'Howdy Modi' fame Sparsh Shah takes admission in Berklee College of Music, says obstacles can't hold him back

12:50 PM Aug 30, 2022 | PTI |

Wheelchair-bound singing prodigy Sparsh Shah, who shot to fame for singing the Indian national anthem at a ‘Howdy Modi’ event in the United States three years back, has now taken admission in Boston’s Berklee College of Music, known for producing Grammy Award winners.


”Obstacles cannot hold me back,” Sparsh (19), who was born with nearly 30 fractured bones because of osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic disorder also known as brittle bone disease, told PTI. A child born with this disorder has soft bones that would break easily.

”Due to the medical condition, my lung capacity is less than normal people. Hence, I have to work hard towards breath control,” Sparsh said. ”But, such obstacles can never hold me back. My aim is to be self-sufficient and also collaborate with other musicians. That is why I am learning various skills such as singing, songwriting and music production,” he said.

His parents had moved to the US from Surat in Gujarat before his birth.

He is now pursuing a four-year bachelor course in interdisciplinary music from the famous Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.


The singing prodigy shot to fame when he was chosen to sing India’s national anthem ”Jana Gana Mana” at the ‘Howdy Modi’ event in Texas in 2019 in front of the then US president Donald Trump and visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Sparsh, who was fond of singing since childhood, started learning Hindustani classical music when he was six. He is learning from music maestros of the Mewati Gharana, associated with the Pandit Jasraj School of Music.

Because of his medical condition, Sparsh, who lives with his parents in New Jersey, has opted for an online course and has already completed one year, his father Hiren Shah said.

Sparsh and his family are currently in Surat on a short vacation to meet their relatives and will leave for the US on Wednesday.

”We are glad that Sparsh has secured admission in the Berklee College of Music, which has produced nearly 300 Grammy Award winners so far. Due to Sparsh’s medical condition, he has opted for online classes,” his father said.

Sparsh has undergone nearly eight surgeries. He now has eight titanium rods and 22 screws inside his body, he said.

”He is in a wheelchair because he can neither stand nor walk. His bones would break if he lifts something heavy. Despite such odds, he excelled in his life and secured admission in such a prestigious college,” his proud father said.


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