FROM an audience with Prince Harry at Buckingham Palace in 2010 to the festival fields of Cumbria last month, it’s safe to say that 22-year-old Lancaster beatboxer Jack “Bee” Brennand is a rising star of underground music.
Thousands of people cheered for Jack’s vocal skills on the mainstage at Kendal Calling when he performed with X-Factor’s Gamu, and then later freestyling on his own.
Gamu’s management team were so impressed that Jack was offered a management deal on the spot, and the former Ridge Primary and Central High School pupil is due to hear more about the offer in the next couple of weeks.
Like so many of the district’s musicians, it all began at More Music in Morecambe for Jack, of West Road, who when not throwing out impossible sounds from his mouth, is a self-employed builder.
He said: “I used to get involved in a lot of projects with More Music and Marsh Community Centre, and I met someone called Ed Maxwell, who was the one that started everything gig wise.
“He’s done loads for me, I wouldn’t be where I was now if it wasn’t for him.
“I won Talent on Show at The Grand Theatre in Lancaster in 2009, and that gave me a boost, then meeting people along the way through gigs, it’s been a chain reaction.”
For Jack, it was drum and bass DJ and producer Goldie that really started kicking things off on the national stage.
“I was involved in a project at More Music and Goldie just came down unexpectedly, it was just awesome, nobody had a clue!
“He watched me beatbox and then four months down the line, I get a call saying I’ve been picked for the 12 piece band.
“I learned a lot about music in general from him.”
Goldie’s Band: By Royal Appointment aired on BBC2 last year following Goldie’s quest to find young people whose talent and passion for music is at the centre of their lives.
This sentiment was still very much apparent when I caught up with Jack at The Golden Lion in Lancaster last Friday, he was still on cloud nine following his perfomance at Kendal Calling.
We discussed the art of beatboxing, and Jack’s inspirations, who include “the man of 10,000 sound effects” Michael Winslow from Police Academy, as well as The Pete Box, Shlomo, Zede, Reeps One, Rahzel and beatboxing pioneer Doug E Fresh.
Jack also name-checks his grandad, Derek Patterson – an inspiration much closer to home.
He said: “My grandad is a drummer and I think that’s where I must have got my rhythm from.
“He taught me how to play piano at quite an early age.
“He’s got quite a lot of questions about what I do, but I think he’s chuffed to see me doing well.”
Jack explained how he came to open the main stage at Kendal Calling with former X-Factor hopeful Gamu Nhengu, who became a household name when judge Cheryl Cole failed to put her through to the live shows, favouring Cher Lloyd and Katie Waissel.
Gamu’s family won their fight to stay in the UK in 2011 after facing deportation in a high profile case.
“I got the gig through a guy called Nick Fraser, who runs the houseparty stage at Kendal Calling,” Jack said.
“He put me in touch with Gamu’s management team, Global Sounds in Glasgow.
“We came up with a song called Love Like This, and we got the gig at Kendal Calling through her team.”
Jack opened the stage early in the day with Gamu, but returned on his own later to a much bigger audience.
“The second time I went on it was like ‘wow’.
“I think I was zoned out, I just tried to forget that the crowd was there.
“It’s not easy when it’s just you and a microphone and no-one else behind you but I watched it back and I was well chuffed, and warming up for the Correspondents was amazing.
“There’s a bit of a family feel to the music scene in the north west at the moment. It’s really good, and everyone is so nice as well.
“I’m working on a track with Lancaster DJ Ginny Koppenhol at the moment, it’s basically a house track made up entirely of beatbox sounds with Ginny on production.”
Despite all this attention Jack has his feet firmly planted on the ground, and seems to be taking it all in his stride, with an easy smile and laid back outlook.
But he’s certainly excited about the future.
“Glastonbury is on the cards, definitely.
“I just want to be at the top, I’ve applied for the UK Beatbox Championships, and once you get onto that it takes things up a level and the world becomes a stage.”
In the meantime Jack continues to be in high demand, playing at festivals and gigs across the country, and between gigs, he’s perfecting his skills while working on building projects.
“The people at work get used to it after a bit,” he said, “but some people think I’m just crazy.