Sparsh Shah was born with 40 fractures. He has till now had about 130 fractures, due to a rare condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which makes his bones extremely brittle. Yet, the teenager has become a world-wide inspiration, and a musical phenomenon.
The New Jersey-resident gave an impressive TED Talk in December 2016 in Mumbai, talking with great clarity about how to turn the “impossible” into quite the opposite: a simple “I’m possible”.
Shah presented four simple steps to his audience to never give up and to dream big. He began: “So, what you just heard were some of the eleven longest words in the English dictionary. Such complex words, right? Well, just as these words are complex, so has my own life been, and although seemingly difficult things such as memorising long complex words and numbers are simple for me, seemingly simple things such as standing and bearing weight are impossible for me.”
The 15-minute long TED talk about holding on to your passion (video above), and helping others ended with Shah’s now-famous musical number – his cover of Eminem’s 2010 track Not Afraid. Shah had released a desi cover of the song in January 2016, which promptly went viral, with over 55 million views. Even Eminem’s label, Shady Records, tweeted about the cover (video below).
Shah has raised about half a million dollars from his musical performances, and has performed at several events, and on radio and television shows. The musical prodigy is training in both Western and Indian classical music, and goes by the stage name “Purhythm”, merging “pure” and “rhythm”. He’s said to have even pioneered a new genre of music called “raga rap”.
“None of this would ever have happened if I had not dreamt big. But my ultimate goal as a musician is still to perform in front of a billion people one day. I want to leave my footprints, or rather track prints, into the sand of legacies so deep not even a tsunami can erase it,” said Shah. Add a Grammy award to that list. His real dream, though, is to “sparsh everyone’s hearts all over the world”.