Record-breaking beatboxer SK Shlomo is launching a huge project to help kids, and raise money for NHS Charities Together – teaming up with The North Wall, Pegasus and Cornerstone theatres to get Oxfordshire families involved.
“Kids are probably wilder. They really know how to rock out” SK Shlomo
The critically acclaimed world-champion beatboxer who has collaborated with Bjork, Ed Sheeran and Lily Allen, played at Glastonbury and broken world records with his jaw-dropping vocal gymnastics, is bringing you Homeskool Beatbox Adventures – a weekly livestreamed interactive show for kids and their families.
Every Thursday at 2pm families around the world can learn new vocal skills from SK Shlomo, and last week’s first streaming garnered an audience of around 30,000.
So who is SK Shlomo? Beatboxing since he was a child, aged 18 he started touring and was almost immediately propelled onto some of the biggest stages in the world from Edinburgh Fringe to Glastonbury, playing with the likes of Rudimental, Damon Alburn and Jarvis Cocker.
“It’s OK to feel sad when you lose someone, to tell people that you aren’t OK, and to take some time out to look after yourself. But yes we had some bad news this week. We lost someone, so it is a sad time for lots of people.”
After having children aged 27, he changed his act to encompass a younger audience and Shlomo’s Beatbox Adventures For Kids was born which toured 160 shows last year, including a night at The Albert Hall, and was a massive success.
With a full 2020 summer tour planned, SK Shlomo has now turned his attention to live-streaming his act.
So are adults and children totally different audiences? “Children are much more honest if they don’t like something which helps fine tune what you do, and they really know how to let their hair down so kids are probably wilder,” he grins. “They really know how to rock out.
“for every inch you put into your show, you have to put the same amount into self care”
“But the shows themselves aren’t that different. I take out the swearing but to be honest the virtual show is as much for parents as it is for their kids. It’s designed for families to do together, but the vibe is the same and I think that’s the secret to its success.”
And to perform? “Well you still have to have all your wits about you and I experience the same feeling of elation and exhaustion afterwards, but instead of going back to my dressing room afterwards and finding my way home, I just go out into the garden and play with my kids, which is quite surreal.”
And yet SK is still bemused about the show’s rocketing success: “Well it’s a bit like Joe Wicks isn’t it? It’s an historic moment. I think it’s about riding the wave and being in the right place at the right time.”
Not that this has always stood SK Shlomo in good stead. He’s been very open about his depression – taking two years off to deal with it.
“At the beginning I poured everything I had into my work and sacrificed everything else. It was a really unhealthy relationship and really affected my mental health,” he says.
“But now I know the signs and for every inch you put into your job or new show, you have to put the same amount into self care.
“I have no regrets. Everything that’s happened has made me who I am and got me here. I just have to look after myself.”
Having lost friends in the current pandemic, SK is currently extra vigilant. “It’s OK to feel sad when you lose someone instead of blaming yourself in some way, to tell people that you aren’t OK and to take some time out to look after yourself,” he says. “But yes we had some bad news this week. We lost someone, so it is a sad time for lots of people.”
“So this is a show about believing in yourself,” he adds. “Finding confidence in your own voice is extremely empowering. That’s even more important when so many of us are feeling disconnected – we don’t know how we can help the world. This project can bring people together, connect the world up and raise funds for the heroes on the frontline who we appreciate so much.”
Instead he wants to teach families in quarantine how to become Superstar Beatboxers and has set up a JustGiving campaign to try to raise £2500 for NHS Charities Together in the process.
Each Thursday SK Shlomo will set families creative challenges to raise money by sharing performance videos of their new skills using the hashtag #beatboxadventures. Over the course of the six weeks, the Homeskool Beatbox Adventures community will create an anthem of their own, with its own music video featuring hundreds of families worldwide singing, beatboxing and performing together to celebrate music and to support the frontline workers on whom we all rely so much during this difficult time.
As for beatboxing he says: “It’s just the way I express myself and I’d really like to teach others. They don’t have to be the best in the world or always get it right, but this is about having some fun, learning something new and helping you to feel alive.
“I want my audience to make some noise and to really capture their imaginations.”
So what can people expect? “I do a bit of virtuoso beatboxing and then break it down and get my audience to have a go and join in. People love it and the feedback has been amazing so we will see what happens this week!
“Other than that, when this is all over we will be back on the road to see everyone in Oxfordshire.”
Shlomo will also be joined by one of his talented friends each episode including Bastille, KT Tunstall, Bill Bailey, Basement Jaxx, Jason Mraz and BBC Radio 1’s Dr Radha.
To take part, live every Thursday at 2pm, visit www.beatboxadventures.com or via Facebook Live on Shlomo, The North Wall’s Facebook pages https://www.facebook.com/thenorthwall, the Cornerstone’s Facebook page and Pegasus Theatre’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PegasusOxford/ and The Theatre Chipping Norton https://www.facebook.com/ChippingNortonTheatre
The show is suitable for any kids aged 4-14 and their grownups