043: Sparsh Shah: Combining Indian Classical Music with Hip Hop

FYS 043 | Indian Classical Music

They say that the eyes are the window to the soul. That has never been more true than when Sparsh Shaw looked into his parents’ eyes and told them not to worry or give up on him. He was told he was going to die, but knew he was meant to do something amazing in this world. Sparsh was born with 30 to 40 fractures. He has a medical condition called osteogenesis imperfecta, an incurable genetic-borne disorder which causes a person’s bones to be extremely fragile. He’s had over 130 plus fractures in all of his fourteen years of life. Sparsh’s bones may be breaking but his spirit isn’t. Combining Indian classical music with rap has been his motivation to keep going. Sparsh shares how he merged the two cultures and how it has been an amazing journey so far.

I’ve got another amazing, young, gentleman, his name is Sparsh Shah. I was made aware of Sparsh as he was on this show called Little Big Shots. Essentially, it’s a collection of very talented youngsters who go on and do whatever their talent is. They’ve got this host, Steve Harvey; he’s very funny. In this particular case, Sparsh has this talent of rapping, singing, while blending his Indian culture all into one. It’s really amazing. I asked Sparsh to sing a number of different tunes and rap and I was beat-boxing back and forth on my seat listening to this doing a lot of Eminem, one of my favorite artists. He was just really amazing and so much fun. The other thing about this episode, which is great, although we recorded it when I was in Hermosa Beach, I am doing my intro bumper from Sun Valley, Idaho, my new home. I’m very excited about that so I can do my training and other things in preparation for Denali late May 2018. If you want to find out about any of my expeditions, about my public speaking, anything else, www.MarkPattisonNFL.com. If you can go in to iTunes and give some love there. Here’s another great episode.

 

Listen to the podcast here:

Sparsh Shah: Combining Indian Classical Music with Hip Hop

 

We’re all about people overcoming adversity and finding their way in life. I’ve got another great example of that. I’m so fired up. I am with Sparsh Shah. Sparsh, how are you doing?

I am doing amazing. Thank you so much for having me on this podcast.

I’ve also got Hiren which is his father and they are the dynamic duo. I’ve seen Hiren. I’ve seen you on some other shows. I always say it takes a village to make things happen. It doesn’t matter if you have some disability or not, we all need support growing up. Sparsh, you’re very fortunate and blessed to have parents like you do.

I’m very grateful for that. Thank you so much for having us.

Hiren, I want to start with you. You are the Super Dad and I can tell you you’re a bright soul as well. Can you explain what your son has and when that moment of impact came when you found out about the things that affect him?

Sparsh has a medical condition that is called osteogenesis imperfecta. It’s an incurable genetic-borne disorder which causes a person’s bones to be extremely fragile, and because of which, he gets a lot of fractures throughout his day-to-day life. He has had over 130 plus fractures. We’ve already lost count now. When he was born with 30 to 40 fractures, almost everything in his body was broken, all the bones, including his hands, his legs, and his ribs. Everything was broken when he was born and he was moved to Neonatal Care. The very next day, the doctors came to us and said, “He’s not doing well. Unfortunately if something bad happens, we’ll have to let him go.” That was the biggest impact that happened to us. My wife and I had just come to US about a year ago before Sparsh was born in search of a job.

They came all the way from India too. They were the first generation immigrants of the family to find job, opportunities, and stuff.

Hiren, I have two girls. They’re now 19 and 21, so a few years older than you, Sparsh. Infants are moving around. How do you stabilize a little baby that’s got that many fractures?

It was very challenging. Sparsh had to be in a hospital for six months after he was born. As I was telling you, the very next day he was born, the doctors came to us and said, “We got to get your permission let him go if something goes wrong.” We were asked to sign that. My wife and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes and we said, “We’re not going to sign the paper and we’re not going to give up on our son no matter what his condition is right now.” That’s how it started.

First three months he was in the ICU, they had to literally keep six pairs of diapers under him and we would remove just one at a time so that they don’t have to move his entire body. Babies have such soft skin. They cannot even cast them to heal the fracture. The only way that they could stabilize him was by giving him enormous amount of pain medication and keeping him steady as much as possible. That’s how it started.

FYS 043 | Indian Classical Music

Indian Classical Music: The eyes are the window to the soul.

Honestly with infants moving around, I wasn’t able to move around as much. I remember when I was a baby and I got out of the hospital, I used to move a lot. With 30 to 40 fractures already, I could barely breathe, so there was no question about me even moving. The only part that was moving were my eyes and barely my lungs. We talked about the negative impact. The positive impact happened on some random day where I could barely move, just breathing, but I had those bright big eyes I would lock onto anybody I set them to. It’s like an arrow shooting through the other arrow. My mom and dad would walk around my incubator and they were just looking. My family and I, we strongly believe that divine intervention and God’s hand has been throughout our lives or ever since the beginning. This is how it started with my eyes and it was as if my eyes spoke to them. They say the eyes are the window to the soul. My eyes were saying, “Mom and dad, don’t worry about me. I came into this world to do something amazing. Don’t give up on me. I’m not dying right now.”

You are a miracle baby, no question about that. There’s no question, Hiren, that you and your lovely wife hung in there and didn’t pull the plug. You didn’t do anything. You were willing to accept whatever happened. Through this sparkle in your son’s eye, you could see that this kid was a fighter and was not going to give up under any circumstances. Sparsh, you certainly set the record for the youngest person I’ve ever interviewed and you’ve done so much in your life. Let’s talk about your childhood. How did you get here? You’re still in your childhood.

Another first for me too, Hiren, is that I’ve never had a father-son duo and I appreciate you coming on because you’re able to give me perspective from an adult standpoint of what was happening at that period of time. I can relate to what you’re talking about because I am a father too. When your child comes into this world, you feel so blessed. I also have a child that doesn’t have your disability, Sparsh, but she has a form of epilepsy. We didn’t find that out until she was six years old and she has carried that with her all the way to where she is at nineteen. She’s just an absolute bright light in my life. It’s just something that you just take a big deep breath and like, “We got to deal with this” and then you do. It’s that fight or flight.

You can’t change the cards you’re dealt, just how you play the hand.

Where I was made aware of you is a show called Little Big Shots with Steve Harvey. I’m sure you’ve got a lot of PR from that with millions of people on TV. This gal called me and she said, “You have to see this little kid. He is just a bright light and he’s got the most amazing voice and he’s got this combination.” You come into this world, you’ve got 30 breaks, it’s just incredible. You don’t know how things are going to play out, but slowly you start to mend. Where did this voice come out of you, this talent that you didn’t know that you had?

This is what the average person would call God’s gift. I wouldn’t say that I grew into music. Music grew with me as if we were two childhood friends who grew up together. That was me and music. Ever since I was little, I would hum songs. I started singing. I started correcting my parents when they weren’t singing right. Then I started learning the piano. I broke my arms a few times so I couldn’t have the airtime to do that, but my voice was still there.

My parents said, “Why don’t you just hone your voice?” My mom always said, “Your voice will never break, so use that,” so I would. I started learning Indian classical music at the age of six. I just took my class this morning, so I’m still learning. It’s been on and off, but I’ve also done western vocal music. I’m in the school choir. I’ve been in school choir since elementary school. I’m a freshman in high school.

You talked about the Indian class. Is that a singing class or was that Indian culture and history?

It’s Indian classical music, the traditional/ethnic form of Indian music. It’s like Mozart and Beethoven in India. We consider Mozart or Beethoven to be classical artists, but it’s India. It’s totally different because there is a completely different methodology, a completely different mentality and almost a worldview of music. It’s totally different, but it’s great because then I got to learn both sides of the story.

I heard this song in my research with you. I want to get into this whole thing about you and Eminem. You sang this song called Not Afraid, which I love, by the way. If we hadn’t even been talking, I would tell you when I climb these crazy mountains around the world, I have my playlist, and I’ve got a number of different artists on there. One of the artists that’s on there for me is Eminem. I’m going up the side of these crazy mountains and these crevasses I have to go over and the steep pitches. You’ve got this song called Not Afraid. The thing I love about that tune was the way that you baked in the Indian culture, that whiny music, and then you break into how it integrates which to me is better than the original from Eminem.

That’s a great element of Indian classical music. It’s called the alap. Indian classical music is based on ragas which are certain melodic scales of selective notes out of the twelve notes in the scale and different semitones. It’s very deep when you get into it. An alap is, in textbook terms, exposition of a raga without rhythmic accompaniment. That is what I’m almost every Indian classical artist uses before they sing their piece. This is the raga because when you sing, it’s all about the mood, the atmosphere.

You develop the atmosphere before you throw in the song. I just came up with it one day while sitting on the piano. I found chords and I made an alap out of it. That became the dawn of my new genre of ragarap, and that’s Indian classical music or the raga and rap. I took hip hop culture and Indian culture and said, “Why don’t I just blend it and make something totally cool that people will obviously think it’s crazy, but it’s going to be great?”

You said how the voice just found you or you found the voice. My former life, a long time ago when I was a young kid, I was a football player. One of the things for me is I always felt that football in my hand. I could see things on the side of my head, behind my head. I felt like one step ahead of everybody. It was like I was born with a football in my hands. It wasn’t that way for me necessarily in basketball or baseball or other sports. I was fairly good at those too, but where I just felt a level above, like this was a gift that was given to me, was in that sports.

When you’re talking about that voice coming to you and coming out of your mouth in a certain way and how you’ve adopted a certain style, I totally appreciate what you’re saying. Then you just got in this whole raga thing. For the audience, nobody will understand what that is until they research you. Can you give a little sample of what that means?

“I’m not afraid to take a stand
Everybody, come take my hand
We’ll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just letting you know that you’re not alone
Holler if you feel like you’ve been down the same road

Yeah, it’s been a ride
I guess I had to, go to that place, to get to this one
Now some of you, might still be in that place
If you’re trying to get out, just follow me
I’ll get you there

It was my decision to get clean, I did it for me
Admittedly, I probably did it subliminally
For you, so I could come back a brand-new me you helped see me through
And don’t even realize what you did, ’cause believe me you
I’ve been through the ringer, but they could do little to the peace finger
I think I got a tear in my eye, I feel like the king of
My world, haters can make like bees with no stingers
And drop dead, no more beef lingers
No more drama from now on, I wanna promise
To focus solely on handling my responsibilities as a brother
So I solemnly swear to always treat this roof, like my brother
Embrace me, you couldn’t lift a single shingle on it!
‘Cause the way I feel, I’m strong enough to go to the gym
Or the fitness pub, and lift a hundred pounds and up
‘Cause I’m raising the bar
I’d shoot for the moon but I’m too busy gazing at stars
I feel amazing and I’m not afraid.”

That’s where you’re blending this Indian culture with rap called raga. Did I get all that? What instruments do you play?

Honestly, I’ve never been big on instruments. It would be harder for me since I break bones, but I’ve been learning piano for a few years on and off as well. I got to create my own composition one day while I was sitting on the piano. I’ve been doing that sometimes, but my main instrument is my voice because your vocal folds are an instrument.

Does this medical condition that you have confine you to a wheelchair? Can you walk or is it just too fragile on your bones?

I cannot walk or stand. I’ve never been able to. I’m confined to a wheelchair because I can’t bear weight too much on any of my limbs. For others, it’s not that bad. There are eight types of my condition. I am type eight. People with, for example, type one can walk. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Kid President, the guy who had a TED Talk. He has osteogenesis imperfecta. He’s had a lot of fractures too, but he can walk and run and jump around. Doctors thought I was type two, and that’s the worst because type two babies often die before their first year of life is done. That’s why I always say the grass is greener on one side and yellower on the other.

We’re just blessed to be where we are. I’ve had a lot of surgeries. I’ve gone through so much. I had the biggest surgery in my life, which was a spinal fusion because I have a bad scoliosis that they needed to correct. Talk about being tested, it was crazy. I had two rods and nineteen screws in my back, and it was the worst of storms, but I made it. I was tested in every direction in the field, but thank God I’m here today. That’s the thing. It’s greener on one side and yellower on the other. We always have people better off and worst off than us in every respect, so we’re blessed to be where we are.

FYS 043 | Indian Classical Music

Indian Classical Music: We always have people better off and worst off than us in every respect, so we’re blessed to be where we are.

One of my best friends is David Caylor. He played basketball at the University of Washington while I was on the football team. We remain close and he has four kids. One of his daughters had the same issue and he showed me a picture of her back prior to going in and getting these rods inserted in her back. It looked like an “S.” After they went through that, she grew two inches because she was bent over and then it extended her. It was just amazing. I talked to her. I was with them on Christmas Eve and she was just going into the amount of pain that she had to go through these rods in her back and extending her to where she needed to be.

It took a hard toll on me. I remember one night where I was in the hospital, I didn’t get out yet. I came out for a pretty short time. The doctor and I, we were both very aggressive about the situation. We wanted to get home. That was like getting to the Promise Land. It was that significant for us. I remember that one night in the hospital, I had to wake up in the middle of the night. I can’t exert pressure because my bones might get broken, so instead of taking taped things and wrapping them around your arm, they had to take an A line and put it in through for my surgery to monitor my blood pressure.

The A line was very big for my artery, so even though it was swollen at the time of surgery, which was normal, when I got up as I started recovering, my artery started shrinking back to normal and the A line started pressurizing it. My blood pressure was going on and off, and we were like “If this does not work right, we might keep the A line permanently.” Thank God that didn’t happen. This was one night where they were trying to find a place to put something in so that I could take my fluids. They were trying to get my IV in. They tried everywhere. For the first time in my life, somebody tried it on my feet. It was horrible. It was like midnight. It was like the devil’s hour, but more than a nightmare. Thankfully, I made it.

They kept on poking him everywhere to get the needle and his blood pressure was going down so much that we were a little scared because we didn’t know what is going to happen.

Like you said, you’re a better person. Here you are. It was just another one of those things you’ve had to fight through and you keep on doing. Hiren, I’m not sure if this is for you or for Sparsh. He’s fourteen now. When he was born, did you guys recognize his talent from a standpoint of now somehow or another, you got discovered or you wanted to put his talent into the national spotlight? How did that all come about?

Sparsh had something brilliant about him right from his childhood. As he told you the story about his eyes right from that as well as he started speaking early. His pronunciation was very clear. He started reading at the age of three. He was able to read fluently. At the age of six, he was able to spell a 45-letter word. The longest word in the English dictionary, pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis. He can say those eleven longest words in the English dictionary in eighteen seconds, when he was six. Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia, pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism, floccinaucinihilipilification, antidisestablishmentarianism, honorificabilitudinitatibus, electroencephalographically, antitransubstantiationalist, disproportionableness, incomprehensibilities.

That also plays in right there to your ability to rap and do rhythmic beats.

It was a love of words. We knew that he had something extra special in him. First thing is when he did this eleven longest words, we sent an application to the Guinness Book of World Records and said, “Let’s try to see your fastest words, longest fastest words by the youngest kid,” but it didn’t work. They came back and said they don’t have such a category.

It’s funny because the Guinness Book of World Records, all their books front and the back are like, “You can make your own categories. Submit your application and we can see if that’s a legible category.”

I used to go to Philadelphia from New Jersey, which is about an hour and a half, at least once or twice a month because of all his surgeries and all his follow-ups were with doctors in Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. When we used to travel, we used to put audio books, so we started listening to audio book files. What we did is we put Word Power Made Easy, which he started learning different vocabulary words. We also started listening to all great books like How to Win Friends and Influence People and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

For my school assignment, I had to read the teenage version, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey.

Every night before we go to bed, we used to watch a TED Talk. At that time, when Spars was four or five, he was called as an Encyclopedia of Prehistoric Animals. He told me about it, “I’m going to do a TED Talk myself one day.” That time, he was seven. When he was thirteen, he did a TED Talk.

On the TED Talk, what was the topic?

It was how I turned impossible into I’m possible, and how you can do it too.

Did you make it right on eighteen minutes?

It was fourteen.

That TED Talk has over eight or nine million views on all social media sites. He was the highest trending speaker of the 25 speakers all over the world from that event.

Something is not fair here because I’m 56 and I want to do a TED Talk, and he got this little guy here that’s fourteen and he’s already done his TED Talk.

All you got to do is change the impossible into I’m possible, and then that’s how it starts. It’s like how you said, changing your mindset from how did I get here to what am I going to do about it?

The mindset of where your focus goes, your energy always follows. If your focus is “I’m sad, I’m in a terrible situation, I’ve got 132 breaks in my body,” you create your own prison versus if you create the possibilities of everything, there is nothing that you can’t accomplish. It’s just so much fun to sit there and watch people who overcome and don’t quit. This gal that I was mentioning to you, Mandy Harvey, she sings a song called Try. It is all about her being in a low point when she lost her hearing at eighteen. She’s a beautiful singer.

This song is all about how she crawled out of this well. Imagine being in a 30-foot well and having to slowly climb out until she gets to the top and then she emerges and goes on to greatness. As it all would play out, she’s got America’s Got Talent Fourth Place and a beautiful story, similar type stories that I love having people like you because it is all about showing people that there can be a path out toward success. You go and you do this TED talk. Was that the impetus to your launch to get on Little Big Shots and have such a worldwide acknowledgement on YouTube?

It was already part of that whole momentum. Not Afraid was what started it. When you said, “How did you get to that big break in your career?” That was Not Afraid. The weird thing is I love words but I hated rap for a very long time. I had that preconceived prejudice about rap because all those rappers in the main industry are all profane and they talk about bad things and this whole rap industry is corrupted. With the values that I was raised in my life, rap felt like “I’m not going there. I’m never going there,” but then I heard Not Afraid by Eminem.

Even when I was little, I was slowly expose to hip hop. I remember when I was little, I used to watch that Disney movie Let It Shine, which was about rap and listening to other people like MattyBRaps and I slowly built in. Then I heard Eminem’s Not Afraid and I’m like, “Hip hop can be used for good.” That was the breaking point. When I did that, I came up with my rapper name Purhythm, which is “I’m clean. No curses, no bad lyrics. I’m completely pure. I want to bring in a generation of pure rap. I’m still all about the rhythm. Don’t fail to take me seriously.

What you’re essentially saying is that you’re not filling the air waves full of negativity and degrading women and profanity and things like that. I’m glad you’re talking about that. I’m also not a fan of rap in the same idea that you have it in. I fill my mind and my ears with positive affirmations every morning. Those things that do that, I’m drawn to. Is Eminem aware of all this stuff that you’re doing, this tribute to him?

As of what I know, no, but his record label does. His record label has tweeted me out for Not Afraid, but Eminem hasn’t reached out yet. We’ve tried. It’s high time that he should reach to him now because his song has become the most viewed Eminem cover ever with 65 million. After Not Afraid, I went through a few other Eminem covers and I recorded those, the ones that were inspirational to me. In fact, I even experimented with writing my own lyrics to some of the parts of the songs, and I released an album on Eminem’s birthday two years ago, which was Purhythm’s Tribute to Eminem. It was a pack of five Eminem covers that I recorded for everyone to hear and for Eminem especially, but he didn’t respond.

If you’ve heard of Eminem’s new song Walk on Water, when I listened to it the first time I thought, “Why does Eminem sound like he’s going to give up?” He doesn’t give up, obviously, but towards the end of the song before he says, “I’ll decide if it’s my last bout,” he sounds like he’s giving up, and I’m like, “He needs some support. We all need him. In a rap generation right now where we don’t say lyrical genius as seriously as they used to catch a beat. Now it’s about the beat, not the lyrics, not the real meaning, so we need him back. I made a reply to that song. I replied to him that I released, but he hasn’t responded. I’m going to have to move on anyway.

I’m going to go get him on this and then we’re going to do like a three-way pod and we’re going to rap back and forth. I’m going to be doing my hand motion in the air. I’ll see what I can do to help you out. There was another song that I want you to get a keyed up. It was beautiful. That’s the one that Eminem did with Rihanna.

Love the Way You Lie. I did both the versions of it, parts one and two.

Can you give me one of the parts?

Part two was completely with my own lyrics.

Which do you like better?

Either one, you just give it to me. Part of this is just listening to your talent and exposing people to what you can do.

I have not sung this a very long time, but that’s great. It’s like you get to revive, you get to come back and you’re like, “I’m finally doing this.” Let’s do this.

“Just gonna stand there and watch me burn, but that’s alright because I like the way it hurts.

Just gonna stand there and hear me cry, but that’s alright because I love the way you lie.

I love the way you lie.

I can’t tell you what it really is, I can only tell you what it feels like.

And right now it’s a steel knife in my windpipe.

I can’t breathe but I still fight while I can fight.

As long as you’re there with me, everything feels right.

You showed me the dead from the drug. You’re still the light.

You’re my angel. Go within a raga so bright.

I caught on to your infection like a potato but right now the only guide for me is your courage and your might.

You gave me the strength to fight dragons like a knight and your wings won’t fall and take off to win and fight.

I guess that now I’m trying to get with this fight and sadly there’re two does hurt, a love out of mind is out of sight and now it’s bad and it’s awful,

I feel so ashamed I snapped “Who’s that dude? I don’t even know his name.

I laid hands on him. I’ll never stoop so low again.

I guess I don’t know my own strength.

Just gonna stand there and watch me burn, but that’s alright because I like the way it hurts.

Just gonna stand there and hear me cry, but that’s alright because I love the way you lie.

I love the way you lie.”

FYS 043 | Indian Classical Music

Indian Classical Music: Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

It sounded like that might have been the version that you adapted, because I was listening to about the windpipes breathing and talking. It sounded beautiful though, well done.

I heard it after the long time and I have chills right now.

I have not sung this since I did my cover, like since I actually recorded and covered it. It has been a year and a half since I sang this, and during that time I went through that major puberty voice change, and now I’m just singing it afterwards and I surprised myself.

You pulled it through. It’s where preparation meets opportunity. You did your prep a time ago and you nailed it. Well done. I read another thing that you’ve got this philosophy about the three Ws of winning. I want to know what those are because I want to be a winner.

I did this when I spoke with the NBA referees at their meeting. It was a great speech. I started with a Lebron James reference where I recalled one of the commentaries. I said, “Lebron had a crazy beginning.” Then I’m like, “You guys can do the same thing.” I felt that in my life, here are the three Ws to winning. The first W is warriorship. Warriorship is persevering and completely determined in order to reach your goals and you got to fight no matter what storms face you. I gave the example of my dad and mom who faced ludicrous medical bills, coming from the hospital to treat me. They only came to America with $500 in their pocket and no friends’ support whatsoever. It was very hard, but if they didn’t fight, they wouldn’t have raised me to be who I am. If I didn’t fight, I wouldn’t have been the personality that I am. Like Muhammad Ali says, “Suffer now and live the rest of your life like a champion.”

The second W is wholeheartedness. Every day you give your best and you give your all. That way you can see your goals fulfilled. It’s hard you got to have faith in that. You got to have faith in the end. Every day when I wake up, I thank God for giving me another day to live because He could’ve taken it away if He wanted to. Since He did not, that means I have one more day to go out and share myself to the world and spread that light. I don’t picture myself as a light. I picture myself as a lantern. I only shine light and that’s God’s light. The final W is work. You got to work hard. You got to keep on hammering in order to build that sculpture. If you don’t do that, you will not be an expert in that field. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. I read that from my friend’s shirt and that became one of my models since I read that.

We talked about both of us feeling like we had this God-given talent, but I can tell you that there’s nobody who worked harder to get where I got into the NFL than myself. I It’s not a pat on my back, but I just had to. It took me awhile to figure that out. You definitely have to take your God-given talent and then you have to nourish it. Once you nourish it, it will flourish.

It’s like they say, “You can take a horse in the pond, but if he doesn’t drink, that’s not your fault.” He got to drink.

You talked about these three Ws. I just did a speech for a large group and I ended that with these thoughts of which is what you’re doing like, “If you’re going to live life, live life with as much passion as you possibly can.” That’s number one. Number two is while you are here on this earth, leave a legacy. I feel like you’re doing that. You have these positive affirmations in terms of this ragarap that you’ve adopted and not spread the word with more negativity because that’s the last thing we need.

The final thing is whatever you do, do not set any limits on who you are or what you can accomplish. I’m sitting here looking at you and your kind father. For your parents to be there and be the rock and fight and be in a position to have you where you are today and for you to take that opportunity, that torch, and broadcast your message to the world is incredible and an inspiration to a lot of people.

The other thing I was talking about is perspective. We all get wrapped up in her own little world about our situations. Here you are and you’ve got this situation where your bones break and you can’t walk, but you said, “Whatever, I’m going to go out and spread my light throughout the world.” If that resonates to anybody, that’s great, but if not, that’s great too, but you’re living what your true purpose is all about.

That’s the third point I mentioned in my TED Talk, help others, because what’s the point of climbing the mountain and just staying up on top if you’re not going to help others come up with you? It’s like the Chinese saying, “If you want to know the road ahead, ask those coming back.”

Your fourteen now, your career is just getting going. Where do you want to take this? Where do you see yourself?

Wherever God takes me, I would take every opportunity that I’m given. It’s always been my dream. I’ve sung in Madison Square Garden, that was great and Prudential Center. It’s been my dream to sing in some of the biggest stadiums, like we have Super Bowl Sunday. Many of the greatest artists have been on there. If I got to sing the National Anthem, that will be awesome.

That is a call I can make. I don’t if you’re game, but there’s always a place to start with the NFL PA.

Last year, Sparsh did three performances at Madison Square Garden, and he’s doing one more again for another New York Knicks game. That’s going to be interesting because 20,000 people and obviously his dream is even bigger than that. He wants to sing one day in front of a billion people.

I want to end this very uplifting and positive day with you with my thoughts about how I see you, which is you do not have a disability. You have ability. I believe that and I appreciate the time that you spent with me sharing your story, hearing your father come on and do this to see that love and support that you have has been awesome and great. It is a way to kick off my weekend of the Super Bowl, so thank you for that.

Thank you so much for giving me this time too. I can’t imagine I’m talking to the first NFL player who is climbing the Seven Summits. If that’s not huge, I don’t know what is, but it’s amazing. We just got to talk like man to man and heart to heart. We think these people are so big and high up and then we talk and we’re like, “We’re just men and women.” We’re just normal people living ordinary lives and we are doing extraordinary things. Thank you so much for giving me that time. I’m so glad that I got to be here with you.

Here’s a promise to you. I am climbing Denali up in Alaska, which is North America’s highest point. I was up there last year, got pushed back due to minus 60-degree weather. Next year, it will be Everest. On the rest of my journey, I’ve got three mountains to go. You will be on my playlist on summer day and I’m carrying the inspiration to the top.

Thank you so much, Mr. Pattison. It was a pleasure talking to you.

Have a great weekend.

Thank you.

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