Scott Jackson lives in a world built by sounds. A door hinge’s squeaky creek, a snare drum’s darting snap, a helicopter’s chopping blades; these are the intricacies he’s made his craft. Internationally renowned as a master of sound and ceremony, Scott Jackson is a beatboxer birthed by hip hop but who stretches the art form’s appeal at every turn. His craft is his work, his work is his hobby, his hobby is his lifestyle: when sounds collide, his world is manifested. Arguably Canada’s best, he’s represented his country at international competitions like Scribble Jam and the World Beatbox Championships, demonstrated enviable work ethic as a busker in downtown Toronto, competed in beatbox battles and even taken his act to schools across Ontario. While his skills leave virgin ears buzzing and jaws dropped, the evolution of Scott Jackson isn’t stunted by critical acclaim or notoriety. As humble as his verbal instrumentations are astounding, the Toronto native won’t stop. He can’t stop.
Ironically, it was actually an illness that provoked this path. While in high school, Scott was bed ridden for months with a virus similar to mono. Unable to function in everyday life, he spent a lot of time left to his own devices. Having heard small snippets of beatboxing from the likes of Doug E. Fresh and Biz Markie, Scott had dabbled with small sounds in the past. But now he had all the time in the world. It started as an activity to pass the time, but quickly became addictive as his skills developed. Upon returning to school, he wowed classmates.
He continued to beatbox recreationally, acquiring his sounds, developing patterns and mastering breathing techniques until 2008 when he was crowned Scribble Jam Beatbox Champion. It came as a surprise to Scott, who until a few months prior wasn’t aware Scribble Jam included beatboxing.
The next step was the world’s in Germany. Scott spent the next year as a busker in downtown Toronto, honing his showmanship and making a living, while also raising money for the trip to Germany. He’d perform anywhere: corporate events, street corners, churches, open mics. At that time, he’d spent thousands of hours learning the art and was now working to expanding its appeal. And since he was performing in such a diverse metropolis, he had plenty of opportunities to grow.
“Sitting there and performing to everyone pushed my ideas of music and my range,” says Scott. “I’d have to know rock songs to get the attention of old white guys, for instance. A group of Jamaican guys would walk by and if I dropped a little reggae jam, they’d pay attention. Or if you had people on their way to a club, I’d drop something up-beat, kind of top 40ish.”
Scott credits his mother’s vocal expertise when talking about his singing ability, which is often intermingled with the beatboxing. Growing up with his mother in the church choir, she’d often critique his beatboxing/singing performances and advise him on the correct pitches or tones. Not surprisingly, his singing ability is now one of the elements that set him apart.
In Germany, Scott had his first poor showing. Rushed by the event’s scheduling, he deviated from his game plan and didn’t advance. He was disappointed with his performance.
“Jamming around with the other beatboxers was rewarding though,” says Scott. “I held my own in different freestyle ciphers and heard some styles I’d never seen before. It was definitely a big jump into the beatboxing community. I knew I could’ve done way better but…”
Returning to Canada, Scott caught wind of a battle league named King of the Dot, who soon asked him to perform at several events. Before long, he’d help develop a beatbox battle circuit within the league and in 2010 win his first battle in Montreal. Excited by the prospect of an organized league, he’s gone on to win every battle since.
In 2008, Scott decided beatboxing needed to become a consistent part of his career. He joined forces with Quincy Mack, Canada’s only professional basketball trickster. Scott created a character named “Jack In The Box” for shows at school across the Toronto District School Board. In his time with the students he speaks about bullying, following your dreams and equality. Having visited over 300 schools across Canada, he also teaches them they can make a career out of their passion, as he has.
Scott Jackson ’s jaw dropping talent continues to find new outlets. To date, he’s appeared on 88.1, 93.5, 99.9, 102.1, 104.5, 105.5, CFRB 1010 along with CityTV, Toronto’s Got Talent MTV Canada, Global, AUX and London Tonight with Jeff Leeson. And in 2010, he led the crowd at Toronto’s Manifesto to achieve the unofficial world record for the largest beatbox ensemble (he’d already achieved the official record at Ryerson University). This leadership speaks to his affliction for teaching. Aside from being a performer himself, he’s also led numerous workshops where he instructs enthusiasts about the art form.
A true master of ceremonies, Scott Jackson ’s verbal wizardry is as captivating as it is unusual. And with big eyes and a bigger heart, he’s going where few thought he’d take it.
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Watch the elimination round of Scott Jackson from Canada on the main stage of the 4th Beatbox Battle World Championship in Germany. The event took place at the Astra Kulturhaus Berlin in 2015 #BBBWC