Like a typical pre-teen, 12-year-old Sparsh Shah loves a good game of Minecraft on the iPad. He spends a lot of time on his smart devices because unlike his peers, Sparsh can't run or walk or even stand.
But what he can do is sing.
The New Jersey eighth-grader has had 125 bone fractures so far in his young life, a result of osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic disease that causes his bones to be very fragile.
The brittle bone disease has stunted Sparsh's growth and confined him to a wheelchair -- but it hasn't touched his spirit.
He's found his passion in music, and has written 10 original songs. But it's his clean cover of the 2010 Eminem song "Not Afraid," fused with Indian classical music, that's caught the ear of more than 2 million people on social media and launched him toward stardom.
Sparsh, who lives in Iselin, is paying it forward as an ambassador for St. Jude's, participating in dozens of charitable performances. And he's also in the National Honor Society.
"He's not treated as disabled," said father Hiren Shah. "It's made a huge difference in his outlook, always very positive."
Sparsh already has quite a collection of awards and trophies from competitions from all over the tri-state. But his goal is to reach a billion people, not just with music, but with his message.
"If I can inspire one person to change his or her life just because of me, it seems so humbling when I think about, that's enough purpose in my life to keep me going," he said, his right arm in a sling from a recent surgery to insert a rod like the ones in his left arm and both legs.
And it wouldn't hurt to hear from the artist that inspired him so.
"If we could perform a duet together, that would be the best thing ever," he said.