The student news site of Sacramento State University

Kelly Kiernan

Gavin Willson poses for a photograph on Wednesday, Sept. 19. Willson, a self-taught beatboxer, is one of the top 20 selected to compete in the televised Celebration of Music talent competition at the Crest Theater in Sacramento this Friday.

Sac State beatboxer competing in Celebration of Music talent search

September 19, 2019

Gavin Willson, a Sacramento State freshman and beatboxer, will be competing in the Celebration of Music talent search at the Crest Theater in Sacramento Friday. 

Entirely self-taught, Willson was inspired by the positive reaction he saw when a videogamer on YouTube began beatboxing. He wanted to be able to create that same reaction. 

“Once I got started beatboxing it kinda turned into this whole thing that I love doing,” Willson said.

Story continues below video.

Though he has only been beatboxing for two years, Willson has been involved in music since 4th grade, playing the flute, tenor saxophone and guitar, among other instruments.  

“With the flute, I was able to play and beatbox at the same time,” Willson said.

Music runs in the family as well, and serves as Willson’s inspiration.  

“My grandma inspires me. She has played piano all throughout her life and is so musically inclined. She is one of my biggest supporters,”  Willson said.

Willson’s mom, Laurie Willson, has been instrumental in his performing career as well. 

“I like to call her my momager because she sets up and handles the behind the scenes stuff and gets me these opportunities to be able to go out and showcase,” Willson said.

Laurie Willson said that at first, she didn’t know what to think of the different sounds she would hear coming from her son. After a while, she told him that she was annoyed and to stop making those sounds. 

Kelly Kiernan – The State Hornet
Gavin Willson beatboxes at The University Union stage on Wednesday, Sept. 18. Willson, a self-taught beatboxer, is one of the top 20 selected to compete in the televised Celebration of Music talent competition at the Crest Theater in Sacramento this Friday.

Wilson then asked his mother to listen more closely and to listen in on a beatboxing routine that Willson was working on. Laurie Willson said she was amazed.

Willson went on to perform at his high school talent show and had overwhelming support and cheers from his peers.  

“I love it for him because it’s different,” Laurie Willson said.

Celebration of Music is a national talent search that showcases talent for agencies like Sun and Sky Entertainment.

Willson’s was one of the video submissions selected. 

“I was so excited,” Willson said. “I really like being on stage and being able to perform for people. It’s just an exciting and exhilarating experience.”

According to the rules posted on Celebration of Music’s website, contestants are awarded 10 points for votes from live audience members and one point for online audience votes. The winner moves onto the PBS televised event to perform with the person the event was started for, Ethan Bortnik.

“I need as many people as I can get to go to the performance,” Willson said.

Tickets for Friday’s event are available online via Ticketfly.

RELATED: Sac State alumnus and artist Oke Junior talks journey to the top

View Comments(1)
Donate to The State Hornet
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Sacramento State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

About the Writer

The State Hornet • Copyright 2024 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in

Donate to The State Hornet
Our Goal

Comments (1)

View our comment policy here.
Comments are Closed.
All The State Hornet Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest
  • SandySep 20, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    What an exciting time for Gavin! I have had the privilege of watching him perform and it is awesome to see such talent.

    I hope Sac State continues to follow Gavin throughout the coming years. Undoubtedly, he will continue to amaze us all.

    Thank you State Hornet for your coverage of this gifted and talented young man.

    GO GAVIN!!!!!!