Hackney beat boxer Lyrikal makes it onto The Voice blind auditions

Lyrikal on The Voice

Lyrikal on The Voice - Credit: Archant

A beat boxer from Haggerston is appearing in the blind auditions of the fifth series of BBC talent show The Voice tomorrow.

Lyrikal on The Voice

Lyrikal on The Voice - Credit: Archant

Brian Bennett, aka Lyrickal will come up against singing superstar judges, Paloma Faith, will.i.am, Ricky Wilson and Boy George, doing his take of the Jamiroquai song Virtual Insanity.

The four coaches, all noteworthy recording artists, listen to the contestants in chairs facing away from the stage so as to avoid seeing them, and if a coach likes what they hear from that contestant, they press a button to rotate their chairs to show they want to work with them.

Brian applied to The Voice after deciding it was the “right talent show” for him.

“It’s the principle of it,” he explained.

“It’s how they start off by listening to you rather than looking at you and looking at your age and the clothes which is what the other competitions focus on and forget about the skill that it’s really about - it’s about your voice.”

“I was nervous obviously because you know, it’s like a big process, there are so many people applying and going to the audition, it is like on such a large scale when you see so many people queuing up and waiting for their turn it gives you a good idea of the scale of how many talented people are there.”

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The 46-year old who has lived in Kingsland Road all his life, has made a name for himself there for his talent of beat boxing and freestyle rhyming on the spot, and kids will often approach him on the street asking him to perform.

“It’s part of that hip hop culture where you do stuff on the spot, people come and test you out and you have to be ready to show people what you do, it’s a good thing as it keeps you sharp, it got me used to performing in the way I immediately look at the audience and improvise,” he told the Gazette.

Brian is currently focusing on gigging, but a few years ago he performed in an assembly at his old secondary school, Stoke Newington, and went onto run workshops for primary school children and young offenders, teaching them how to beat box and express themselves through rap - something they struggle to do normally.

“I was trying to give the kids some positive messages about bullying and violence and things they have to deal with,” he said.

“With the young offenders we were exchanging lyrics and I was inspiring them to come out of themselves and not be afraid to get into their creative side, they respected my skills, the beat box when I showed them what I could do.”

Brian is self-taught, having listened to hip hop artists like Dougie Fresh, and trying to create his own verstion.

“Its a case of trying to imitate the sounds of the band, you start with the drums and start adding the base and keyboards and you keep developing it, then you start putting rhythms together.

“It’s like anything, it’s always rough and weak when you start, my projections were inside my mouth, when I went out on the street and tried it I realized I needed to open my mouth and project the sound out so I had more power.”

The show is on BBC One tomorrow at 7.30pm.