Liberty High School student Malavika Brijesh started singing when she was 3 ½ years old. In the time since, she has studied Indian Classical Carnatic Music and spent countless hours honing her skills. This year, as a junior in high school, she used her voice to help raise $34,000 for Ladybug House, a nonprofit organization working to build Washington state’s first palliative care and hospice home for children, adolescents, and young adults with life-threatening illnesses.
“Malavika Brijesh is an extraordinary example of today’s youth,” Ladybug House officials said in a press release. “Her determination and leadership speak volumes and we hope she will encourage others to participate in making a difference.”
Singing has been Brijesh’s passion for her whole life, she said. “When I sing, it makes me forget about everything else going on at that moment. It brings me a sense of peace. What makes singing even better is the performance aspect of it. Honestly, I would call the stage my second home. Whether I am singing, dancing, or acting, I am always the happiest version of myself up there.”
The idea for the fundraiser came from her desire to give back to the community, she explained. “Many of us are so privileged to live our normal, healthy lives, when there are children out there who are suffering. I wanted to use what I had to help them. Those children are what inspired me to make a positive impact in our community through my music,” Brijesh said.
About 300 people attended the fundraiser, which took place this spring at the IKEA Performing Arts Center in Renton, and others were able to watch online. Brijesh sang, accompanied by several adult instrumentalists, for 2 ½ hours.
Although she hoped the concert would be successful, she never dreamed they would bring in $34,000 for Ladybug House, she said. “This is a huge amount of money, and the fact that every single penny goes towards a good cause is so heartwarming.”
Brijesh said that out of the selections they played, her favorite is a song called “Nenaruchi Nanu,” because it is an extremely fast-paced song, which makes it challenging and fun to perform.
In elementary, she enjoyed singing in the school choir, and at Maywood Middle School, she loved performing in school musicals such as “Beauty and the Beast.” Throughout school, Brijesh has also participated in school talent shows; and, in 2020, she was named the runner-up Singing Sensation in a singing reality show produced by an Indian TV Channel called “Flowers TV.” When she’s dancing, Brijesh performs the Bharatanatyam, and has also danced Bollywood, contemporary and other styles. This year, she was a member of the Liberty drill team, and she currently takes singing lessons from Raman Iyer, a renowned musician in the Seattle area.
For a playlist of songs from the fundraiser event, visit YouTube.
Learn more about Ladybug House on their website.
Photos courtesy of the Brijesh family.