Sparsh Shah might only be 13-years-old, but he has left many awestruck by his amazing performance in singing. Inspite of bieng born with a rare disease, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which renders his bones extremely brittle, his spirit is unbreakable. Life is filled with highs and lows, valleys and peaks that will test your resilience, that will push you to overcome challenges, and the lessons you’ll learn on your way to the top will only make you stronger, better.
This is the philosophy followed by Sparsh, who lives in the US and is not only a singer and a rapper but a composer and a story writer as well. From living through 125 fractures to becoming a social media sensation with his cover of Eminem’s Not Afraid, he is conquering the world from his wheelchair.
I don’t see myself as 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.
Q- Tell us something about yourself?
I love music and it is my lifeline. I started singing from the age of three and have learnt Hindustani classical music for seven years and trained in American vocal music for three years. I suffer from a brittle bone disease due to which I am prone to frequent fractures and have to use a wheelchair. I had to undergo hip surgery due to a fracture that occurred during a trip in Spain, but soon after my surgery I was back to singing and performing.
Q- Why did you choose the song Not Afraid?
A- I feel like “Not Afraid” has been my power song ever since I heard it for the first time and ever since Eminem became my idol in the rap genre. He has inspired me so much with his powerful songs and lyrics. It’s always been my dream to inspire billions of people one day with my musical talent, and I wish that dream comes true.
Q- Have you composed any songs?
I have written 10 songs – “This Love Will Never Fade,” “There’s Always Tomorrow,” “Why’d You Have To Leave Me?”, “You Are My Heroes,” “Count on Me,” “A Little Bit of Respect,” “Turn Around,” “Birthday Wishes,” “You’re The One,” and “No One Knows” and composed most of them too.
Q- What have been your major achievements till date?
I was recently featured in an amazing cover of Michael Jackson’s song: Heal The World by Maati Baani, which went viral with over 18 million views in just the first week of the launch of the song. I won three music contests including “Young Voice of NYC” and became the Youth Ambassador for St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital. I won the most inspiring Individual” award at the International Children’s Advisory Network Research and Advocacy Summit in Barcelona, Spain. Also I was also a member of the Watt NXT Robotics team that won at the state and regional levels in the US.
I participated in the first World Robotics Championship in St. Louis, MO in 2015. Also I won the first prize in the speech competition about Dr. B R Ambedkar at the Indian Consulate in New York City in November 2015. In February 2016 I won the Swardhara singing competition organized by Marathi Vishwa, New Jersey and received the award from Pandit Jasraj. Currently we have raised over half a million dollars for various philanthropic organizations. I am at present raising awareness about pediatric cancer.
Q- Which is the most cherished dream you want to get fulfilled?
I want to join my dream college Berklee College of Music as early as January 2017 at the age of 13. We have put the first cover album: “Tribute To Eminem” is on sale. The proceeds from this sale will go to my college education fund.
Q – You are an inspiration for lakhs of people who are suffering pain? How do you think one can handle the physical and emotional challenges which one face?
“Some people believe that to be strong is to never feel the pain. In reality, the strongest people are the ones who feel it, understand it and accept it!” I had one more fracture on my collar bone in October and I spent quiet some time in pain, some time catching up with my school homework and some nice time with my family! Whenever I am in pain I talk to my bones and send them a positive message that all is well.
Q- What are the some of the learning lessons for the young generation?
Never give up. Keep your thoughts and your mind always on the goal. The way you think and feel about yourself, including your beliefs and expectations about what is possible for you, determines everything that happens to you. When you change the quality of your thinking, you change the quality of your life, sometimes instantly.
You have complete control over only one thing in the universe, your thinking! You can decide what you are going to think in any given situation. Your thoughts and feelings determine your actions and determine the results you get. It all starts with your thoughts. I don’t see myself as 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.
Q- Whom would you attribute your success to?
I owe everything to my parents who have been supportive from the time I was born. My father is my manager, friend, philosopher and guide. My mother has taught me to be patient in all kinds of situations.