Watch Beatboxer Spencer Polanco Kill 14 Genres at Once!
Beatboxer wunderkind Spencer Polanco is proving that beatboxing is not only an element of the hip-hop culture, but that the vocal-percussive music can also serve as a diverse endurance test. The 21-year-old's latest video - "One beatboxer, 14 Genres" sees Polanco tackling 14 different styles of music with relative ease using a single take of his impressive avant garde vocal capabilities. We spoke to Polanco about the health benefits of beatboxing, as well as what it takes to slaughter 14 styles in one sitting.
Spencer Polanco Ain't no Genre he can't beatbox!
What was your introduction to beatboxing?
I started with music in middle school, that's the first time I picked up an instrument. I started with brass, with the trumpet, then the flute but I wasn't getting enough "umph." I picked up the drumset, I liked the percussive element of it but wanted to make it more than just what it was as an instrument. One of my friends started beatboxing at tennis, and I was amazed. I was like "Dude, that's music!" He said there's things online and I started researching it, all types of media of what beatboxing was and what it was becoming. From then on out, I made it my life.
Were your parents and friends pretty supportive of your new skill?
At first, it was a bit difficult for me to show it in public because I realized I had to treat it as an instrument. But, I was really excited to show it to my friends. I started practicing as much as I could, listening to the radio and pop songs inspiring me to add more grooves to this. Eventually, I saw myself as more of a freestyle jazz musician, going from one place to another, rhythm-to-rhythm, melody to melody. My parents have been my biggest supporters, as has my sister.
When did you decide to "turn pro"?
As soon as I got into it in high school, there wasn't as much of a strong music program, so I had to think outside the box. I started attending hip-hop clubs and hip-hop club events by my high school and started performing for them. My friends started having me perform for their charity events and S.M.A.C. (Student Movement Against Cancer), I started performing for [them] and eventually I made a video online. An a cappella group found me from Rochester called the Midnight Ramblers, alumnus from Rochester University. At the time, I think I was 17 and they flew me out to Miami to audition for "Sing Off." It was the first time I was put in an environment where I had to work in a group with my beatboxing and it started my whole career. Now I'm an a cappella group from New York called Backtrack and we recorded a hit every month. I started my professional career the more I started performing more and meeting more artists.