Beardyman: The beatboxer who can make any noise (almost)

hk beatboxer beardyman intv_00000417
hk beatboxer beardyman intv_00000417

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    Meet Beardyman, the beatboxer extraordinaire

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Meet Beardyman, the beatboxer extraordinaire 01:10

Story highlights

  • Beardyman is a British beatboxer who uses live-looping to layer his voice to sound like an entire band
  • He has worked with DJ David Guetta and, in 2013, delivered a TED talk
  • Frustrated by the limitations of the human voice, he invented the "Beardytron_5000 mkII" -- a real-time music-production system

(CNN)"If I shave my beard, I lose all my powers."

Beardyman is, of course, joking: it's not his namesake hairstyle that bestows on him superhero properties.
    It's his mouth-muscle defying beatboxing skills.
    Described as a comedian, musician, "multivocalist" and inventor, Darren Foreman, 33, found fame while studying product design in the United Kingdom after a YouTube video of him went viral.
     Beardyman, aka Darren Foreman.
    Now viewed more than 2.3 million times, it shows Foreman taking to the stage as "Professor Bernhard Steinerhoff" to deliver a speech on climate change, before breaking into a beatbox session where he simultaneously sings and provides the percussion to Michael Jackson hits.

    Mouth magic

    "There's a lot of different ways of making sounds with your mouth," he tells CNN. "Generally, people tend not to use them. But beatboxers have honed in on all those things.
    "For example, your lips alone can go ..."
    Clips, buzzes and hisses, made with his mouth closed, all follow.
    In the past decade, Foreman has twice been named the UK Beatbox Champion, duetted with French DJ David Guetta, and in 2013 he delivered a TED talk about the "Beardytron_5000 mkII" -- a music-production system that Foreman invented with DMGAudio.
    He uses it on stage for live-looping (recording and playing back audio samples in real time), layering up his sounds to create the impression of an entire band.
    Foreman conceived the Beardytron_5000 as an answer to the frustrating problem that humans -- unlike the lyrebird -- do not have two voiceboxes, and so cannot sing two notes at a time.
    But even with the Beardytron, there are limits to his superpowers.
    "I gave up trying to mimic everything quite a while ago because you can't mimic some noises with the human mouth -- like the piano. You just can't do it."