July 10, 2013 at 1:22 PM ET
Usually, when a guy runs his mouth and becomes the focus of an entertainment story, it's not a good thing. But that's not the case with an Australian beatboxer named Tom Thum.
Thum keeps a one-man band inside his voice box, and it was on full display during a TedxTalk in Sydney that made it to YouTube's Most Popular page this week.
"Basically I use my mouth in strange ways in exchange for cash," Thum explains at the beginning of his speech/performance. He then launches into an impressive introduction to his beatbox skills, mixing in a little scratched vinyl with rapid and sometimes deep electronic beats.
Thum even gets the audience clapping along to 30 seconds worth of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" that is so rubust, from the percussion to the melody, it sounds like a track the King of Pop himself would have used.
"I'm very, very stoked to be here today representing my kinfolk and all those who haven't managed to make a career out of an innate ability for inhuman noise making," the Brisbane, Australia, native says. "It is a bit of niche market."
Thum tells the crowd that his talent takes him away from Australia and has allowed him to see many amazing places. It's a good segue into a mouth-driven musical world tour that starts in India and moves to China and then Germany, where you'll feel like you've stepped into a pulsating nightclub playing house music.
Thum concludes by stepping behind a little technology that allows him to stretch his vocal reach through reverb and looping. It will help, as he says, "transform the Sydney Opera House into a smoky downtown jazz bar." He then combines bass, drums, trumpets and trombones in a riff worthy of a beatbox Grammy.
One guy and his mouth leaves us speechless again.