Biography: Who is Jason Tom (譚志豪)?
“Jason Tom is from another planet. He is the Michael Jordan of beatboxing.. the Human Beatbox Machine!”
— Allan Silva
“Jason 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 Jason 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.”
— Tracy Chan
From child of God to man of faith, Jason was born and water baptized into Catholicism during the administration of America's 40th president Ronald Reagan. By age 15, he welcomed Jesus into his life. At age 21, he pursued a career in beatboxng. And by 25, he devoted his life further to God as a born again Christian.
Jason has opened shows for Michael Winslow, Jabbawockeez, Quest Crew, Blue Scholars, Reeps One, and has performed live with Tom Thum, John Cruz, Jake Shimabukuro, Makana, and Taimane.
Following his first birthday in Honolulu, his early years were spent in East Bay, Northern California. Upon his return, Jason attended preschool at Island Paradise.
At the tender age of four, Jason, as a Kauluwela Tiger Cub kindergartner, began beatboxing the song Michael Jackson Bad following its music video premiere. At the age of six, an older family member recorded his beatboxing of Bad on music cassette tape following the release of Weird Al Yankovic's Fat, and Michael Jackson's Moonwalker film. That season, he was a Liholiho Warrior first grader. He then got held back the first grade.
“Tough times don't last. Tough people do.”
— Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Wait a minute!!!
Who does that? Wait, Jason Tom did that? The Jason Tom Dot Com?
Jason Tom did that.
The Jason Tom Dot Com.
No way, get out!
Wow! Now, this is a story of what it means to not give up.
Jason found success upon his Kauluwela Elementary return. It was there, he created Gecko Man, drew home made comic books, continued to beatbox, and discovered that he enjoyed math. He was nicknamed Superman by his P.E. classmate Ruben. By 1991, as a Kauluwela third grader, Jason practiced his beatboxing along to "Jam," "Black or White," "Remember the Time," "Who is It," "Why You Wanna Trip on Me," and "Dangerous" from Michael Jackson's Dangerous album. His inner ear collected a library of sounds and instruments to hone his vocal percussion skill from the Dangerous album.
He was held back the first grade multiple times at Sun Yat-sen Chinese School, and experienced stage fright at its year-end campus presentation, year after year after year. Frustrated, traumatized, he dropped out of Chinese school.
Growing up introverted, his beatboxing was his hidden talent through his years at Liholiho Elementary, Kauluwela Elementary, Kawananakoa Middle, and McKinley High. Jason's beatboxing leaked during his McKinley freshman year when his classmate Jess overheard him beatboxing during their English class. Jess asked him, "was that you or a radio?" When Jess learned that it was not a radio, he responded, "wait, that was you? Wow, that sounded like a radio. Amazing! Can you do it again? That sounded really cool."
As a McKinley High School sophomore, he was emotionally touched and moved by Charlie and Lucy Wedemeyer's story. They blessed him and signed Jason's copy of "Charlie's Victory" at the McKinley Auditorium. Charlie and Lucy's story inspired his decision to not give up in life, and school. He was also inspired to give sports a shot.
“Known as Hawaiʻi’s human beatbox, Jason Tom, a Kapiʻolani Community College alumnus, is using beatboxing—a form of vocal percussion that uses the mouth and voice to create sounds and rhythms—to spread a positive message about 'staying on the beat' when it comes to achieving your goals.”
— Kapiʻolani Ching
Reunited as McKinley Tigers, Ruben continued to call Jason, "Superman." Following his sophomore year, he played on McKinley Tigers' basketball summer league. His junior year, he was temporarily the McKinley volleyball team manager, and even gave baseball a try. He found success as a two-year letterman in soccer and judo.
In his first judo season, coach Clinton Sunada nicknamed him "Spider-Man" right before he sparred with at that time future USA judo Beijing Olympian and Hawaii Judo Academy founder Taylor Takata. He finished his senior season as the McKinley boys soccer regular season score leader, and was recipient of the McKinley Tigers' Soccer "Mr. Hustle" Award.
He took a college break following his first two semesters at Kapiʻolani Community College, and he returned to his Northern Californian roots. Between the two semesters, he was emotionally impacted by the horrific September 11th attacks.
In East Bay California, he got hired to do clerical work for an Albany furniture warehouse. He won gold medals at judo tournaments hosted at the San Jose State University, and City College of San Francisco. While he helped to clean up after the the San Jose State University Judo Tournament finished, he picked up a live microphone and beatboxed some sounds. Then kids and teenagers came running toward Jason and responded, "whoa, that was you? That sounded so cool... do it again! Do it again!" He then got his judo belt promotion from white belt to yonkyu-green belt.
“Jason Tom’s quest to 'find himself' led him to northern California and brought him home to Kapi‘olani Community College, where the Freeman Study Abroad Scholarship opened the door to 'a new perspective.'”
— University of Hawaiʻi Foundation
Jason caught Asian American beatboxers Leejay Abucayan's Stir TV and Elaine Chao's Showtime at the Apollo features upon his return to Honolulu. Following his third place judo trophy won in Honolulu, he collided with a SUV as a pedestrian. That was the turning point of his life. His muscle memory responded with a judo sprawl upon impact, and he judo broke his fall prior to him going unconscious on wet asphalt.
Driver rendered help, called first responders, and she prayed over him. ER doctor told his family that it's a miracle he had no broken bones and a collision as such could've been fatal.
He was escorted home that night by family. He woke up the next morning concussed and traumatized by what happened. At age 21 by that time, he contemplated about life. That same day, a family member took him to see the Passion of the Christ on the big screen. He eventually left judo, returned to college, and pursued beatboxing.
During his college years, he took voice lessons from professor Lina Doo, and private voice lessons from vocal coach Cat Wong of Cat Wong Studios.
He completed the Freeman Foundationsh Schlarship program at Beijing Foreign Studies University. Graduated from KCC. He then enrolled in music business and audio engineering courses through Belmont University's Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business partnership with Honolulu Community College.