How many national anthems can you sing? Have you heard of an Anthemologist? Well, we have a budding child prodigy in Bangalore. Read all about him and send him your love and support.
Yathaarth M is a 12-year-old boy who can sing the national anthems of 260 countries! He has his eyes set on the Guinness Record next and hopes to be an Anthemologist in the future. Here is an exclusive interview with the Bengaluru-based child prodigy:
BB: How did your journey into learning anthems begin?
YM: A little over 3 years ago, my music teacher, Mr. Bhuvanesh taught me anthems of 4 different countries. This piqued my curiosity and through YouTube I mastered 260 of them over the past 3.5 years. It was no easy task! Initially it took over a week to learn an anthem, then a few days and now just a few minutes!
BB: Do you have any personal favourites?
YM: My personal favourites are the Indian, Israeli, American and Russian anthems. The Argentinian anthem is the longest and takes 27 minutes to sing! The Greek anthem has 152 verses and I found the Estonian anthem the hardest to learn because of the pronunciation!
BB: How do you keep up given that you have school and other activities?
YM: Although I have homework, I always make time to practice the anthems. It transports me to a different world. And like other children, I love video games, cricket and cycling! I must admit it is a constant struggle to keep up with the anthems. Also with new countries coming along, like South Sudan did a few years ago, there’s continuous learning.
BB: Tell us about your achievements and your aspirations.
YM: In 2017, I entered the Limca Book of Records for singing 112 national anthems, 80 of which were not in English! I spoke at the TEDxISBRBangalore, where I was the youngest speaker. I adore Ellen DeGeneres and hope to be on her show one day. I also want to be associated with the United Nations and author a book about national anthems. I would like to be an Anthemologist, which involves studying different anthems, understanding them and drafting new ones. I have already invented a new country called the People’s Republic of Petersburg (PROP) and composed an anthem for its fictitious citizens!
BB: How have your parents and your school supported you through your journey?
YM: My mother has given up her profession to become my official PR manager. She reaches out to organisations, government officials, entrepreneurs and spread the word about me. My father consults in Djibouti and he shared a video of me singing their national anthem, which was appreciated by the members of the 1st family. My parents are super proud of me and are encouraging me to channelise talent with a cause. My school (Vidyashilp Academy), my principal, Ms. Selvi, my teachers and my friends have all played a very important role in my journey.
BB. Tell us about your work with charities.
YM: I am on the board of the World Awareness Program (WAP), which is an organization working to eradicate child labour and improve literacy and education in India. I also intern with an NGO called Sachh, which works on programs around sustainability and other social obligations. Sachh recently went on a clothes distribution drive where we distributed over 9000 clothes to 850-900 residents of Byapannahalli slum.
BB: So, what has been the most fun part of your journey?
YM: The fun part is that I’m treated like a celebrity. I get invited to events as a chief guest and I’m usually the youngest person on the dais! What’s even more exciting is when I meet celebrities and they request for a selfie with me!!!
BB: You are a TEDx speaker – how did that happen and how you feel about that?
YM: I had seen a few TED talks and I was motivated to be a speaker too. My mother started applying (which is a tedious process) and so far I have spoken at TEDxISBR and TEDxyouthCAMS in Los Angeles. It was a wonderful experience as I was the youngest speaker and I received a standing ovation at the end. My parents were so proud and it made me so happy!
BB: Being invited to the United Nations – tell us about that.
YM: Thanks to my Principal and Ms. Sojanya at Vidyashilp Academy, I was able to showcase my talent in the UN.
The staff of the Visitors Office in the UN were so impressed with me that I got invited back the next day for a personal tour of the premises. I was escorted to restricted areas where only UN delegates are allowed to enter. I was allowed to hold the Indian flag and they said “perhaps, India has already given birth to the youngest Nobel Peace Prize Awardee.” This gave me goosebumps. I am so inspired to give a speech at the UN General Assembly one day!
BB: What is your message to other children who are pursuing their passions?
YM: You all are unique! Giving up your passion would put someone else ahead of you to achieve your dream. So strive hard to reach the top. There is no shortcut to success and it’s a matter of time that your hard work will definitely pay off!
Yathaarth hopes to enter the Guinness Records by singing 101 anthems in their respective countries, for which he needs sponsors. To find out more about Yathaarth, check out his website or follow his YouTube Channel