When Daniel Petersen started playing drums, he was a 14 month old baby wearing diapers and sucking on a dummy. Some years later, not only has the 14 year old protégé been internationally celebrated for his skills on the drums, but he was also rewarded for his philanthropic work in helping kids from disadvantaged backgrounds.
On Saturday evening (US time), Daniel, received the ‘Barack Obama Lifetime Achievement Award’ for the work he has done through the Daniel Petersen Foundation. The foundation makes it possible for hundreds of kids from disadvantaged backgrounds to receive their own instruments and learn how to play those instruments. The Awards ceremony, which took place in New Orleans in the USA, aims to recognize those who have contributed positively to their community and country through their philanthropic work.
Born and bred in Kuils River (Cape Town), Daniel’s natural talent was accidentally discovered by his father when he walked in on 14 month old Daniel playing the drums like a pro. Since then, Daniel has become one of the most in-demand drummers in the world with a litany of accolades behind his name.
At the age of four, he became the youngest musician in the world to be endorsed by Yamaha Music and at age 6, he performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival USA. He has already completed a Degree in Music and he is the youngest student at London’s Trinity University to pass Grade 8 music exams with distinction. He’s also received a full tuition scholarship at the prestigious Louis Armstrong Satchmo Summer Jazz Camp in the USA.
He has performed for former President Thabo Mbeki, President Jacob Zuma, Former Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the former Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, Tito Mboweni and the South African Ambassador to the United States, Ebrahim Rasool.
He says his proudest moments were being invited to play at the late former president Nelson Mandela’s 90th and 93rd birthday celebrations in Portugal, as well as his 95th birthday celebrations held in Washington and Los Angeles.
Of the award, Daniel confessed that he did not have the words to express how he feels but he felt like “one of the happiest people in the world right now.” He currently divides his time between the US and SA, where he regularly gives motivational talks and workshops to the youth.
The advice he gives to others is that it’s never too late or too early to start anything because once you believe in yourself, that’s when you come one step closer to success. He also feels that one should also be “humble and kind to others because your actions will inspire others to be like you.”
Source: Destiny Man (Edited from an article written by Thandi Skade)