Watch: Navya Bhaskaran, child of determination, drops Arabic cover song on Ramadan
The Keralite teenager dreams of becoming an ambassador for people of determination.
“The achievements that people of determination have made in various spheres over the past years are proof that determination and strong will can do the impossible and encourage people to counter challenges and difficult circumstances while firmly achieving their goals,” said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in 2017, when he coined a new term for the specially-abled: People of determination.
Navya Karapath Bhaskaran, a 15-year-old Keralite with mild cerebral palsy living in Sharjah, is garnering support and attention for all the right reasons. Recently, Navya released her first-ever Arabic cover, of Marhab Ya Hilal, a Ramadan-based song by Kuwaiti singer Humood Othman AlKhudher. She shared the music video on her YouTube channel which has over 500 subscribers. Previously, Navya had released two albums in Malayalam with renowned South Indian artists.
Navya’s interest in music and singing began at the young age of three. Singing has built her confidence, and the appreciation she garners keeps her going. In a conversation with City Times, Navya said, “I love singing and studying music. I am never tired of it.”
“I am only tired of studying math,” she added.
Vandana Bhaskaran, Navya’s mother, who is a doctor in a clinic in Ajman, believes that her daughter’s singing talent inspires wonder in the audience. “Once Navya is on stage, she captures the attention of the audience instantly through her effortless speech, which might be her instinctive way of reaching out to people as a differently-abled singer,” Vandana said.
Endowed with great qualities, Navya excels in demonstrating her lucid singing skills. She loves singing, and she has the accolades to show for it. Navya holds the U18 Grand Champion 2019 title of The One, one of the UAE’s biggest singing competitions. During the Abu Dhabi Special Olympics in 2019, Navya was chosen to share the stage with American actress and singer, Keala Settle, who is known for her role as the bearded lady Lettie Lutz in The Greatest Showman.
In 2019, Navya also hosted an international online singing competition for special needs children, to encourage them to showcase their talents and abilities. That same year, Navya got the chance to visit Los Angeles, where she bagged the third prize for a monologue competition. Navya also won the third prize in the Club FM Talent Hunt competition 2019 and was the second runner-up in Zee TVs Middle East singing competition in January 2020.
As the novel coronavirus brought the entire world to a standstill, Navya continued to walk down the path she chose, all the while helping her mother in packing and distributing food and materials in times of crisis. The 15-year-old also composed her first-ever song on Covid-19, which was featured in UNICEF: The Voices of Youth.
Shortly after, Navya suffered a throat problem and almost lost her voice. However, she came back even stronger and wrote her first-ever book titled The Day I Almost Lost My Voice!
Recently, Navya cleared a Grade 6 Rock & Pop examination with distinction from Trinity College London in the UAE.
Navya’s journey has not been an easy one. Although fruitful, Navya and her parents endured a lot of struggle. “As parents, the main challenge was to help her integrate with mainstream children,” Vandana said, adding that Navya had trouble befriending people when she was young. “But music has always helped to overcome this to some extent. The strong support for inclusion from the government of UAE is great and we are very thankful for that,” she added.
Navya dreams of becoming an ambassador for people of determination, and hopes to contribute to changing the lives of many children like her.