Sparsh is a 13-year old child prodigy, singer/song writer/rapper born with brittle bones (130+fractures), but an unbreakable spirit. He became a worldwide internet sensation with his Purhythm versions of Eminem covers. He aspires to inspire and sing in front of a billion people one day.He was also the youngest speaker at the TEDx Gateway 2016 edition which was held in Mumbai recently.
Hiren and Jigisha Shah,Harsh’s parents, migrated to the US some 14 years ago. In 2003, when Sparsh was born, they could never have imagined their little boy would touch millions of hearts soon. His parents, however, could experience the joy of holding their baby only after six months of his birth – Sparsh had broken 35-40 bones while emerging from his mother’s womb.
Sparsh was born with an incurable disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta. This condition makes his bones extremely fragile and brittle – even a hard handshake can break his bones. He cannot bear weight on his hands and legs, so he cannot walk or run like other normal kids. He has had more than 125 fractures in the first 12 years of his life already and the doctors cannot predict how many more are to come.
Sparsh has been learning Hindustani classical music for the last seven-and-a-half years and American vocal music for the last three years. Multitalented he performs at community events and has appeared on local radio stations and television shows, besides hosting shows as an MC. He has memorized 250 digits of Pi, can say the 12 longest words in the English dictionary in less than 18 seconds, and can speak in four different accents in English. He has written several poems, short stories, motivational/funny speeches (“I am Disabled”), etc., and acted in the developmental reading of a play called The Greatest Choice at the Crossroads theatre in New Jersey. He was able to spell a 45 letter word, “Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis,” at the age of 6.
An inspiring Q & A with the prodigy whose spirit is uncrushable:
Since you were born with brittle bones, how have you coped with it?
I believe that everything that happens in life is per God’s plan. So, I treat every fracture as some learning experience in my life. Music has helped me a lot to cope up with fractures. It diverts my mind and takes me in a different world altogether. I have wonderful parents who have become my strongest support system. They are always there with me to comfort me and ensuring that I am in the least amount of pain after having fractures. They have not only become an expert in providing immediate medical help (including putting casts to stabilize my fractures) but also helping me with my homework, etc; especially whenever I have broken my right arm.
At what age did you start learning music?
I started learning piano at the age of 3, but due to multiple fractures I could not continue learning piano. I started learning Indian Classical vocals at Pandit Jasraj Institute of Music (PJIM) with my guruji Lalita Mathurji since 2009. I have been taking American vocal lessons for last three and a half years from various instructors in NJ. I am also a part of my school’s men’s choir (over 3 years) and select choir (2nd year).
How was your experience while acting in The Greatest Choice at the Crossroads?
The experience of working with the author of the play (Mrs Venus Majeski); one of the Broadway directors (Mrs Anne Redlin) and a team of talented actors was amazing. This play was so appropriate for me to be a part of as it speaks about the greatest choices that the parents of kids with special needs kids have to make in their lives. I had written a speech called: “I am Disabled” and that was also incorporated in this play.
Where do you see yourself going in the next decade?
I have some big goals for myself in the coming years. After successful launch of the cover album earlier this year, I would like to launch my original album (if any record labels are reading this, I am ready to be signed up) and win GRAMMY awards in future. I want to start pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Music as early as next year. I aspire to sing in front of a BILLION people one day and inspire all of them.
What do you aspire to be?
Music is my passion, my life and my soul. I aspire to be a world-famous musician in my life.