A chat with the amazing 'Beat box' guru SK Shlomo
SK Shlomo is a multi talented beat boxer and singer who is spreading his love of music, words and rhythm by touring all over the country. His tour is slightly unusual as he's performing to two audiences, by day he's showcasing his amazing skills to children with his 'Shlomo's Beatbox Adventure for Kids'. It's on at MAC Birmingham on 22 Feb plus here is a link to the tour to find a venue by you.
He will also perform his new album 'Surrender' in music venues near you to showcase his lyrical talents. So SK is going to be very busy indeed touring around the country with both shows. His album means everything to him as he's put his heart and soul in to it.
If you don't know much about SK Shlomo , keep reading as he's worked with some of the best !
After collaborating with Ed Sheeran, Bjork and Damon Albarn, the record-breaking beatboxer SK Shlomo turns electronic singer-songwriter on his debut album tour, blending his innovative live-looping and breathtaking beatboxing with epic synths, crushingly honest lyrics and lush electronic layers. Massive Attack meets James Blake.
I was lucky enough to have a chat with Shlomo and discovered quite a bit about the man behind the mic.
Q1. How long have you been beat boxing for? Since i was a child but more seriously when I was about 19 years old.
Q2. How did you start? I got a drum kit when I was 8 years old and could only play at certain times of the day, so I practised rhythms and expressions when I couldn't drum.
Q3. What job did you do before you made it as a beat boxer? I had various jobs after university but left my job in a call centre to concentrate on my career.
Q4. What advice would you give to anyone who is starting out? Be persistent, believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who support you.
Q5. What's your favourite day out? Going to the beach with the family, walking and admiring the beautiful scenery. Plus I like to cycle too.
Q6. What's your favourite childhood book? I really remember the Hungry Caterpillar as being one of my first books to look at and I still read it now to my two young children.
Simon Shlomo Kahn knows how it feels to be on top of the world. For over a decade, the genre-defying, award-winning, recording-breaking beatboxer, producer and live-looper has set new standards for his craft.
As Shlomo, he burst in to the mainstream collaborating with Björk and performed with famous fans from Damon Albarn, Lily Allen and Jarvis Cocker to Imogen Heap, Martha Wainwright and Rudimental. As the first ever World Looping Champion, he taught his friend Ed Sheeran some tricks. He was Artist in Residence at London’s Southbank Centre for years, played the main stages at Glastonbury more times than he remembers, won rave reviews for his autobiographical one-man shows and even had a feature film made about him.rave reviews for his autobiographical one-man shows.
But staying on top becomes increasingly tricky to maintain. Despite the standing ovations and the accolades, Simon would feel oddly empty inside. Two years ago, he took a step back to work out what he wanted and his world seemed to crumble under his feet. “I’d always been incredibly driven,” says the London-born musician, now back as solo artist SK Shlomo, “but ultimately that was at the expense of my mental health.”
Behind his reinvention lies a realisation – that throughout his 20s, despite composing and producing for other artists, as well as for film and commercials, he had resisted becoming the solo recording artist he desperately wanted to be for fear of failure. Last summer, determined to change, he set himself a challenge – to write a song every day for a month. For the first five days, he delivered. Then things ground to a painful halt, triggering a mental breakdown which led to six months in therapy. Diagnosed with PTSD, he was forced to confront his past.
“Talking about a major trauma from my childhood was a huge turning point,” he says. “That’s when I realised what this album was about. It’s called Surrender because that’s all the traumatised me could ever do - let go and trust. It’s empowering, stopping trying to control everything around you.”
Surrender’s first single is the sensual, slow-building Invisible, on which brutal lyrics blend with beautiful electronic sounds and over 100 layers of haunting vocal harmonies inspired by Simon’s Middle-Eastern immigrant heritage. “Invisible is about feeling something creeping in whilst you’re looking away and quietly destroying everything you have. It’s an empowering song that builds and builds and finally lets rip. It’s me taking my pain and making it my power.”
Under his new moniker SK Shlomo, Simon found himself taking a ‘dark pop’ direction after listening to lots of Caribou, Jamie xx, SOHN, FKA Twigs, James Blake and Massive Attack. There’s Superhuman, a gorgeous, disorientating ode to addiction that describes the musician’s darkest moments and the clubby Stardust, a sparkling collision of chaos and calm that celebrates new beginnings. The crowdfunded album Surrender, self-written and produced, blends beatboxing, synths and samples with lush floods of of layered vocal harmonies, and is slated for release early 2019.
“None of my achievements in music arrived the traditional way,” he says. “Appearing on Jools Holland at the start of my career was about it. I always strived to do everything differently, to create my own path. But I’ve realised that the biggest challenge for me is to stand up on stage and simply be myself. No clever machines, no fancy techniques, no persona. This is the real me, naked so to speak. It’s the scariest, most exciting thing I’ve ever tried.”
Pre-order Surrender, SK Shlomo’s debut studio album: http://skshlomo.com/pledge
Have a look at all SK Shlomo's tour dates HERE for both shows.
Your children will love him , so take them to see him at a venue near you!
Editor of Raring2go Bromsgrove and Redditch magazine. Always Raring2go, knows what to do and where to go! Also a mom, sociable lady and gin enthusiast!
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