A 21-year-old Chennai-based artiste, Ankush Jain, manages to play wind instruments and make music with his mouth at the same time. Ankush is India's first multi-instrumental beatboxer from Chennai who has come a long way, starting from participating in cultural events in school to performing at a concert.
“I was a percussionist before getting into beatboxing and I was randomly watching YouTube videos and I came across this TEDx talk by Tom Thum and I found it very interesting to be able to create music without instruments and keep entertaining people. I have never professionally learned orthodox lessons in music but I have been interested in music from childhood”, says, Ankush.
He has done over 200 performances till date. Ankush incorporation of musical instruments while beatboxing has made him the first such artiste in the city.
What is unique about you as a beatboxer? “What makes my work unique is my love for wind instruments. Along with beatboxing I have also experimented with a few wind instruments like harmonica, recorder flute, jaw harp, soprano flute, bandura pan flute, Kazoo and a few more instruments where I beatbox and play these instruments simultaneously.”
Ankush’s passion to keep learning and creating new music has provided him opportunities to perform with some of the well-known names in the music industry, including Armaan Malik among others.
Difficulty in recording or producing beatbox - “It is predominantly technique so once you have your breathing sorted with the technique then it is easy but to get those right sounds takes a few months to crack but a few you can pick up easily.”
He adds, “Getting on stage performing or talking to people is a blessing. To be able to do that every other day of the month and be paid for that and travel around the country is something special. I don't think there would any other job that I would fit in.”
According to Ankush beatboxing is the best medium for him to express his thoughts and to express himself and also loves experimenting with music. “A.R. Rahman, Adele, John Legend and Michael Bublé were the musicians that I look up to my music”, says, Ankush.
An interesting moment in this journey you consider special? “The first time Ankush tried beatboxing at his house and the basic sounds weren't sounding as crisp as they do today in the stage so his mom in the kitchen thought he was having a gastric problem. She threw a bottle of Gelusil at him and a year later Ankush was opening for the Bollywood singer Armaan Malik and his mom was sitting in the front row and he feels that's a whole circle of life thought of a thing.”
He is planning to switch from commercial music to music therapy for people who come with problems like depression, stress, anxiety or autism. Music can be the best healer for autism which may have no medicinal cure and music therapy has the ability to help people with autism. He is also looking to pursue a degree in music therapy and practice it full-time.