3 national awards, 2 world records – Benzy Kumar’s voice has the world dancing to her tunes!
In My Take this week, we have 25-year-old Benzy Kumar, a renowned singer from Delhi. Benzy was diagnosed with autism at a young age. She has released her own music albums, won three national awards and also appeared in the Limca Book of World Records twice. Benzy shares about her musical journey with Newz Hook readers.
I’am 25 years old now. When I was diagnosed with autism, my parents were shocked. I was born as a premature baby and had health complications. I was not responding to voices. My parents realized that my developmental milestones were different and they met many doctors to know about the condition.
During those time, there was no awareness about autism. Some doctors told them that I was mentally retarded. Some others said I had cerebral palsy. My father was an engineer. He did a detailed research about it as well. But I used to react to music and sounds. Like for instance, when my mother taught me alphabets in a regular way, I wouldn’t understand. But when she sang it as a rhyme in a rhythmic manner, I picked it up fast.
I’am the only child to my parents. They decided not to have another child so that they can dedicate all the time for me.
Love towards music
Many people told my parents not to waste time on me. They constantly heard that I would not reach anywhere, but they refused to believe it.
That is when my mother decided to help me pursue music because she knew I was inclined to it. Music was introduced to my daily routine. In fact, I used to sleep hearing to music. My mother believed that if parents work according to their child’s strengths, they would get good results.
While I was in school, I used to cut classes just to go to the music class and listen to the music teacher. This became a regular routine. Even my music teacher realized my love for the art. She told it to my parents too. My music teacher motivated me to get involved more in musical activities.
“My mother always says that music is a blend of math and memory. It is based on calculations. I believe in the same”.
A musical journey
I started learning music at the age of five. Many teachers came and went. But since I had communication problems, interacting with them was difficult. I was taught basic ‘raagas’. In fact, music had a healing effect on me. My parents also realized the importance of musical therapy.
One of my music teachers was MM Rafi whom I call Raafi saab. I used to eagerly wait for him to come in order to start my music lessons.
I did my first stage performance at the age of seven. I got a lot of appreciation and people were shocked on how a girl with disability could sing in this manner.
At the age of nine, I released my first musical CD. I sang all the songs in it and later released ten other CD’s too. It includes vocal, instrumental and one international music CD.
Awards and recognitions
I’am a three time national award winner. I was the only girl with autism to release so many CD’s. I also appeared in the Limca Book of World Records two times.
I was lucky to have sung with many renowned singers. I also learnt to play the keyboard and has got appreciation for that from musicians like Adnan Sami.
“From childhood, when other kids were playing, I used to practice music at home. More than awards, I’am happy with the applause from audience”.
My mother runs an NGO called Dhoon Foundation that highlights on the magic of music therapy for children with disabilities. “My parents never gave up on me. They identified my talents and helped me to nurture it”.
Watch in Sign Language
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