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Battling against odds of life, India’s one-man-band and Likeer Gladson Peter is an inspiration for many

Locked down in your homes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, you are most certainly reading this from self-isolation. Many of you must also be jostling with the office work that has entered your family territory. What do you do in such a situation to calm yourself and relax? I am sure the answer to this question for many would-be ‘listen to music’. An absolute treat for music lovers during these trying times is Gladson Peter, who himself plays more than 40 instruments to form India’s first and only one-man band. His journey has been supported by Likee, the pioneering short video platform by Singapore-based BIGO Technology Pte Ltd.

Gladson’s love for music was evident when he was as little as 3-year-old and started playing a toy keyboard. As he grew older, his love for music, especially rhythm, gradually turned into a passion. Hailing from a Christian household, the music prodigy was always a part of church choirs while pursuing his education. In the words of Gladson, being a part of the choir helped him “learn and understand music in a much better way”. Though Gladson never had any formal training, he says, “My dad was my first and only teacher. He taught me how to play guitar and keyboard when I was a kid…it’s my curiosity, interest and God-given talent that made me the musician that I am.”

But the basic tryst for any artist is finding an appropriate platform to reach out to millions, and this is what led Gladson to the world of short video apps. His journey in the short video domain began with Likee in October 2019. As part of his collaboration with the pioneering platform, Gladson has posted a number of videos on the app. He was also a part of the #LikeeDreams initiative, which chronicled his struggles in life, battle against a disease called pleural effusion, and evolution as a musician.

Born in Tirunelveli and raised in Mumbai, Gladson was always a passionate musician and an active sportsperson during his school days. By the end of 10th standard, he was already playing 30 instruments, and currently, he has mastered as many as 45 instruments, thereby constituting the only one-man band in the country. As mentioned earlier, his biggest roadblock in the journey was pleural effusion, which led to non-functioning of almost 40% of his lungs. Advised by doctors to refrain from playing any instrument, Gladson was heading towards depression. “But then God sort of spoke to me. I was reminded of a picture that I had drawn in school wherein a man was surrounded by several musical instruments,” he recalls. It was sort of a Christmas gift for Gladson from the almighty himself and resulted in the artist rising from the ashes like a phoenix.

Talking about the road ahead, Gladson plans to strategise his profile on Likee. Apart from creating an increased number of entertaining videos, also on the anvil is providing Hindi tutorial for Ukulele, a niche member of the lute family of instruments. Bollywood too is on his mind. “I am exploring all the avenues, including Bollywood. But I would wait for something good to happen,” he says.

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