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a person standing in front of a window: 29-year-old Spencer X has quickly become one of TikTok's highest earners worldwide. Spencer X/CC BY 3.0 /Wikimedia Commons © Spencer X/CC BY 3.0 /Wikimedia Commons 29-year-old Spencer X has quickly become one of TikTok's highest earners worldwide. Spencer X/CC BY 3.0 /Wikimedia Commons
  • Spencer "X" Knight is a popular beatboxer on TikTok, where he has 54.4 million followers.
  • He started sharing his beatboxing skills online eight years ago on his YouTube channel.
  • According to The Rich List, Knight has earned $1.5 million dollars through TikTok and brand deals.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

29-year-old Spencer Polanco Knight is better known as Spencer X - or, as he describes himself on his YouTube and TikTok bios, the "mouth music man."

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With 54.4 million followers and over 1 billion likes on TikTok, he has amassed a huge fanbase with his combination of beatbox videos, tutorials, and skits. According to Dexerto, he's the 8th-most-followed person on TikTok.

But getting to where he is today was a long journey.

Knight's family was not always supportive of his ambition to become a beatboxing influencer

In a 2020 interview with Forbes, Knight said he first became fascinated with beatboxing during his sophomore year of high school. He says that he taught himself how to beatbox by poring over various beatbox tutorial videos on YouTube.

He started his own YouTube channel in 2012. It now has 2.68 million subscribers.

Alongside his "One Minute Beatbox Tutorial" series, Knight regularly posts beatboxing covers, collaborations, tutorials, and original songs.

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Knight is of both Chinese and Ecuadorian descent. He told Forbes that his parents weren't supportive of his career at first, preferring that he go to college.

He tried college twice, studying science at Purchase College and then math at City University New York. After a year and a half, he dropped out to pursue his dream of becoming "the largest man-made business within the entertainment industry."

A post shared by Spencer X (@iamspencerx)

Knight beatboxed with bands that included a Russian rock band, an acapella group, and a bluegrass band, he told Forbes. He also busked in Union Square. In 2012, he got involved in the beatbox competition circuit, making the Top 16 in the American Beatbox Championships and coming in second place in The Midwest Beatbox Battle. Knight was also featured in the 2012 Vans Warped Tour and has performed at the 116th Street Festival and Bumbershoot Festival, according to information listed by his talent agency.

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Knight has been an internet personality since long before his TikTok fame

Knight first went viral in October 2014 when his now-deleted YouTube video "One Beatboxer, 14 Genres," began circulating online. It gained so much attention, he was recognized in a segment on USA Today the following month.

Over subsequent years, Knight slowly built a profile through his beatboxing skills and YouTube channel, which led to him being ranked seventh in The Source's list of Top 1o Hip Hop artists in 2018.

Knight's online fame reached a new level when he joined TikTok in 2019. Knight told Forbes he had recently moved to LA and, after a recent break-up, was couch-surfing and almost penniless. But this changed after one night, when he was able to earn thousands of dollars by beatboxing through TikTok's "Live" feature. TikTokers with at least 1,000 followers can receive virtual "gifts" from fans during livestreams, which they can then convert into cash.

Recalling the event, Knight told Forbes, "I looked at myself in the mirror and I cried. I had trained all my life for just a little bit of support and now there were thousands of people who actually cared about what I'm doing."

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Knight has found huge success in his two years on TikTok

As Knight amassed millions of followers, he performed in TikTok's "Music Lives" 48-hour livestream in April 2020. He was among the first 19 TikTokers to receive funding from its $1 billion Creator Fund in August that year.

Knight has since secured partnerships with brands including Nickelodeon, Monster Energy, HBO, Sketchers, Chips Ahoy, Oreos, and Sony. According to his talent agency, Knight has also collaborated with musicians like Alicia Keys, Sean Kingston, and Marshmello.

In 2020, he was included in Forbes' inaugural list of top-earning stars. In March 2021, with earnings of $1.5 million, The Richest ranked him as the fifth richest TikToker in the world. As his profile continues to grow, Knight has turned his attention to original music, releasing various tracks on Spotify.

"I'm in it to take over the entire world," Knight told Forbes.

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