Beatboxing western NC teen inspires others with music - FOX Carolina 21

Beatboxing western NC teen inspires others with music

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Conrad Ma performs. (Jan. 29, 2014/FOX Carolina) Conrad Ma performs. (Jan. 29, 2014/FOX Carolina)
ARDEN, NC (FOX Carolina) -

A western North Carolina high school student came all the way from his home in China to not only get a solid academic education but to express himself and grow as a beatboxer.

Conrad Ma is a junior at Christ School. In his second year at the boarding school in Arden, NC, the student body and even broader Asheville community is beginning to recognize him as a rising talent.

Beatboxing has helped Ma's confidence over the years, and now he explains he's trying to teach others what he's learned over the years.

Ma considers himself a musician more than just a vocalist.

A former trumpet player, the 18-year-old didn't think the practicing and pain were worth it. He realized later, though, that the trumpet helped him learn the sounds for beatboxing faster than others.

His first beatboxing exposure was at a summer camp seven years ago. At just 11, he started exploring the sounds he could make with his mouth. He'd watch YouTube videos and emulate the movements and sounds of other beatboxers.

"The human voice is pretty amazing. There's no limit," said Ma.

To Ma, beatboxing is an art form. It's also served as the avenue with which he's transformed himself into the poised and confident teen he is today.

"You have to overcome the anxiety. You have to work on your confidence. Your public speaking skills. Just overcome your fear," explains Ma.

He's performed on stages with different bands and even the Asheville symphony.

"All you do is making beats for their music and beats is the structure. It's the bones. It's the skeleton for music. Without beats, you don't have music," Ma said.

Beating boxing's been a tool for him to travel, meet new people and experience different cultures.

In college, Ma plans to study computer science, but he wants to keep beatboxing as an important hobby.

He's seen it as his way to connect with other people throughout the world, no matter their language.

As a 2014 service project, Ma created tutorial YouTube videos called "Listen to your own voice" to inspire the next generation of beatboxers.

Ma is signed up to perform at two different Ted-x shows in the Carolinas this year. The first one is in Greenville in April.

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