Our petite, yellow bus approached our destination. Waiting all day for this moment, we happily entered historic Kaufman Astoria Studios.
The sound of our voices echoed off the metallic walls. There were leather seats, beautiful photos and a decorative statue of an exotic cow. The elevators sounded a “ding” as we excitedly passed through inspiring hallways and approached the studio. We had seen many pictures of movies and shows filmed there in the past, such as “Men in Black,” and “Sesame Street.”
When we walked into the studio, everything became real. We were meeting Mike Tompkins, one of the best singers/ beatboxers around! Mike has to make sure to have lots of energy and get everything right on each take. Once he had finished all his singing, trumpet, base and beatboxing sounds for “The Electric Company,” he strolled over to us for an interview.
He and his wife live in Miami most of the time because Mike is working with music producer Timbaland there. He has a sister and a brother, and his older brother seems to be his big inspiration. He started beatboxing at age 8 and says his career truly started to take off about six months ago. At a young age, he loved to play Legos while thinking of rhythms in his head, he said. Mike even taught us how to beatbox and suggested all you undiscovered musicians get out there.
We asked him how he felt about having so many “hits” on YouTube. He said, “It’s been awesome! I feel blessed that so many are enjoying the videos. It’s been a weird ride, but it has been good!”
As time wound down, it dawned on all of us that we would have to leave at some point. Our beatboxing lessons were over. As we let the elevator take us down to the lobby, it was the end of an unforgettable day.