"Jason Tom is a walking, talking instrument; an energetic combination of drums, snare, vocals and synthesizer, all replicated using his voice,” as blogged by Tracy Chan.
"Tough times don't last, tough people do," Robert Schuller.
Stand up Honolulu native and charismatic fourth-generation American of Chinese ancestry, Jason Tom, has not forgotten where he came from to know where he is going. This Beijing Foreign Studies University and the University of Hawaiʻi at Kapiʻolani Community College (KCC) alumnus is Hawaiʻi's scene choice "Best Performer" award-winning human beatbox and a three-time Hawaiʻi slam First Thursdays top 12 performance poet. This McKinley High School "Mr. Hustle" award winning soccer striker and outside halfback alumnus chased the dream of an aspiring comic book artist who retired as a judo champion known as our friendly neighborhood "Spider-Man" before his ascend as a vibrant professional beatboxer, mathematician and presenter.
"I couldn't take my eyes off him," said Andy Bumatai. "There is no denying he is interesting to watch. He definitely has talent, and he seems like a really nice guy. Could we be witnessing Hawai'i's first beatbox star?"
It began at age of four when Tom recorded himself beatboxing and scat singing, "I'm bad, I'm bad, you know it, you know," of Michael Jackson's "Bad" on audio cassette tape at his parents' master bedroom of their two-bedroom apartment in the concrete jungle of Downtown Honolulu. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Tom was often awakened by his father in the wee hours when his Dad arrived home from work. His father operated and owned a Chinese restaurant business as "head chef" and once awoken, his father read the ABC's of mathematics to him on blank side of a wall calendar written up by his father that was scotch-taped on their living room wall. Tom was disciplined to sing the ABC's of math on that poster on the wall through song in the tonal language of Cantonese Chinese. Tom's Dad was his first Chinese language, vocal coach and math teacher.
Chaminade Silversword's Jolica Domdom wrote, "after being struck by a van at the age of 21, Jason Tom was hit with the realization of what he was doing with his life. Having a near-life death experience was a wakeup call and a reality check for Tom to pursue a career he is passionate about, which is beatboxing."
The day following that accident in 2004 he caught the Passion of the Christ movie film that soon followed him rocking the mic to young and old alike. His unique style mixes old- and new- school beatboxing with hip-hop, house and dubstep with his personal touch of boots and cats, tom-toms, kicks, hi-hats, snare drums, and didgeridoo all performed by his voice. "I said, 'why not, put it out there, get out there and perform. Perpetuate the art form of beatboxing.' I love beatboxing, because that's my instrument," as Tom shared on Art And Flea's Do What You Love Series.
"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, a move that typically gets enthusiastic approval from audiences. 'Michael Jackson is my biggest influence,' Tom said. 'If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be beatboxing,'" Tracy Chan continued.
Jennifer Takahashi blogged, "I don't think I can think of a better example of stretching the limits of potential than what Jason Tom can do with his voice. The sounds that he creates from his body are seriously incredible. Beyond that, what he has done with his talent is truly inspiring. His performance at TEDx Talks was one of the ones that inspired me to start this blog." Tom overcame extraordinary circumstances and battled victorious over torment, academic hurdles, bullies, asthma attacks, and stage fright to empower the lives of 10,000 to 20,000 middle and high school students annually on the American Lung Association's Music With A Message tour and a Moanalua High School student dubbed Tom as the Human Skrillex.
In 2006 and 2007, he placed in four consecutive KCC talent contests. During his final semester at KCC he pursued Music Business through the MELE Program with Belmont University's Mike Curb College of Entertainment And Music Business and the University of Hawaiʻi at Honolulu Community College. Then one Friday evening in October 2008 he entered the statewide Emerge Talent Contest at Word of Life Christian Center. Tom was the last to compete out of 12 contestants, and emerged as the first-place winner. It is written in the gospel book of Matthew chapter 20 and verse 16, "so the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen." He continues to look to God's wisdom for guidance in his endeavors and lifestyle as a career professional.
Tom conquered illiteracy thanks to his mother who took time to read alphabet blocks to him after working at their Chinese restaurant business and he continues to process "complex trauma" through prayer and honoring God and people to impact the multitudes with foundation in the quantum leap of faith, mathematics and music.
"The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work," as quoted by Michael Jackson. More than meets the eye, this bachelor, southpaw, former yonkyu-green belt judo gold medalist, McKinley high school soccer team's leading goal scorer, and supplemental instruction mathematician leader, Tom watched more than one-hundred billion hours and listened to endless hours of Michael Jackson music and footage as well as live musical instruments to hone a foundation on his beatboxing talent.
His attempts of playing the piano, ukulele and tuba were brief when he devoted more than 10,000 hours to practice and hone his vocal gift of beatboxing. Tom studied voice under the tutelage of Lina Doo, who turned him onto the Mongolia based Genghis Blues' documentary on Tuvan throat singing, and he has taken private vocal training from Cat Wong of Cat Wong Studio. From that combined he was able to enhance his voice and beatboxing with the essential tools he worked on. He also studied his heroes Bobby McFerrin, Michael Winslow, Elaine Chao, MC Jin, Naturally 7, Afra, and Rahzel of The Roots.
It is written in the gospel book of Luke chapter 16 and verse 10, "he that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much." Off stage, Tom has taught the beatboxing a cappella music performance art to students Noa and Elijah. Noa won 1st place in the high school division variety act category of the Hawaiʻi statewide Brown Bags to Stardom competition in 2017 and Elijah won 1st place in the same talent competition in 2018. "Great entertainers are far and few between. Jason Tom is a great entertainer and motivator on stage. Need more like him!" wrote Johnny Kai, Hawaii Music Awards and Brown Bags To Stardom founder. In the academic world, he teaches and tutors mathematics to students of all walks and he personally coaches and challenges as well as motivate them to become mathletes who perform with significant results.
Tom's official website JasonTom.com publishes and authors the Jason Tom Music, Hip Hop And Faith Life Blog that engages 2.6 million page viewers and 2.5 million unique individuals and households throughout our world. He has conveyed a message of perseverance and to have passion to be "On the Beat," have "Eyes on the Prize" and to "Make Noise" in our endeavors through fashion. He has opened for Michael Winslow of the Police Academy and Spaceballs movie film fame, the America's Best Dance Crew Champions the Jabbawockeez and Quest Crew, Blue Scholars, and has performed live with Jake Shimabukuro, Honoka and Azita, Taimane Gardner, and Makana.
He has appeared on and presented at TEDx Talks "Shift" and "It's About Time" Conferences, Rock The School Bells Conference, Rethink Conference, KS EdTech "Disrupt" Conference, RAW Artists, Twestival, Hi Sessions, Millennial Magazine, Chevron's Honolulu District Speech Festival, Kamehameha Schools "Find the Hero in You," International Hawaii Chinese Cultural Arts Festival, Taste of Chinatown, Moon Festival, Chinese New Year Festival, Night In Chinatown, American Lung Assocation's Music With A Message, International Human Beatbox Convention, Rice Festival, Hawaii Book And Music Festival, Hawaii Children And Youth Day, Honolulu Museum's Art After Dark, Beatbox Battle Television, "American Beatboxer" documentary movie film, American Beatbox Championship, Art And Flea TV, Kapiʻo News, Team Lally Radio Show, Fame Magazine, Honolulu Star Advertiser, KFVE, OC16, Olelo, National Public Radio, 93.9 The Beat, Hawaii News Now.
Tom is also featured on the Na Hoku Hanohano Award/Hawaii Grammy Award RnB/Hip-Hop nominated album "Nobody Owns Me."
He finished third place with 6,291 votes in the McDonald's of Hawaiʻi NextNext Music Competition and Charity Event with proceeds raised for the Ronald McDonald House Hawaiʻi Charity. Tom starred in the to be released "Breathe" music video documentary filmed by Now We Collide on location in Sydney, Australia. He was recognized as the Hawaii All-Star and nominated as one of the world's top 150 professional beatboxers to qualify for the Beatbox Battle World Championship. The Jason Tom Amphitheater proposed by Kapiʻo News made it on the Christmas Dream List for KCC to be built on the campus in honor of him as one of their famed alumnus. Since then Kapiʻo News featured Tom in an alumnus write up. One of his videos recently got featured at a TED-Education Club Student Talks event. Tom is preparing for Prisma Dance presents "Creation" scheduled for this November and December 2018.