Music makes me feel belonged | Sunday Observer

Music makes me feel belonged

Heard about Beatboxing? The term beatboxing refers to “Vocal Percussion,” is known to have derived from the mimicry of early drum machines then known as beat boxes. It is now a part of the hip-hop culture. Even though it is widely popular around the world we have only a very few artists who are actually talented in beatboxing in the country. Out of that there are only a handful of people who are actually learning the techniques and developing that art. One such talented musical performer is Julius Mitchell. His fortes are beat boxing, singing and playing piano. He also teaches beat boxing and singing. This week The Sunday Observer is bringing you the success story of Julius who is one the luckiest people to have identified his inner talents and have achieved what he always wanted to be from the very small days.

Julius tells us that it all started when he saw the choir of his school, St. Benedict’s College perform. “I was just nine years of age when I saw the senior school choir performing. They were singing four part harmony choir. The first though I got was, wow! What is that! It seemed magical to me. When I went home that day all I could think was when I can join the choir. Day by day I became more and more obsessed and all I wanted was to join the choir.”

He says when he joined the school choir at the age of eleven it helped him to develop his character and to understand more about him and of his talents. Julius tells us that he cannot express the feeling he gets when he hears people sing together and harmonize. He finds it really fascinating and loves the process of learning all the parts, putting it together.

“That was the root for my beat box because Beatboxing deals with sounds, synchronizing, making, creating and moulding sounds. And I always wanted others to feel what I felt the when I listened to the choir. I felt so inspired and uplifted. However during this time I was agitated, disturbed and unrested. But when I sang it freed me and I felt belonged. Those made me understand myself. Hence choir practices were the only thing I looked forward to when I was schooling.”

Julius says his upbringing was quite introverted and at first it did not allow him to speak out and take up beatboxing kind of thing as a career. One thing he kept on mentioning was that once he became a performer it all changed and now his family accepts him for who he is and what he is passionate about.

“There are a lot of psychological dynamics as to why I became a performer. I was a very introverted guy. I was not allowed to try out things which my parents did not approve of. Even to sing I had to do it in a certain way. Beat boxing was nowhere close to what they wanted me to do. As any other parent they also wanted me to have a degree and be a financially stable person,” he mentions.

Explaining how he disliked the fact that he was not given the chance to explore and identify what he like doing and grow in that Julius says that should be given to every person so that he/she will be able to understand yourself as well as your talents and your passion.

“The pressure to do something which you are not interested in eventually came to a point where I got really frustrated and I started to rebel against it. But as I grew in the choir it made me understand stuff. I had to practice and be grateful about the place/position at the choir. This was when I was around 19 years of age.”

He says one of the main reasons as to why he wanted to do beatboxing was that he always had the desire to explore the whole element of behavioural gestures like sound singing speaking, dancing all combined together, “So I chose beat boxing. It involves frequency, sound and makes people feel, resonate to sound. Also it is a very universal thing. With sound you communicate with people.

That is one advantage I have. However my parents did not actually understand it at first. But I knew I had to practise and get really good at it simply because it felt right and still continuing to do so through my music.”

Julius has a YouTube channel and he does collaborations with other artists as well. One of the videos which received good response was the video he did with Yohani de Silva. He says he really enjoy working with other artists because it is a good chance for him to learn more about performing and what they posses.

“For example when I did a couple of videos with Yohani I learnt a lot of new things and those really helped me to improve myself, my music and be a better performer. That is one of the advantages you get when collaborating with another artist.”

Julius is now a full time musician. He was a member of the band Voice Print from 2009 to 2012.

He says it was a 26 member choir back then. He has participated in The Choir games 2010 held in China and have won silver and a bronze medal. He says that he gained so much of knowledge and experience and grew as a person when he was with Voice Print. Later he has decided to start a career as a solo artist.

“One of the turning points of my career would be meeting Vineeth When I was on a tour to Bangalore with the Merry Ann singers in 2009. Vineeth is the most well known beatboxer in India. In 2012 after seeing a video I have put, he called me and invited me to judge the Freeze Hip-Hop Festival. This got me boosted. And it was a good career boost as well. From there onwards things unravelled more and more. I got more exposure, more events and it helped me to widen my personality too.”

Expressing his thoughts to people who are passionate about anything in their life he says, “Stay inspired. Stay driven and stay hopeful. Surround yourself in a culture where truth is revealed to you. Look for people with similar vision, drive. It is very important. Because the culture you are in will mould your personality and the atmosphere of your thinking is influenced by that.”

Julius talking about the response he gets from his fans says their comments actually make him more focused and stay inspired. “It feels good to interact with fans. They appreciate my work and encourage me most of the time. Also try not to base your identity on the past. Let go and live. It helped me to transform and change a lot. My singing and my life got really better and had substance to it. I knew what I was doing and what I wanted to become. What people think of my videos matter to me and some get inspired after watching my work and they started beat boxing. That gives me immense pleasure.”

Revealing about his work on which he is currently working on, “These days I am collaborating with Ranura. He has already done a couple of Spanish songs and a couple of Sinhalese songs. I am actually excited and looking forward to do more and more collaborations in future.” 

 

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