This year’s Her World Good Men campaign shines the spotlight on 12 men—each of them influential leaders in their respective fields with the social media followings to prove it.
Best known for being a beatboxer, Dharni Ng (@dharni) has won and judged numerous international beatboxing competitions. The 34-year-old is currently exploring various other creative pursuits and is also the creative director of his NFT start-up Tezarekt. Here are some things to know about him.
He credits beatboxing for keeping him out of trouble
“My teenage years revolved around beatboxing and it was great. It was a good investment of my time and effort and I regret not pursuing music theory—I’d taken piano lessons as child but quit because the classical environment was too mundane and rigid for me.”
His first few years in the craft were very lonely
“Whenever I practised, people would say things like, ‘What are you doing? It’s so annoying.’ But they’d also be amazed if I learnt a new sound, and that was what made me realise this could go somewhere. When I first started, there was no local community, and I got my references from the audio clips people shared on online forums.”
He doesn’t think that he is gifted in beatboxing
“I don’t actually have talent in beatboxing. What I do have is talent in innovating, so when it comes to beatboxing, I love to create sounds that nobody has thought of doing yet. It’s even better when nobody can replicate them.”
He lived in Poland for 10 years and only moved back recently
“There were very few opportunities for beatboxing in Singapore back in the day. We are so far away from the Mecca of beatboxing, which is Europe, so I travelled around the continent and ended up in Poland because a friend wanted to get me into a Polish music festival. After I got my residency card, I started performing at clubs to get by.”
But that was also where he had the “lowest point” of his career
“I couldn’t afford rent and had to borrow money to get by, and I could only pay my friends back after I got paid for performances. I think anyone who’s an artist has experienced something like this before, but it won’t be a permanent circumstance as long as you have a vision.”
A large part of his work now involves cryptocurrency
“Tezarekt is a NFT marketplace that utilises the gamified gachapon system. I initially moved back because of the Covid-19 pandemic and to get married, but when I realised Singapore is a crypto-friendly country, I was like, ‘OK that’s it – there’s even more reason to stay.’”
Because he has “found new ways to develop” himself
“I don’t innovate new sounds as much anymore and I’ve been putting my creative energy into my other projects. I’m happy to influence and inspire the beatboxing community without having to always be in the competitive zone. I’m still an artist but I’m on a different part of the spectrum.
His show on MTV’s Youtube channel launched last month
“The show is very weird and random. There are different segments: I give tutorials, do skits, interview guests and conduct challenges. It has MTV’s longest TV show title ever. It’s called This MTV Show Is So Trippin’ Random But It’s Really Awesome TO THE MOON! With Dharni.”
He recently picked up spinning
“I used do functional training, and when I stopped I got skinny fat. My wife was like, ‘Hey, let’s go spinning.’ I thought it’d be a walk in the park but I almost died when I first tried it. I saw stars and was out of breath.”
To him, people only fail when they give up
“A lot of people don’t have resilience. For example, many artistes buy views when they don’t make it because they don’t want to find a real solution. One should just keep looking for a solution non-stop – they will eventually find something that will kick off. People who give up will never experience things coming to fruition.”
Photography: Veronica Tay
Art direction: Ray Ticsay
Styling: Lauren Alexa
Hair and grooming: Angel Gwee, using Nudestix & Davines; Zoel Tee, using Estee Lauder & Kevin. Murphy
A version of this story first appeared in the November 2021 issue of Her World.