June 8, 2012

Artist Inspiration: Mike Tompkins

Mike Tomkins, his voice, and a pair of headphones--

These are the only items you will notice in a typical Mike Tomkins music video. No background dancers, no background singers, not even any instuments. Mike is all of the above.

I know that artists like Sam Tsui and Nick Pitera are already quite famous for posting videos and recordings of musical arrangements featuring only one singer's voice duplicated into multiple layers of harmonies. While I can hardly get enough of either of these guys, Mike Tompkins blows me away far more than either of them.

Mike is, first and foremost, a beatboxer; however, he is so much more than just this. His "beats" are not only made up of the typical drums, cymbals, and bass lines that are good for a few laughs at a party. They are also rich with piano harmonies, guitar riffs, electronic bleeps and bloops, and multiple lines of background vocals. Personally, I find his singing much less impressive than his "vocal innovation" and impersonation of musical instruments and effects, but it is without a doubt the charming performance in its entirety and unity that creates the mesmerizing effect.

Perez Hilton has described Mike as "pretty on the eyes and the ears."

True as this may be, it's still easy to get tired of watching video after video of a pop song cover sung by digital replicas of the same guy bopping around and singing to each other. That's why the video for Chris Brown's "Forever" is by far my favorite performance of Mike's. The video is still simple, but the cinematography is warm and creative as well, full of energy and intrigue. I hope you found it enjoyable.

Also worth checking out are Mike's covers of Coldplay's "Paradise" and Adele's "Rolling in the Deep." Can't quite compete with the originals, but still amazing displays of talent and creativity.

Hats--or rather, headphones--off to you, Mike Tompkins!

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