By Oliver Wilmot
In January, the announcement was made that Emilie Carrey, a Laurentian University first year English student, will be the first Canadian female to compete in the World Beatbox Championship in Berlin, Germany.
An esteemed competition, the Championships, which will be held in May, fill feature beatboxers from around the world: in order to qualify, each competitor must first qualify in his or her home country for the official World Cup in advance.
Sparx, as Carrey is known as in the beatboxing world, has been beatboxing for the last three years. In this time, she has performed at various venues including Dundas Square in Toronto, on CBC radio and on Laurentian’s campus.
Lambda sat down with Carrey to discuss beatboxing, expectations for the Championship, and more.
O: How did you come up with your beatbox name?
E: I was brainstorming a bunch of names and I wanted something that would have an empowering status to it, and you know, you think of sparks, and sparks ignite a fire. So that was literally my logic behind it: you need a fire, you need some sparks and there’s no fire without them. I wanted to bring the fire.
O: What is beatboxing to you?
E: Beatboxing is my passion. I mean I would love to make it what I do, like get paid to travel and perform, that is my ultimate goal. Beatboxing is like a universal language because I can be talking to somebody from China. No, actually I could be beatboxing with someone from China online and after twenty minutes of us beatboxing to each other, we’ll find out we don’t even speak the same language and can’t communicate aside from beatboxing. So that’s really cool. It’s literally a universal language and in a way it’s such a bonding connection. It’s a connection of people from all over the world. It’s a beatbox family. It’s so incredible and it means so much to me… beatboxing’s my life. It’s what I think of and what I strive for. It’s just I wanna bring so much out of it. I wanna leave my mark in the beatboxing community but also make beatboxing advance in what it already is. Help it progress.
O: How did you learn to beatbox?
E: I first discovered it in 2012 at the Scotiabank Buskerfest. I saw Scott Jackson performing, he was the champion of Canada, and it just amazed me so much. I loved how many people loved it and that he was making those sounds with just his mouth. I went to the 2012 Canadian Champs and I met a bunch of beatboxers and
saw how amazing the community is and how nice everybody was. After that, a lot of them connected with me and were pushing me… I was just moved by this art form, in that, I wanted to see what it was all about. I just wanted to be able to do it. At the time I didn’t think about gender distinctions, I just thought it was cool and wanted
to do it. So I practiced and I practiced every day. It was super annoying. People would always tell me to shut up.
O: What are some of your favorite beatboxing memories?
E: My LU shows have been awesome and amazing, and there are so many beatbox events. I mean, I always go to beatbox events and I don’t always perform at them. I’ll travel to Ohio to go watch a show, it’s like a concert
for me, right? Also with Unity I won the first community award. That was really awesome. We started it at the Unity festival last year and it was for the artist that stands out the most and shows unity values the most… Those are things that really touched where I am now.
O: What are your expectations for your upcoming competition?
E: I’m going to be the first female from Canada, ever, to compete in the Women’s Division. Ideally, we all want to win. The way it’s built out is they’ll have 25 competitors from all over the world. You’ll have a showcase
and then they’ll cut it down to eight battles. My goal is to make top eight. I wanna go to Berlin and I want to win. I want to do good for Canada. Berlin’s gonna really be a good experience for me. It’s gonna push me as an artist and it’s going to continue to do so. I’m really excited about it. I’m really nervous, but I’m eager.
O: Do you have any role models?
E: Yeah I do… Scott Jackson. He’s been my role model since I started. He’s a guy that he makes people dance. He’s a reggae beatboxer. He’s not just technical, he’s musical. It’s just exciting to watch him on stage and that’s for anybody, it’s not just for beatboxers. I would love to be like him. Scott has been my main mentor and idol since I started. I mean you start to find your own style after a while, but he was definitely the one I always looked up to.