Beatboxing his way to the spotlight

Izah Azahari

With HipHop culture back on the rise and taking the country by storm, the music genre has given breath to various sub-genres that have cultivated more talented individuals making their presence felt in the local music scene as they look to make a name for themselves through their skills.

One of these individuals is Wafi Rusli, who is a beatboxer, singer, actor and an overall performer in his own right.

The multi-talented artiste has always loved performing – whether it is on-stage or in front of a camera – and pursuing his love for the arts, especially in the areas of beatboxing and acapella music has become a true passion.

“I have always had a passion for singing,” Wafi mused.

Having started early on during his schooling years, Wafi said that he has been involved in choirs and even performed and won competitions as part of acapella groups. Back in Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), he and a group of friends competed in an acapella competition where one of the members of the group who is also a friend of his was a beatboxer.

Having started early on during his schooling years, Wafi has been involved in choirs and even performed and won competitions as part of acapella groups. PHOTOS: WAFI RUSLI
Local beatboxer Wafi Rusli draws regular inspiration from his favourite beatboxers all over the world like Reeps One, Alem, Mad Twinz, Dharni, and Gene Shinozaki among others.

“Naturally, as someone who loves music, I wanted to learn beatboxing, too, and the rest is history!” exclaimed Wafi.

After establishing himself in the local music scene and becoming well-known for that talent, Wafi explained that beatboxing is an art that keeps on growing, where beatboxers all around the world consistently come up with new sounds every day.

“That’s why I love beatboxing and that’s also why I am driven to be better every day,” added Wafi.

He said that beatboxing is basically a percussive musical instrument of its own and, as such, can be integrated in many kinds of music of different genres.

In addition to acapella, Wafi has been involved in acoustic performances in genres ranging from Brunei traditional music to jazz, while also having performed as a part of beatbox crew called Organic Sound Waves.

The local beatboxer also draws regular inspiration from his favourite beatboxers all over the world like Reeps One, Alem, Mad Twinz, Dharni, and Gene Shinozaki among others.

His passion is further fuelled by meeting with other talented local boxers in the Sultanate and creating a Brunei Beatbox Unity community with them.

This sparked a realisation in Wafi that beatboxing isn’t just about the music, but also about the sense of unity and thirst to keep on wanting to be better.

With all the shows that he has performed in, Wafi said that his experiences have taught him to always be open to further growth. He has also learnt that becoming a better artist and person does not mean having to put others down.

“The best way to grow is to grow together. That’s what we all want in the end, for the local entertainment industry to grow,” said Wafi.

In terms of his plans for the coming year, Wafi said that he is pursuing beatboxing from the angle of an event manager for the time being, where he along with his partner Sa’adah have co-founded Showtime Creative Entertainment Services.

Through this company, they not only perform at local events, weddings or corporate events, but also organised Brunei’s first-ever beatbox battle in July 2019 – the Khatulistiwa Beatbox Championship 2019, and more recently, the Khatulistiwa Beatbox Battle (KBB2019) on December 14, 2019.

They hope to create more events like this in the upcoming year.

Wafi believes that youth should never stop wanting to be better as people, and to never stop pursuing their dreams.

“Never let anything stop you, because whatever happens, if that something is really your passion, everything that happens to you is just a driving force for you to pursue that dream,” added the local artiste.