WEDU Arts Plus

S9 E23 | CLIP

923: Beatboxing Couple

Land O'Lakes couple Tony and Tiffany Ashfield met and fell in love through their shared passion for beatboxing, and continue to hone their talents as their family grows.

AIRED: December 03, 2020 | 0:07:10

Hello, I'm Dalia Colon.

And this is WEDU Arts Plus.

Tony and Tiffany Ashfield were just teenagers

when they were brought together across the Atlantic ocean

by their shared love of beatboxing.

In this first segment

the Land O'lakes couple demonstrates their talent

and explains how the art form

can help boost anyone's confidence.

(dramatic beatboxing)

- Hi, my name's Tiffany AKA Lucky monkey.

I am a beatboxer.

Been beatboxing since 2006.

- My name is Anthony, AKA Fat Tony.

I've also been beatboxing since 2006

and that's actually how we both met.

You had sugar in your coffee this morning.

(people laughing)

So way, way back in the day

there was a website called,

which still exists mostly as articles and videos.

Way back in the day it was literally just a forum,

just a message board for beatboxers to meet.

And there was a Ventrilo server

which was like an audio chat program.

I was hanging out in there one day and she heard me speak

and immediately fell in love with my accent.

(lively beatboxing)

This is Lucky Monkey

And Fat Fat Fat Fat Fat Fat Tony

(jaunty beatboxing)

There was a beatboxer called Shlomo

who did a set on a TV show in the UK.

I think it was called Tonight with Jools Holland.

And he was this tall, very very skinny, nerdy white guy.

And he just blew my mind.

And I seriously saw that

and I was like, Oh, if he can do it I can do it.

- I actually came across a video on

I think it was Myspace back in the day,

there was just a guy on there

that was doing beatboxing and it intrigued me.

I was like, what?

How is he doing that with his mouth?

So it blew my mind

and I just started searching more about it.

And that's actually how I found

- It definitely used to be rarer,

like I think since

it kind of became a little bit more mainstream

like we had beatboxers

on America's Got Talent,

Pentatonix of course,

kind of put in acapella and music in the spotlight.

So I think people are a little less surprised by it.

But you can still

catch people off guard with certain things

like when we do the old cricket beat.

(man chirping)

I don't think I've ever done that

and not had somebody be like, what are you doing?

How did you do that?

(lively upbeat beatboxing)

I'm gonna take my horse

to the old town road

I'm gonna ride

'til I can't no more

- I still get that reaction if I do it like at work

or just randomly for people

they'll still be like, I didn't know you could do that.

And for me being female too,

I feel like that has a lot to do with it.

'Cause it's a really male dominated scene.

I've been a singer pretty much all my life.

So music has been like my go to for what I enjoy doing.

They can't tell me nothing

I'm gonna take my horse

(dramatic beatboxing)

- I literally never did anything musical when I was younger.

I didn't grow up with too many friends.

I was definitely not popular in high school.

I got picked on quite a bit cause I was a dweeb.

I have no qualms of saying it.

I'm gonna take my horse

to the old town road

I'm gonna ride till I can't no more

And for me beatboxing was

the first form of creativity I ever had.

And it was probably the first thing I did

where I genuinely felt

I was good at it.

And that was why eventually I went on

to creating lessons and teaching it

because I wanted other people,

who maybe had the same feelings I did

when they were in school

or even as an adult.

And just I didn't really feel

like they had anything to do.

We're able to do it

because there's a $0 cost to get into beatboxing.

You literally just need your mouth.

All right, so the three most basic sounds

of beatboxing are gonna be,

a bass drum or a kick drum b b b b,

a high hat t t t t t t t t

and a simple snare, or in this case, a rim shot k k k k

For a bass drum,

it's almost like trying to surprise somebody

by yelling, boo!

as loud as you can

but just removing the oo's

all you get is that explosive b b b b

a hi-hat is so simple

it doesn't even need an explanation.

You go t

it's almost like tutting at somebody

and then to do an open hi-hat

you just add a short hiss.

So ts ts ts

and for a rim shot

just make a /k/ sound

from the back of your throat.

K k k

And then you can pull it together

into a really simple beat like

(man beatboxing)

You are now a beatboxer.

I actually wrote a children's book

about a beatboxing bear a few years ago called "Toot"

which was a collaborative effort

with one of my favorite people

on the entire planet of beatboxing

named Track IX from California.

And we wrote a little cute kid's book

about Toot a bear

who beatboxes with her friends

and they beatboxed together.

And encourages the kids

and the parents who are reading it

to kind of take part

in making the silly sound effects which...

It's a lot of fun.

My kid actually loves reading it.

And that is pretty much the stamp of approval that I need.

- So when we first got pregnant with our daughter, Emily

we were trying to think

of a really creative way to announce that.

And since both of us are beatboxers,

we were like what better way

to make an announcement doing it beatboxing?

(energetic beatboxing)

(gentle beatboxing)

- Once you have two kids running around

it becomes incredibly hard

to keep any kind of performance career going

but we still do it very, very casually.

We still beatbox constantly around the house.

And the kids beatbox as well.

Cause for a lot of babies in particular

like those kinds of sounds are just much easier to learn

than the kind of delicate motor skills needed

to form like actual words

W E D U Arts Plus

And even though you can get microphones and audio equipment

and you can use computers,

to use YouTube tutorials.

You don't need that kind of stuff,

you just need you.

I think that's very special and unique in terms of hobbies.

(jolly beatboxing)

(logo chiming)

- You can find Tony's beatboxing tutorials