Sparsh Shah, a 14-year-old Indian American rapper based in New Jersey, broke the internet in 2016 when he released a video of him rapping to Eminem’s song, “Not Afraid.” But what also struck the internet users was this young boy’s indomitable spirit.
This child prodigy was born with a genetic disorder called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which makes his bones extremely fragile/brittle, due to which even a hard hand shake can break his bones. He cannot bear his weight on his legs and hence cannot walk or run like other normal kids. He’s had more than 130 fractures so far, and yet his spirit, and his desire to make his music heard, is intact.
To the millions around the world, Shah, also known as “Purhythm,” is an inspiration, who is now sharing his life story in a new documentary, “Brittle Bone Rapper: The Inspirational World of Sparsh.”
“That song especially was a great inspiration to me and so is Eminem. It helped me realize that I wasn’t afraid to do anything. It resonated with me and that really spoke to me,” he says in the Real Stories documentary. “I was amazed how many people came around. It’s like they say, if you have great intentions, the whole universe conspires around you.”
Shah has been learning Hindustani classical music and American vocal music for the last few years, and so far, he has written 15 songs and composed music for many of them. He has performed live at over 75 events, and appeared on several radio and TV channels like the BBC and NBC, according to his Facebook bio.
After his rendition of Eminem’s song, he was recognized and applauded by Eminem’s Shady Records, and other celebrities like Chris Brown, Akon, Jay Sean, Salman Khan and Shiamak Davar on their personal social media/websites. (See earlier India-West story here: http://bit.ly/2sBNWwj)
He explains in the documentary how the song came to be, and how he creates music sitting in his room.
“Music is my life; it’s my calling,” he says. “To me, it’s a spiritual gift, so being able to show people how I unleash that gift and use that gift that God has blessed me with, it’s an amazing opportunity.”
The documentary also showcases his vulnerable side. “There are so many struggles in life. I’ve got fractures, I’ve got pain. I have emotional pain sometimes, you know. …The whole point is, you have to get back up, every time you fall down. If I were to die today, I want to die making sure that I fulfilled my sense of purpose,” he says.
The film goes on to show Shah and his family getting ready for the biggest operation of his life to straighten his spine.
It also tracks Shah’s journey to the Champions of Hope awards ceremony in Los Angeles, where he was honored and where he performed his latest song.
Watch the documentary in its entirety here: