Tom Povey aka Intensi-T is about to make his mark. The 25-year-old beatboxer from Norwich has created a sound that is as electronic just as much as it is human. 'Electronic Acapella'. Using just the voice and looping technology, recording beatboxing loops to build entire tracks live, Intensi-T takes live music production to the next level.
He discovered music at an early age via his dad’s CD collection (music is in his genes: his great-granddad was lead trombonist in the BBC symphony orchestra, the first band on TV). He remembers a wide variety of sounds being played in the house, from brit-pop to electronica, The Streets to Massive Attack and the Beastie Boys. The first act he truly got into was The Chemical Brothers.
While studying for a Degree in Music at Westminster University, he honed his beatboxing skills busking on the streets of London. He would earn enough to pay the rent from stints in Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square. Fellow buskers were envious at his burgeoning popularity; He would cause road blocks with the amount of people stopping to watch in awe.
When the busking laws got tougher, Intensi-T decided to change tack. He began inundating promoters for bookings. His persistence reaped dividends: not only did he get booked for Latitude Festival, but he also secured a number of slots on the London club and open-mic circuits. It was at one of these nights that Intensi-T was spotted by Megaman of So Solid fame who was blown away by his beatboxing skills, declaring, "There's nobody out there like him. No one even comes close.”.
One such gig, involved Intensi-T and another rising, fair-skinned, ginger-haired musician by the name of Ed Sheeran. Not that Sheeran was quite as big a draw back then, five people turned up to watch Tom and Ed play their sets. “Seeing Ed’s rise to fame has been inspiring” he says, having bonded over their shared love of live looping. Ed credits Intensi-T for the inspiration in his album booklet -It’s gone full circle.
Having moved full time to London and street performing, the daily grind developed Toms confidence live, so he set about honing his studio techniques. Sharing an apartment with music producer Ollie Green (Gavin James, Alan Walker) allowed Intensi-T to develop his production skills.
Songs about “life and love”, exuberant and melodic, with powerful hooks and edgy beats. They're all the more impressive considering how they were made. To best describe the sound, think Timbaland meets Mike Skinner and Bobby McFerrin.
In fact, so good is Intensi-T at what he does that he - together with female beatbox supremo Bellatrix - recently became the subject of forensic scrutiny by a university neuroscience department keen to examine his God-given gift.
“They had an MRI machine to scan our brains when we were beatboxing,” he explains. “They realised that you use the same part of the brain - the motor cortex - as you do when you’re driving. That’s how second-nature it is.”
Intensi-T is a man on a mission: to make beatboxing credible, and universally appealing.
“People used to see it as a party trick,” he says, “but I want to prove it’s a proper way to make music.”
With the respect of rap legends (Post Malone, Odd Future) and pop royalty (Sheeran, Dua Lipa, Marshmello), Intensi-T doesn’t need to do much more convincing. Meet your new vocal hero.