The BYU A Capella Club hosted the Beatboxing Battle at Brigham Square to showcase BYU’s best beatboxers.
“Most people have heard Pentatonix music and know about their beatboxer, but not many people have heard beatboxing unleashed — when you give a beatboxer free rein to do whatever they want. The results are unbelievable,” said A Capella Club president Bryan Samuelsen.
Participant Jarom Hess, a sophomore studying microbiology, agreed and explained the term “beatbox battle” is almost as old as the term “rap battle.”
“Beatboxers participate in a tournament-style competition to demonstrate their skills and gain notoriety,” Hess said. “Beatbox battles are essentially two artists having an argument about who is better without having to explicitly say it.”
Samuelsen said the idea for the event came from a few brief beatbox solos at recent events. The A Capella Club wanted to expand the solos and let the beatboxers in the club shine.
“A couple of our beatboxers have competed in regional tournaments before, so we consulted with them and created BYU’s first-ever beatbox battle,” Samuelsen said.
Hess said in preparation for the battle, he worked on polishing original routines, coming up with catchphrases to hype the crowd and polishing beats borrowed from other beatboxers. He said borrowing beats is known as “biting.”
“I have also been doing a lot of freestyling, which is useful really only if the crowd knows you are doing it,” Hess said. “But if you can pull off a relatively good beat without having any idea what you are going to do beforehand, people generally give a very positive response.”
Hess recently auditioned for BYU’s Vocal Point. He didn’t make the most recent cut but was given advice on how to improve and invited to audition again next semester.
“I made it to the very last cut of the night, and the talent was just astounding,” Hess said. There were 16 men left and nine got in. “I knew, without a doubt, that every person could make it in, and in terms of singing and vocal acrobatics, I was definitely outmatched.”
Hess said despite the rejection, he was ecstatic to have made it as far as he did.
“I feel more confident going into the audition this year, but if the competition is anything like last year, anything goes,” Hess said. “I really mean it when I say that I don’t think I have been in the same room with as many talented individuals in my entire life as the audition last year.”
If students are interested in getting involved with upcoming BYU A Capella Club events, Samuelsen advised they attend the A Capella Jam on April 10. He said it’ll showcase the talent of the groups and provide opportunities to meet with A Capella Club members.
“Auditions are at the beginning of each semester on the first Clubs Night in the Varsity Theatre,” Samuelsen said, which will fall on Sept. 10 in Fall 2019. “If you want to jump in now, you can attend the club’s open-enrollment group, Audacity, on Tuesdays at 7 p.m, also in the Varsity Theater.”
Samuelsen shared the A Capella Club was how he found his place at BYU. He said he had no friends, his grades were slipping and he was becoming more and more miserable.
“One day, I stumbled into an A Cappella Club event, and the club president at the time came over and invited me to join a group,” Samuelsen said. “All of a sudden, I had something to look forward to twice a week. It was life-changing for me.”