A Newcastle College student is taking the trip of a lifetime after being asked to represent Great Britain at one of the biggest beatboxing contests in the world.
Joe Walker – aka Mad Speed – was invited to compete in the prestigious Beatbox To World 2019 event after finishing 17th in the world, and will be the only UK beatboxer at the competition in South Korea this weekend.
“I found that, although I didn’t place in the top 16 qualifiers, I’d been offered a place as first reserve,” said Joe.
“I’d finished 17th in the world but one of the other guys had been forced to pull out and the organisers offered me the place.
“I was so shocked. The top 16 had been announced a week before and, as I wasn’t
on the list, I’d decided it just wasn’t meant to be. Even that day I’d been looking at other competitions because I’d given up on going to Seoul.”
Newcastle College and Joe’s friends and family have rallied around the ambitious beatboxer in a bid to help him realise his obvious potential and helped him raise more than £850 to fund his trip to South Korea.
“I can’t possibly thank each person enough who has taken the time to donate,” Joe adds.
“Each of those people has decided it’s worth investing in helping my dream to become a reality and it’s incredibly heart-warming. I will try my hardest to do everyone proud and show that their money was well spent. I also plan to do a video shortly after the tournament has passed shouting out every donor - individually naming and thanking them.”
Joe has been perfecting his beatbox technique for 12 years after discovering a talent for making powerful noises with his tongue aged just six and regularly posts YouTube videos showcasing his skills under the stage name Mad Speed.
“I first started beatboxing around the time of my sixth birthday when I tried to make a machine gun noise with my tongue and came out with a ‘t-t-t-t-t’ sound,” he explains.
“Even though I was awful for so long, I eventually learned more sounds, got a beatbox teacher and started making decent music with my face.
“I usually practice at least two hours a day. It’s something free that you always have with you - I can’t remember the last time I didn’t beatbox for a whole day.”
Joe, who studies a diploma in Music Practitioners (DJ and Electronic), says the College has encouraged his talent. “The College has been extremely helpful in developing my beatboxing. I use their rehearsal rooms with a microphone and PA system every week to help with my live work and I’ve just performed in a silent disco at the college for my performance assessment.
“The course and my beatboxing go hand in hand as I can use samples from my own mouth in production and I can use the skills learned in classes to professionally record myself. In fact, the entry video for Beatbox To World was recorded and edited in college using the amazing equipment I have access to. Without that video I might not have got the chance to go to South Korea.”
Congratulations and a huge good luck to Joe in the competition! See a clip of Joe's talents below.