I will meet with clients in the coming weeks to discuss potential tours, endeavors, performances, projects, and what not.

PC: Nicole Lam
First Inaugural Rock The School Bells Hawaii Conference at the University of Hawaii at Manoa Campus.
B-girl Yoda and I choreographed with students from Kalaukaua Middle and Farrington High School the First Inaugural Rock The School Bells Hawaii Conference Student Showcase Finale at the University of Hawaii at Manoa Campus Center. Students shared that they really enjoyed how interactive my combined workshop with B-girl Yoda was.. Yoda taught the foundation for breakdancing/b-girling/b-boying dance moves while I taught the foundation for beatboxing and popping slides and glides.

Big mahalo goes out to Freelance Brand, b-girl Yoda, UH Manoa, Diverse Art Center, Rock the School Bells, and all the students and teachers.

VC: Gale on the West Side
This weekend b-girl Yoda invited me to break down the foundation and history of the hip hop element of beatboxing and its relevance to the culture of hip hop in this workshop for the First Inaugural Rock The School Bells Hawaii Conference at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Students have shared that they enjoyed how interactive our combined workshop with b-girl Yoda and I at the Rock the School Bells Hawaii Conference was. B-girl Yoda also invited me to speak at her UH Manoa Hip Hop Literature Class last semester.

I want to thank Freelance Brand, b-girl Yoda, East-3, UH Manoa, Rock the School Bells, Diverse Art Center, and all of the students and teachers.

PC: Gale on the West Side
This weekend b-girl Yoda invited me to co-teach the dance and breakdancing workshop for the First Inaugural Rock the School Bells Hawaii at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. During spring semester, b-girl Yoda invited me to guest speak at her UH Manoa Hip Hop Literature class. This routine combines beatboxing (music with the voice) and dance to perform Billie Jean by Michael Jackson. This was demonstrated for students of Dole Middle School, Kalaukaua Middle School and Farrington High School.

These students then took what they learned from b-girl Yoda and myself and they used it for their student showcase at the Rock the School Bells Hawaii Finale. I want to thank g-girl Yoda, Freelance Brand, East-3, UH Manoa, Rock the School Bells, Diverse Art Center, all of the teachers and students.

VC: Gale on the West Side