He goes by the name Samuel Daniel Panam. If he did not tell you anything you will take him as the biological son of the Panam Percy Paul; the gospel music maestro.
The name notwithstanding, if you hear him sing and you had not met Panam Percy Paul before meeting him, you will take him as Panam. His voice is a complete clone of that of Panam. He carries the same passion. The same zeal and perhaps the same grace. Save for the age difference, Samuel Daniel could just be described as Panam’s twin brother in the world of music.
But Daniel did not set out to be like Panam. Born to a soldier father and a mother who was into petty trading, his initial love was to be in the military. He attempted to join the army but because he does not have a “flat” foot he was disqualified at the final interview. He was now left wondering what to do with his life.
Before making effort to join the military he had led an unstable life coming to Christ and abandoning him at intervals. “I gave my life to Christ at Ibadan after my school certificate. But I was off and on. I did not make him the Lord of my life. I took to several crimes that almost truncated my destiny. But God was faithful,” he recalled.
At a point he almost went berserk. “There was a time I went to smoke weed and I topped it with St. Morizt cigarette. Just after taking the cigarette I began to see all kinds of strange things. It was evident I was going to run mad. A voice would come to me and tell me to tear my cloth; another voice would say stop. I was hallucinating and it was as if my head would blow up. But the man who took me out recommended I take some garri that day. That was what calmed me down. I became normal.”
All in between this seeming lack lustre lifestyle; Daniel had developed an incurable penchant for the music of Panam Percy Paul. He would sing the music and many who heard him just fell in love with his voice. In the church where he worshipped there were those who came to the church because they wanted to hear him sing. “All this while that I was off and on in faith, I was being celebrated in the church because of my singing ability. But I knew that I was empty inside.”
When his ambition to join the army failed his sister said to him in soothing voice, “brother, since this army thing is not working why not just rededicate your life to Christ and pursue a career in music. I can see that you have a great potential in that regard.”
That was the spark he needed. Pronto, he got up and headed to the church in the barrack where his family lived. “I went to the church and stayed there for almost one month. They used to allow people to sleep in the church. I was there praying and waiting on God holding vigil daily. I began to pray that God would make it possible for me to meet Panam Percy Paul. It was just my dream to see him so I can learn at his feet.”
God answered. One night in his sleep he had a dream and saw that he was with Panam in a Mercedes Benz car. The dream was so real. The following morning, he did not hesitate. He went to meet his father and told him he was going to meet Panam in Jos. The father laughed and wondered how that would happen since he had never met him before.
His father did not support his move but did not object to his travelling either. But then there was no money to travel. By faith he took his bag and went to the motor park. His plan to travel through Plateau Riders the popular transport company plying the Jos-Lagos route, thinking he would get a free ride failed. But a soldier friend who saw him at the park offered to help him with transport fare the following day.
His dream came through. He travelled to Jos. Just the way he saw himself and Panam in the dream was the exact scene that played out when he met with Panam. Contrary to the expectations of some who knew Panam to have turned down several people who came to him, he was welcomed by the Panam family. He spent an initial two weeks with Panam and was introduced to Panam Music world before he travelled back to his parents.
“By the time I came back from my two-week stay with Panam all those who knew I travelled were wondering what happened to me. I had changed completely. My body was looking fresh. My father who had been sceptical of my move was so elated. He was ready to release me to go and stay with Panam.”
That was the beginning of his now 20 years relationship with Panam Percy Paul. He went back to meet the music legend in Jos six months after and stayed with him to learn sound engineering. Apart from doing music with Panam, he studied Psychology at the University of Jos on the sponsorship of a sister who fell in love with his music.
“There was no time Panam Percy Paul sat me down to teach me in the real sense. But I was just observing him and watching his moves. There was a time I was doing his song and one of his band member stopped me and said I should carve my own niche. I said there was no way I could carve my own niche because this is the man I love and I had adored all my life” he recalled.
There was another time he was singing and one of Panam’s sister saw him on the mic and thought it was Panam that was singing. One day I was eating at the dinning with Panam and he made a rather ceremonious adoption of me as his son. He left a portion of his food for me eat and also a portion of his drink. I ate the food and took the drink. Then he told me he was doing that to give me an assurance that he was taking me as a son. He told me he wanted me to bear his name wherever I go and I should sing his songs.”
He said to me, “Tell people you are my son. You don’t need to explain anything to them.” This was done twice. He specifically gave me the permission to bear his name. But he pleaded with me that I should not spoil the name because the name is linked with Jesus.”
Even before he started going about with the name people who heard him sing were already calling him Panam. “In my choir at the Living Faith Church in Kaduna all they needed to hear is my voice and people started calling me Panam even before announcing to them that I now bear Panam. I was the only person of all the people that Panam trained that picked his voice exactly.”
He still reports to Panam but not all the time. “I call him to let him know what I am doing. We are still always in touch. I have two albums to my credit. I am working on a new album I want to release before the second quarter of 2019. This is my life. I was working with NBL Kaduna but God told me to resign and follow my heart. God told me there is a calling on my life and that calling is music.”
Being in the music industry for Daniel is not a tea party. “I separate two days in a week to pray for my ministry. And I have been seeing the impact of prayers on my life. I get invitations a lot and God has been proving himself in my life anytime I minister. There was a day a brother was so touched by my music that he had to put some money in my account.”
On whether he charges for his ministration, he said, “I don’t charge but I encourage those who invite me to pay my basic bill. My family is my first ministry. We have to survive before ministration so anybody who invites me should be ready to pay my transport, accommodation and give me something at the end of the ministration. I have a family to report to. If my family is not happy with me the ministry will not prosper.”