Boom, bang, zing, clash!
That’s the exhilarating world of Wheelsmith (Danial Bawthan). Whether the talented rapper-beatboxer and wheelchair rugby player is in the recording studio or on the pitch, his world is full of tones, melodies and sounds.
Danial, who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy (a disorder that causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle) when he was four years old, is an accomplished rapper, beatboxer, hip hop artiste, songwriter and producer who is currently putting together his debut EP of original music. He plans to launch this album of four to six original compositions in early 2018. The first track, Danial shares, is called I Know – it describes the looks he often receives in public because of his condition.
Entirely self-taught, the 23-year-old is particularly drawn to rapping and beatboxing as “music allows me to be fearless and brazen”. Music was also his “saviour” and tempered the sharp pain of discrimination and disappointment which he first faced at 14. “My friends would go and play soccer, they wouldn’t invite me, because I couldn’t (play). I got frustrated and angry,” Danial had shared in an interview with Singapore publication Today.
“In that (music) ‘zone’, I’m equal with everyone else,” he had said. “In music, there is no genre called blind jazz or diabetes reggae, it’s just good music or bad music. You put in your earphones and you can’t make out whether this guy has lost a limb or not.”
And the local music scene has taken notice of his talents: in 2015, he won Best Producer at a hiphop and rap event, Enter the Void Deck, and the following year, he performed live on TV alongside local celebrities for the President’s Star Charity.
The oldest of six siblings, Danial recently graduated with a Higher Nitec certificate in Information Technology, from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College West. Currently working part-time as a sound engineer, he has also begun composing soundscapes for theatre productions. His first one was for a production titled “And Suddenly I Disappear”, a collaboration between Singapore and UK talents.
Outside of music and on the rugby pitch, you’ll see Danial giving his all too, just as he does in life. He has his eye on the ultimate prize – “I want to set an example for the next generation and shift the focus from disability to ability. I want to be a living proof that the disabled in society can follow their dreams.”
Watch Danial’s MV.
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