Grammy Winner Ricky Kej Speaks Of Deep Struggles With Dyslexia
BENGALURU (ANI) – Three-times Grammy-award-winning Musician Ricky Kej opened up about his struggles with Dyslexia during his growing years and how he developed an interest in Indian classical music.
Kej said, “I grew up with the ADHD that is Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder maybe your listeners could figure out I speak very fast I’m very fidgety, these are things that I have to control and I’ve been controlling since my childhood I was a very bad learner I had a severe form of Dyslexia and I still do where when I read a book and that’s why I don’t read books because when I read a line and then I go on to the next line the first line looks completely different when I go back to it so I have all of these problems. Music was the one thing that kept me sane, and music is the one thing that you know that I could fully understand and was good at it.”
The composer shared his schooling and college experience and said, “It is very difficult so schooling was that basically everybody used to call me stupid so that’s how I went through it and everybody I mean my class workbooks would come back with red circles like you know three or four red circles every line and I was punished a lot so it was very difficult for sure because there was no sensitivity for these problems and then, of course, I found a lot of coping mechanisms because I had to do this myself so as early as the fifth or sixth grade I started realizing that if my textbooks are colored it works a lot. I had to figure it out on my own because the thing is that and it’s not nobody’s fault because nobody was sensitized to it the way that now.”
Ricky Kej revealed how his parents didn’t let him feel anything “different”, and how they showed the musician “a lot of empathy”.
He added, “My father is a physician. He also helped quite a lot at some level he knew it, but I guess my father also is a person who loves me a lot, so he did not want me to feel any different. So, I guess it was a balance on that where he did not want me to feel any different so he would not over-emphasize things. He and my mother used to show me a lot of empathy that is for sure okay like when my classroom books would come back with a lot of red spellings, I never got any scolding from my parents that was never there because obviously in their mind.”
He also shared about his dental college experience and stated, “It was also very difficult so again like you know if you look at my dental textbooks, I don’t know whether I still have them. Marker pens were my friends and I used to mark every single line with a different color, and I used to try to learn. And all that stuff but then I’d sworn that after I finished my dentistry, I’m not going to read a book again, so I’ve not read a single novel and a book. At the same time as comic books were things that I could read well because there are additional stimuli like the pictures and all fonts are different, they’re more exciting. So, those were things and now with the internet when I read articles that have got pictures in them, and the font sizes are bigger and there’s a little bit of music playing in the background, so it’s gotten easier for me to read.”
Kej continued, “I guess people who are on these spectrums I guess they think differently. They think like Elon Musk, for example, he’s got Asperger syndrome which is on an autism spectrum disorder. He thinks differently so similarly for me I think music just came easy to me but what I’m trying to say is that for some people maybe they may not have that correct or they will or there’s a possibility that the skill would have never been discovered till the day they die. That is why I said that you know that parents should not be put under this pressure.”
He also shared why he wants music to be part of the school curriculum and how he thinks music can even help in improving the skills of autism-affected children. “Firstly, I believe that music should be a very important part of the education system whether it’s graded or not I’m not sure because I’m not an educationist but I believe that it strongly helps the cognitive abilities of children their critical thinking also it is it has been widely proven everywhere in the world that children who are well versed with music are very good at other things. They sort of develop abilities when it comes to math when it comes to science. Even when it comes to language abilities. Albert Einstein and of course the father of nuclear Sciences in India Dr Raja Ramana, so all of them have been musicians. APJ Abdul Kalam was also a musician. So, I think music can play a very important role in the overall growth of a child, and also as I mentioned earlier that when it comes to music you want to uplift the art you want to uplift musicians you want to uplift the creativity and the only way for that to happen is for musicians I mean for the whole of India to be sensitized to music and that will help the art form itself grow. Any form of music whatever the education is found will be interesting for children, that’s all that matters. “
Ricky is a three-times Grammy Award-winner music composer and environmentalist, who started off his career as a keyboardist and later came up with many albums and collaborated with numerous artists. He also won the award for ‘Divine Tides’ after being nominated in the Best Immersive Audio Album category.