Aug 9, 2021

“Music Is My Vision”

Beacon Stories

Sirine’s passion in life is music. To help cope with her vision loss, Sirine has turned to singing and songwriting as an outlet to express herself, which won over the hearts of the judges and fans of Britain’s Got Talent.

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Sirine sitting at and playing the piano.

Sirine Jahangir is a 16-year-old singer and songwriter who grew to stardom when she reached the semi-finals during season 14 of Britain's Got Talent. During her Britain’s Got Talent audition, Sirine said, “Music is my vision; It’s what I live by,” which summarizes her vision loss journey so well.

Sirine’s vision loss began when she was just five years old. Her parents first noticed that something seemed wrong with her left eye while visiting Morocco, where Sirine’s mother is from, as she was bumping into things while she walked. Sirine’s parents took her to the eye doctor, where they confirmed Sirine was legally blind in her left eye. But over time, Sirine slowly started to lose vision in her right eye as well. Eventually, at the age of ten, Sirine lost the majority of her vision in both eyes.

Growing up, Sirine remembers loving to boss her younger brothers around at home, but at school, it was challenging to make friends, as her peers recognized her as “different.” With a lack of accommodations, public school felt very difficult for Sirine. So, at 11 years old, Sirine’s family moved so she could attend a school where she was able to learn braille and receive mobility training.

Sirine and her mom having tea together.

Sirine and her mom having tea.

Very recently, in May 2021, Sirine was finally diagnosed with optic nerve atrophy after experiencing debilitating headaches that led her doctors to discover multiple tumors which have been causing damage to her optic nerve.

“This recent hospitalization experience is such a massive part of my story,” says Sirine. “I’ve been blind for over ten years, but we only now found out that I have tumors which have been causing my blindness. It’s really taught me that whatever challenges life throws, I’m going to appreciate what I do have.”

After losing most of her vision, Sirine turned to the piano and guitar as an outlet to express herself. Around the age of 12 is when Sirine remembers beginning to sing and write music. Two years later, Britain’s Got Talent reached out to her about auditioning for the show.

Sirine recalls her experience on Britain’s Got Talent to be very nerve-wracking since she couldn’t see the stage and could only hear the audience. Thinking back, Sirine says it felt like a dream.

Sirine standing behind a microphone.

Sirine smiling and standing behind a microphone.

“I was so nervous performing in front of a huge audience for the first time,” says Sirine. “But I’m so glad I overcame my nerves; it was all worth it.”

This fall, Sirine will be attending the BRIT School, the leading performing and creative arts school in the UK, to continue advancing and pursuing her musical dreams.

Currently, Sirine produces and writes her own music. The first song Sirine ever wrote was called, It’s Hard to Bring Me Down, influenced by her vision loss journey.

Sirine gets vocal inspiration from artists like Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, but most of Sirine’s songs are influenced by her life experiences. To stay inspired, Sirine loves reading motivation quotes and writing out what she's grateful for each day, including her biggest inspiration, her dad. Sirine’s family and music have helped her to cope the most with her vision loss over the years.

“My vision loss has helped me to discover my true self,” says Sirine. “You can’t be happy without experiencing the struggles. I live by the quote, “you’re the only person stopping yourself,” and I realize it doesn’t matter what other people think about me.”