You Have to Hear This: The Human Beatbox Champion

From Long Island party trick to performing on Broadway with Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Comments: 40

  1. What a great story. And she's totally amazing. Wow.

  2. Rock it! She's amazing. Almost as good as me. Almost.

  3. NYC, may the creativity never stop!

  4. I’m lucky enough to work with Kaila in Freestyle Love Supreme and she is simply amazing - generous - powerful and a role model for every human being.

  5. I love this!

  6. Very cool!

  7. She was amazing from the start and has only gotten better every year - so happy for Kaila!!!

  8. @Lee She came to our school district to perform. Then I saw her do a special workshop with our special ed kids some with Down's Syndrome some Autistic etc. and I could not believe how these kids responded. I would swear that she worked with Special Ed kids before she was such a natural. She has a gift. The experience for these special kids was life altering.

  9. This is my idea of audio torture.

  10. Listen to this Al Jarreau cut from 1977. Unlike the contemporary stuff, it involves actual singing and musicianship.

  11. Great writing, great story!

  12. I was lucky enough to see Kaila in Free Style Love Supreme... all I can say is, WOW! Incredible and totally bananas. And because of the nature of the show, her amazing story telling abilities were on full display. True art and incredible entertainment.

  13. I liked the video but it was the interview that made me want to hear more. You’ve got to love her passion and creativity.

  14. Very nice way to wake up to this, reading about a young woman with a quirky talent who is kind, funny, generous and very intriguing. Thank you for this great piece! And best of luck to Kaila.

  15. Love this! Thanks for having this story, and these kinds of story, to mix up the endless bad and dismal news.

  16. Astonishing, but I'm afraid she will soon have to censured for cultural appropriation. Sorry, Kaila, but that's the way of the world these days. Sharing is no longer allowed.

  17. That is the weirdest thing I can ever recall hearing.

  18. As a percussionist/drummer, I so enjoy seeing form of art. Just so super cool!

  19. Such a breath of fresh air considering the cookie cutter autotuned pop stars of today.

  20. Her talent is undeniable, but was she saying, "I burn down your house with you still in it."? Mindless lyrics, awful in meaning, to showcase the talent? Makes my skin crawl.

  21. I'm sorry, I think it's weird that Leon Lederman had to sell his Nobel medal to pay for medical care, while this person is earning enough for a New York celebrity lifestyle by making noises with her mouth. Nothing against her, I just think our culture is screwed up.

  22. It’s not weird, it’s pathetic.

  23. @JL Williams Seems to me you're problem is with popular culture you don't like. Presumably you're not blaming your own favorite performing artists for making more money than Leon Lederman. You might want to consider that your judgement about Kaila "making noises with her mouth" is a cultural prejudice (and note that every a capella group in the world has the equivalent of a beatboxer making "noises"). I don't think anyone needs to apologize for appreciating it as a skill. And from her description, it doesn't sound like she has a "celebrity lifestyle", though obviously anyone in NYC needs a good income to stay. What she earns still wouldn't be enough to save her from being impoverished by a catastrophic illness. You want to blame somebody for Leon Lederman's plight? Try the healthcare market.

  24. @JL Williams The former is a problem with the medical system in our country and has nothing to do with the latter. Sports figures also make tons of money. Unless one finds a way to use their money for the medical system, it is moot.

  25. It’s great to see Kaila getting notice. She exemplifies the values her mentor Terry Kid Lucky Lewis teaches. Originality. Integrity. Self-respect. Commitment to community building and education. Creating a massively pleasureful experience for the listener. Being knowledgeable about the art form’s history. Working collaboratively with other artists and organizations. Experiencing Kaila perform live on the street you easily apprehend the intense inspiration and joy in creativity she exudes. One thing this article only hints at however, is the role beatboxing plays in creating a community and network of support. It is founded completely on a DIY ethos. This goes back to Kid Lucky’s organizing of some of the first local beatboxing festivals and his totally grass roots events like the Subway Series, a completely inclusive traveling ‘open mic’ and mass cypher. These vocal artists are truly New York City originals.

  26. Love beat boxing skills and seeing women excel at it. As I watch the competition though, I wonder, are the creepy mannerisms, staring, and the intimidating body language necessary? I find this to set a negative tone, not add to the performance of either person, and lessens the sense of beat box as an art form.

  27. Cultural appropriation.

  28. @Jason Talent is talent, no matter what the race. We're lucky to have people who are willing to share their talent.

  29. @Jason Dude, you just culturally appropriated the Persians. They invented the alphabet. Shame on you!

  30. @Solar Power - The Latin alphabet descends from the Phoenician alphabet. Can't do a good own with the wrong facts, assuming it made sense in the first place.

  31. Fun to listen to. She’s talented. She’s a break from politics.

  32. After watching an HBO documentary on the Apollo and hearing Ella Fitzgerald singing scat I felt this art form was in many ways an evolution of that art form. It’s nice to see/hear evolution in motion. This young woman and her peers are impressive. As for the remarks of cultural appropriation all I can say is that everything comes from something before it, especially in music.

  33. @Ronnie Right Ronnie. Great clip that tells you everything. Beatboxing is old wine is a newish bottle. Bretta Lokting fails to mention the root anyone over 50 knows-scat. Every generation seems to think they invented music anew. And actually competing for prizes for singing is an insult to the performers. Don't they realize this?

  34. @m.pipik Re: Bretta Lokting fails to mention the root anyone over 50 knows-scat.....I agree and I am very aware of this.

  35. So sad. So this is what passes for entertainment in this world at the beginning of the 21st century. A reality show entertainer become leader of the free world, people who make noises instead of words, and general corruption of history in the arts such as the play Hamilton. Wow, are we losing it.

  36. This rap garbage has infested our culture and destroyed real music. It is a shame.

  37. @steve Your statement is simply preposterous. All kinds of music flourishes in today's world. Whn was the last time you went to a classical or jazz concert or opera or whatever you like? Or listened to classical music on vinyl, cd or radio, if you don't live n an area where these are available? Etcetcetcetcetcetcetc. If you don't like a particular gemre of music don't listen to it, thats all. "Real" music includes all kinds of rythmic (and a-rhythmic!) variations. Whatever floats your boat sweetheart, go for it! Enjoy.

  38. @steve, Your parents didn't approve of your taste in music either. And their parents didn't care for your parents music.

  39. That was strangely entertaining! And, clearly, there's considerable virtuosity involved.