One of the world’s leading beatboxers, Shlomo has worked for years to push the boundaries of beatboxing as an art form. This man’s mouth makes mad, mad music. Shlomo has used these incredible vocal skills to make music with people from all kinds of musical backgrounds, including the Mighty Boosh, Björk, Martha Wainwright, Damon Albarn, Jarvis Cocker and Bill Bailey.
Classically trained as a drummer and percussionist since the age of eight, Shlomo took up jazz drums in his teens. In 2002 he moved to Leeds to study Astrophysics, but his beatboxing quickly got him noticed and he joined the award-winning hip hop group Foreign Beggars soon after, heading on tour across the UK, Europe and Canada.
In August 2004, Shlomo was invited by Icelandic singer Björk to beatbox on her all-vocal album Medulla. The track, ‘Oceania’, was commissioned to be performed at the Olympics Opening Ceremony in Athens. An estimated audience of 4.5 billion viewers saw this performance, making Shlomo the most heard beatboxer in history.
By 2007, Shlomo was asked to curate the International Beatbox Convention at Southbank Centre and put together a 13-piece beatboxing choir called Shlomo and the Vocal Orchestra to headline. Filmmaker Colette McWilliams heard about the project and decided to make a feature documentary called The Beatbox Choir. That summer, the Vocal Orchestra appeared at the Big Chill Festival, and have since headlined at Southbank’s Choral Festival, created the World’s Largest Beatbox Choir, and played at Glastonbury Festival to over 15,000 people.
After the success of the Vocal Orchestra’s sold out debut, Shlomo was appointed as Artist in Residence at Southbank Centre. In November 2007, he launched a monthly collaborative concert series at Queen Elizabeth Hall called ‘Music Through Unconventional Means’. The first six month run was entirely sold out, and saw Shlomo collaborate with artists such as Martha Wainwright, Teddy Thompson, DJ Yoda, Seb Rochford and Mad Professor. Over the summer of 2008, Shlomo performed Music Through Unconventional Means at several festivals, including Bestival and a two-hour collaborative show at Glastonbury featuring guests like Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Reverend and the Makers, Ed Harcourt, Portico Quartet, Martina Topley-Bird and more. Music Through Unconventional Means returned to Southbank Centre in December 2008 with a massive Concert Against Knife Crime, featuring collaborations with Jarvis Cocker, Ashley Walters, Marcus Brigstocke, Fyfe Dangerfield and a load more.
As well as performing, recording and working on larger commissions, Shlomo heads up several outreach projects, using beatboxing as a tool to encourage young people to get into music. Some of these projects included the BAC Beatbox Academy and the One Voice Choir project which culminated in a mass performance at Wembley Arena in September 2008.
Shlomo is a Southbank Centre Artist in Residence supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation.