Adam Bell, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often mistakenly referred to as “the Mormon Church”), is a talented 18-year-old beatboxer from San Clemente, California. Coming from a family of classically trained musicians, much of Adam’s childhood involved recitals and concerts. While performing with California’s All-American Boys Choir, he was introduced to Adam Heimbigner and Matt Newman, two Brigham Young University (BYU) students/beatboxing experts.
For the novice who may not know what beatboxing is, perhaps a definition is in order. Dictionary.com defines beatboxing (also beat boxing or b-boxing) as “a musical style or technique, especially in hip-hop, in which the sounds and rhythms of percussion instruments or a drum machine are simulated by using the mouth and voice.”
After meeting Heimbigner and Newman, Adam was hooked. He started perfecting his own beatboxing skills by sitting in on sessions with Heimbigner and Newman and by studying YouTube videos of elite beatbox performers.
His immense talents have also helped him gain new friendships. In an email to the Church News, he wrote, “I especially enjoy the community beatboxing creates in the way of finding friends and making music together. I participated in a great BYU summer camp called Remix Vocal Academy, which teaches contemporary a capella, and while I learned a lot of musical skills there, I also made a supportive group of amazing friends.” Adam also explained:
Beatboxing’s been super helpful to me personally because I have high-functioning autism and I’m in constant need of trying to know what to say and finding a way to fit in. Since beatboxing is the ultimate portable sound kit, I can practice my routines wherever I need — and whenever I’m put on the spot to exhibit my talents, I’m never without my instrument.
In 2018, during BYU Vocal Point’s tour of Southern California, Matt Newman, a member of the a cappella group and Adam’s mentor, called Adam up to the stage to perform a duet. Unbeknown to Adam, a CW network producer was in the audience and was awe-struck by Adam’s talents. A short time later, as The Big Stage talent show was being developed, Adam received an invitation to join the lineup.
On Friday evening, 14 June 2019, with his only prop being a wireless microphone, Adam Bell appeared on The Big Stage – a non-competitive talent show on the CW television network. He admits that the experience “completely caught me off-guard.”
Adam Bell is a priest in the Marblehead Ward, San Clemente California Stake, and plans to attend BYU for a year before serving a mission for the Church. He sees the Lord’s hand in his musical development. He commented, “I see beatboxing not as some parlor trick, but as a unique tool to bless and uplift those around me; to help take them away from whatever negative emotions or experiences they may be experiencing to be entertained for a couple of minutes.” He further remarked, “While serving a full-time mission, I’d anticipate doing more in the way of singing sacred music, and I would also hope to showcase the skills I’ve gained because of the Lord’s hand and then be able to testify that those skills come from Him.”
- Lead photo credit: Barbara Bell