World beatboxing phenom Dharni on breaking rules, NFTs and his next big crypto move

World beatboxing phenom Dharni on breaking rules, NFTs and his next big crypto move

Dharni Ng won the Grand Beatbox Battle Championship twice in a row in 2013 and 2014.

This article first appeared in Harper’s Bazaar Singapore, the leading fashion glossy on the best of style, beauty, design, travel and the arts. Go to harpersbazaar.com.sg and follow @harpersbazaarsg on Instagram; harpersbazaarsingapore on Facebook. The July 2021 issue is out on newsstands now.


SINGAPORE – Dharni Ng knew he wanted to be different from a young age.

“I’ve always had an interest in music, but I’ve also always been a non-conformist,” he says. “I took up the piano when I was four, but I quit because the teacher was too stringent, boring and classical.”

At 13, he discovered beatboxing on music-sharing platforms, found a community of fellow enthusiasts on online forums and was hooked.

“I was listening to these MP3s and I was just so inspired. I started beatboxing, rapping, just playing and producing music – everything developed from there,” says the 34-year-old, who won the Grand Beatbox Battle Championship twice in a row in 2013 and 2014.

Beatboxing has taken him halfway across the world and back.

“I left because I felt very trapped and sheltered here,” says Ng, who started busking when he was 17. “Art is about expressing yourself and I couldn’t really do that in Singapore then because I didn’t really have experience in many things. It was comfortable, which was a good thing, but for an artiste, it can be quite suffocating. I wanted to step away from people who were thinking alike.”

After travelling through the big cities and cultural capitals of the world, he found himself in Poland, competing in a televised talent competition in 2011. He stayed in Poland for a decade and returned to Singapore in January this year.

He has since won several international beatboxing competitions, released music independently and garnered an impressive following on YouTube. Many of his clips surpass three million views each.

“I really want to work on my EP now,” says Ng, who has opened for music acts including Lady Gaga and Kanye West. “But things come up all the time. Brands want me to do the music and video for their campaigns. I do it because it’s part of work. I’m not complaining, but it takes my creative energy to a different place. Real success is when I become financially free and can focus purely on my own expression of art.”

He adds: “Right now, money is a barrier and I’m trying to work backwards. I want to be the music-maker for the brands – do crazy things for them, just from the mouth. Even if they’re asking for just a jingle, I make that jingle a hit.”

This relentless drive is at the heart of all of his work – it is why he is always pushing himself.

His strength, says Ng, is creativity.

“I won those competitions because of my creativity, not because of my skills, which are okay but not my greatest strength. My strength is being able to think differently. I always want to be on a different level, doing things my own way so I’m away from all the people trying to copy me. If you keep going on the same path, you get a lot of competitors and they all want to eat you up. But if you do something different all the time, they can’t keep up with you.”

Right now, Ng has found a new outlet for his creativity and it has nothing to do with music. “People think, ‘Oh, you only beatbox’, or ‘you only do music’, but they don’t know all my interests,” he says. “I’m really obsessive. When I get into one thing, I take it all the way. And then, I move on to the next thing.”

His current passion is the cryptocurrency boom.

World beatboxing phenom Dharni on breaking rules, NFTs and his next big crypto move

PHOTO: HARPER’S BAZAAR SINGAPORE

“I’m learning how to trade better, how to chart, how to do technical analysis,” he says. “Part of it is because I want to be a millionaire in six months, but I’m also interested because it allows me to understand the psychology of human behaviour, how people think.

“I’m new to this, but I’m diligently doing my research. I’ve been burnt. I’ve gained and then been burnt again, but I think that’s part and parcel of learning. You make a lot of mistakes, but you get better at it.”

True to his personality of going full throttle on whatever path he has set his sights on, Dharni is launching an NFT (non-fungible token) platform.

Called Tezarekt, it specialises in NFTs that fuse audio and visual components, sold as individual works that will form part of a larger, interconnected whole – like the layers that make up a finished song.

The project is also inspired by gachapons, the capsule toy-vending machines in Japanese arcades, and therefore has a gaming element of randomness to it as well.

He admires people who are similarly boundary-breaking and genre-blurring.

“You have so many genres right now. Why not pick the best essence of each and put them into a message that is your own?” he asks.

“That can apply to anything in life. You don’t have to be tied down to one genre, one style, one medium. I think Billie Eilish does that really well.”

Another rule-bender he admires?

World beatboxing phenom Dharni on breaking rules, NFTs and his next big crypto move

“Right now, I’m really inspired by fashion, especially with what Virgil Abloh is doing,” he says, referring to the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear.

“He came from a street background and took all that knowledge into luxury and revolutionised it. It’s a bit like me moving out of Singapore, experiencing so much stuff, then coming back with all this knowledge and, hopefully, changing something.”

Mindsets and attitudes are at the top of the list of what he wants to change.

He says: “When it comes to art, we shouldn’t play it too safe. We should be more open to very new ideas and not just blindly follow what the West has already done. Take inspiration, but don’t copy.

“There’s a fine line between doing things just to be cool and actually being open to things because it’s a part of you that you want to explore. That openness – that’s the thing you need when you’re doing art.”

News Related
  • How to Stand up for Yourself

    Standing up for yourself can be really challenging if you’re used to letting others have their way or you’re a people pleaser. When you trim yourself down to suit everyone else, it can all be too easy to whittle yourself away; learning to stand up for yourself is a way ...

    See Details: How to Stand up for Yourself

  • How to Set up Your Tattoo Machine

  • How to Repair Perm Damaged Hair

    Perms can be tough on hair, so give your locks some love! Since the perming process can dry out your hair, focus on restoring moisture and protecting your hair from damage. Even making a few changes like adding a weekly deep-moisturizer and air drying your hair can improve the health ...

    See Details: How to Repair Perm Damaged Hair

  • How to Repair Hair Extensions

    If your hair extensions are looking dry, frizzy, or lifeless don’t toss them out just yet! There are few easy things you can try to restore human hair and synthetic extensions to their former glory without spending a ton of money. First, we’ll walk you through a few quick fixes ...

    See Details: How to Repair Hair Extensions

  • Running 101: How to Pick and Put Spikes on Track Shoes (Track Spikes)

    Track shoes that you can put spikes on (also known as track spikes) are designed to help you run faster by providing extra grip and traction. If you want to start practicing with spikes but have never put them on your track shoes before, or you’re replacing your spikes for ...

    See Details: Running 101: How to Pick and Put Spikes on Track Shoes (Track Spikes)

  • How to Protect Yourself from Assault at a Party

    If you’re headed to a party, you’re probably looking forward to a little excitement and a chance to let loose with friends. Unfortunately, some people look at a party as an opportunity to assault someone—and you don’t want that victim to be you. But don’t worry! There are plenty of ...

    See Details: How to Protect Yourself from Assault at a Party

  • How to Practice Self Care

    Self-care activities can help you cope with stress and improve overall well-being. Practicing self-care is especially important if you have many responsibilities, like going to school, working at a stressful job, or taking care of a loved one. A good deal of practicing self care is learning how to understand ...

    See Details: How to Practice Self Care

  • How to Make a Tattoo Gun

    Tattoos are personal and creative forms of self-expression. What’s more personal or creative than making your own tattoo gun? Note, however, that tattooing on human skin with a homemade tattoo gun and no formal training can be very dangerous; it’s best to use this tattoo gun to practice tattooing on ...

    See Details: How to Make a Tattoo Gun

  • How to Make a Cheap Emergency Bag (Girls)

    Tattoos are personal and creative forms of self-expression. What’s more personal or creative than making your own tattoo gun? Note, however, that tattooing on human skin with a homemade tattoo gun and no formal training can be very dangerous; it’s best to use this tattoo gun to practice tattooing on ...

    See Details: How to Make a Cheap Emergency Bag (Girls)

  • How to Make Eyeliner Look Soft

    Tattoos are personal and creative forms of self-expression. What’s more personal or creative than making your own tattoo gun? Note, however, that tattooing on human skin with a homemade tattoo gun and no formal training can be very dangerous; it’s best to use this tattoo gun to practice tattooing on ...

    See Details: How to Make Eyeliner Look Soft

  • How to Make Face Moisturizer

    Tattoos are personal and creative forms of self-expression. What’s more personal or creative than making your own tattoo gun? Note, however, that tattooing on human skin with a homemade tattoo gun and no formal training can be very dangerous; it’s best to use this tattoo gun to practice tattooing on ...

    See Details: How to Make Face Moisturizer

  • How to Maintain Privacy and Dignity when Providing Personal Care

    Tattoos are personal and creative forms of self-expression. What’s more personal or creative than making your own tattoo gun? Note, however, that tattooing on human skin with a homemade tattoo gun and no formal training can be very dangerous; it’s best to use this tattoo gun to practice tattooing on ...

    See Details: How to Maintain Privacy and Dignity when Providing Personal Care

  • How to Look Younger

    Tattoos are personal and creative forms of self-expression. What’s more personal or creative than making your own tattoo gun? Note, however, that tattooing on human skin with a homemade tattoo gun and no formal training can be very dangerous; it’s best to use this tattoo gun to practice tattooing on ...

    See Details: How to Look Younger

  • How to Look Stylish Every Day

    Tattoos are personal and creative forms of self-expression. What’s more personal or creative than making your own tattoo gun? Note, however, that tattooing on human skin with a homemade tattoo gun and no formal training can be very dangerous; it’s best to use this tattoo gun to practice tattooing on ...

    See Details: How to Look Stylish Every Day

OTHER NEWS

How to Look Skinny in a Bodycon Dress

Few garments are as flexible and versatile as the form-fitting bodycon dress. Some people claim that these dresses only work well with certain body types, but this couldn’t be further ... Read more »

How to Look Like a Pornstar

Porn stars are known for their seductive looks, so you might decide to copy their style to show off your sex appeal. The key to looking like a porn star ... Read more »

How to Look Entirely Emotionless

It can be a big advantage to be able to appear completely emotionless. Controlling your emotions can help you gain control of negotiations, avoid confrontations and even seem cool. While ... Read more »

How to Look After Your Pubic Hair

Personal hygiene is extremely important to ensure a healthy and clean body. By looking after your pubic hair, you can avoid and prevent discomfort, bacteria, and germs in and around ... Read more »

How to Look After Your Mind and Body

Learning how to look after both our minds and our bodies can help keep us healthy and happy for much longer. But looking after yourself isn’t always easy, especially with ... Read more »

How to Knock Someone Out

Nowadays, knowing a little self-defense is a good idea. Most of the easiest self-defense moves focus on throwing your attacker off and providing yourself chance to escape, but there are ... Read more »

How to Keep Clean

Cleanliness is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Washing helps to remove germs that cause illness. Maintaining your personal hygiene will also help your social interactions with others. In ... Read more »

How to Improve Your Personality

Your personality includes your individual differences from other people in how you think, feel, and behave. You might want to improve your personality if you just moved to a new ... Read more »

How to Improve Attention to Detail

It’s really easy to get involved in too many projects at one time and suddenly having all the details of those projects start falling through the cracks. This can happen ... Read more »

How to Hide from a Murderer

While it’s unlikely that you will ever need to hide from a murderer, it’s helpful to know what to do just in case. Whether you are at home or out ... Read more »

How to Have an Attractive Personality

Being attractive comes more from your personality than from your appearance, and demonstrating an attractive personality is key to making friends and having lasting relationships. To have an attractive personality, ... Read more »

How to Have a Relaxing Spa Day at Home

Having a spa day at home can be just as relaxing and beautifying as a day spent somewhere expensive. Pick a day when you won’t have any interruptions, turn off ... Read more »

How to Give a Romantic Massage

Romantic massages are more intimate and sensual than the average massage, and they can set the scene for a relaxing and couple-focused evening. Ambiance is important when setting up for ... Read more »

How to Give Yourself a Tattoo

If you’ve never gotten a tattoo before, you should get it from a professional. But if you’re looking to get into the art and practice on yourself, you can learn ... Read more »

How to Give Yourself a Scalp Massage

Scalp massages release tension in your forehead, neck, and head, and they can be extremely relaxing. Luckily, you don’t need someone else to massage your scalp for you. You can ... Read more »

How to Get Ready to Go Out in Less Than Two Hours (Women)

For most girls their lives are planned out by the hour. They have it written down in a diary or keyed into their mobile phones. They know the time and ... Read more »

How to Get Dimples Naturally

Dimples are small folds or indentations in the fleshy part of the cheek. They are the result of a minor muscle deformity which causes the skin of the cheek to ... Read more »

How to Get Beautiful While You Sleep

A good night’s sleep is essential if you want to look and feel your best. In addition to making sure you get enough sleep, there are lots of other things ... Read more »

How to Fight (Girls)

Boys aren’t the only ones who get in fights: girls fight too! If you know you’re going to have to fight another girl and you’re scared, let wikiHow help. It’s ... Read more »

How to Feel Amazing

Want to feel amazing physically, mentally and emotionally? Start with Step 1 below for some great ideas on how you can achieve all three! Steps Method 1 of 3: Feeling ... Read more »

Video: What should I wear to a gala?

If you’ve been invited to a gala for a fun night of music, cocktails, and other festivities, you might be wondering what to wear so you don’t look under or ... Read more »

Video: What is a capsule wardrobe and how do I create one?

By now you’ve probably heard about capsule wardrobes and how they can be a total game-changer when it comes to your personal style, but what exactly is a capsule wardrobe, ... Read more »

Video: What are the basics to putting together an outfit?

Do you have a closet full of clothes you don’t wear because you struggle to turn them into cute, cohesive outfits? You’re definitely not alone! Putting together good outfits consistently ... Read more »

Video: What are styling tips for mid- to plus-sized women?

If you’re mid to plus size, putting together stylish outfits is all about finding clothes that hug your curves, flatter your body, and give you a gorgeous silhouette. If you’re ... Read more »

Video: How can I keep up with the fashion trends?

It feels like fashion trends are constantly changing at breakneck speed. One minute chunky sneakers, distressed denim, and neon tops are super on-trend, and the next they’re totally out of ... Read more »

Video: What are affordable ways to keep up with the trends?

Fashion trends are always changing, which means we’re expected to constantly update our wardrobes (a.k.a spend money) if we want to be up-to-date with the latest fashion. But is it ... Read more »

Video: How can I incorporate sustainable fashion into my wardrobe?

It’s no secret that a lot of fashion isn’t good for the environment. Fortunately, nowadays there are a variety of ways you can build a wardrobe in a more sustainable, ... Read more »

Video: How should I dress if I don't know how formal an event is?

A clear cut dress code for an event makes everything so much easier, but sometimes we’re forced to guess how formal or informal an event is going to be. Should ... Read more »

How to Enhance Your Beauty and Looks

You have a natural beauty that is all your own, but sometimes you might want to enhance your looks with makeup or natural strategies. Luckily, there are lots of quick ... Read more »

How to Dry a Pixie Haircut

A pixie haircut is a fun, cute way to express your personality and alternative style. If you’ve never had short hair before, drying it into the shape and texture that ... Read more »

How to Dry a Sweater

Sweaters are essential, practical and fashionable. Cool weather is always just around the corner, and a warm sweater offers both comfort and style. But delicate fabrics like wool and cashmere ... Read more »

How to Dress up Like a Girl

Whether you get dolled up in a dress, heels and full makeup or go casual with jeans, cute flats and a comfy fitted t-shirt, the key to dressing up like ... Read more »

How to Dress for Hot Rainy Weather

Hot, humid, and rainy weather can be a recipe for sweaty, uncomfortable outfits. Thankfully, lighter, breezier outfits can help keep you comfortable, while careful layering can keep you comfortable during ... Read more »

How to Dress Like a Girl (Transgender)

You’re ready to show the world that you’re a gorgeous girl, so you likely want to put your best fashion-foot forward. When you’re first starting to express your gender as ... Read more »

How to Do an Indian Head Massage

The Indian head massage, also known by the portmanteau “champissage” (chämpi—the Indian word for massage in many dialects + massage), is based on the ancient Ayurvedic form of healing that ... Read more »

How to Do a Sleeper Choke Hold

The sleeper choke hold, also known as the sleeper, sleeper hold, or rear-naked choke, is a submission move that is commonly used in martial arts as a submission technique. It ... Read more »

How Do You Use Setting Powder? Before or After Foundation?

When you think of setting powder, you probably imagine putting it on after all your makeup is done. While this is traditionally how it’s been used, a new hack calls ... Read more »

Do Perms Damage Your Hair? Risks, Preparation, and Aftercare

If you’re tired of your hair and looking for a change, a perm might be just the service for you. With modern day perms, you can get anything from loose, ... Read more »

How to Do Hair Spa Treatments at Home

A home spa treatment is a great way to relax at home after a busy, stressful day. Most people will only focus on their skin or nails, but hair needs ... Read more »

How to Do E Girl Eyeliner

Everything about E Girls (E-Girls⁠)—their edgy clothes, neon streaks, delicate blush⁠—is undeniably cool. Everyone knows what one of the most iconic parts of the E-Girl aesthetic is, though… the winged ... Read more »