March 4th, 2016
Sparsh Shah, an extremely talented vivacious 12-year-old boy, has battled all odds to become a musical sensation in America. The inspirational achiever, who was born with close to 40 fractures, has managed to startle the world with his hard work and dedication under excruciating circumstances.
Born with 40 Fractures
Born in 2003, to an Indian couple Hiren and Jigisha Shah, who had relocated to the USA about 14 years ago, Sparsh was diagnosed with a rare disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta(OI) owing to which he had suffered from 40 fractures all over his body during his birth itself. There is no complete cure to OI and treatment can only be aimed at increasing overall bone strength to maintain mobility. His bones are so fragile and brittle that even a firm handshake would break his bones. The fractures are accompanied by acute pain along with other complications. Since he cannot bear any significant weight on his hands or legs, he has been bound to the wheelchair.
His passion for music and desire to rap with Eminem
In the face of all obstacles, Sparsh has been successful at pursuing his passions. He has written 10 songs and composed their music as well. He has been arduously learning Hindustani classical music for the past 7 years and training in American vocal music for the last 3 years. The young rising star is a fan of rap music and takes a special liking for Eminem’s work. Sparsh has added his classical touch to his clean cover of Eminem’s song, “Not Afraid”- which he considers as his power song. He says, “Eminem has inspired me so much with his powerful songs and lyrics(minus curses), and I aspire that one day, I could get to meet him and sing(or rap!) with him.”
In the last year and a half he has given over 45 performances. In April 2015, Sparsh won the talent competition, Young Voice of NYC, and was selected as the ‘Youth Ambassador’ for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He won the first prize in the singing competition, Gaan Nipun Spardha, organized by PJIM and was rewarded by the stalwart of Hindustani classical music, Sangeet Martand Pandit Jasraj, on February 27th this year. He also hopes to make it into the show ‘America’s Got Talent’ after recently giving auditions for the same.
Discovery of his singing talent
His singing talents were first discovered by his parents when they were travelling in the car. When Sparsh’s father turned on the radio, he was able to recognise and sing along with all the songs that were being aired. When his parents enquired about how he came across the songs, he said he picked it up in his school bus where the driver played the same channel on the radio. Sparsh’s official musical journey began when he started learning classical music at the age of 6 in the Pandit Jasraj Institute of Music(PJIM). Referring to Sparsh’s dedication to music, his mother, Jigisha Shah, said “Dreams are not enough, hard work is what turns them into reality! And so, he makes sure that he works hard enough to make his dreams come true.” Sparsh has always thanked his parents and grandparents for their constant support and encouragement to follow his dreams.
The energy and enthusiasm that this young boy possesses has helped him excel in several fields. He has performed at several community events and appeared on radio and television shows. He has an impeccable memory owing to which he has been able to memorize 250 digits of Pi and can speak in four different accents of the English language. He has authored numerous short stories, motivational/funny speeches (“I am Disabled”) and acted in a reading of a play-The Greatest Choice at the Crossroads theatre in New Jersey.
Currently, he is also a committed crusader for spreading awareness about fighting against paediatric cancer. Sparsh, who goes by the name of Purhythm in the music world, has been instrumental in raising half a million dollars for various philanthropic organizations with his exceptional speaking skills. He also won a speech competition in the Indian Consulate in New York City in November 2015 when he delivered a speech about Dr.Ambedkar. Sparsh is an outstanding at academics and was a member of the Watt NXT Robotics team that won at the state and regional levels in the USA. He was also a participant in the World Robotics Championship in St. Louis in 2015. He tried learning the keyboard when he was just 3 years old but had to eventually discontinue his practise as his bones kept breaking under the stress.
He has suffered from more than 125 fractures so far in his life and the doctors predict more in the future. He has undergone multiple surgeries and his parents help him write when he has fractures. Sparsh sometimes relies on voice technology to complete his homework. When asked about how he deals with pain, he says “There is not much you can do about pain….isn’t it? Crying is just a natural response but you need to smile.” While he keeps surprising the world with his progress in different spheres of life, he strives to smile through every situation that life throws at him.
“I don’t see myself as disabled. I just dis the ‘dis’ from disabled. Most people with disability always keep thinking about their disability and that makes others think about it too. I want to be the courage of such people,” says Sparsh with a smile. This boy has taken a million strides in the field of music although he cannot walk. The Logical Indian applauds this miracle boy’s determination and wishes him the best of luck for all his future endeavors.
To listen to Sparsh’s music, log on and subscribe to his YouTube channel. You can also connect with him and keep yourself updated on his progress by liking his Facebook page or following him on Twitter or Instagram.