Panam Percy Paul Biography
Bakulipanam Percy Paul Mokungah, populary known as Panam Percy Paul, is a Nigerian gospel singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose musical career spans 40 years. He was born to major Paul Harley, an officer in the Nigerian Army, and composer Paulina Paul Mokungah in 1957. Both of his parents are of the Lutheran Church. Paul’s kind of music is praise and worship styled in the feel of country music and African high life.
Panam Percy Paul Music Career
Panam Percy Paul started his musical career at age twenty while he was still in school as an undergraduate in the Kaduna state polytechnique . And while he still in the pursuit of his career, he got a job with Radio ELWA Christian Communications as a production supervisor and engineer.
Panam Percy Paul Early Life
Panam Percy Paul spent his early life in various parts of Nigeria because his father was an officer (Major) in the Nigerian Army, and he was always on reassignment. his parents are members of the Lutheran Church.
Panam Percy Paul mother was a composer. Whenever his father was transferred to a new place, they would go to church there. his mother would join the women’s choir or women’s fellowship of that church and would write Christian songs for them to sing.
His father liked music too, especially the American “country western” music, and he had a big collection of gramophone records made by singers such as Jim Reeves. He used to listen to these records and imagine that he was the singer.
Panam Percy Paul Musical Instruments
In 1961, Panam Percy Paul started to play his first musical instrument, the harmonica. His father taught him to play the keyboard. He started playing the guitar in 1975. Even the man who actually taught him how to play the guitar did not even believe that He learnt it from him.
Panam Percy Pau teacher, Mr. Saidi was teaching a fellow student how to play the guitar… and he saw how the student was arranging his fingers on the guitar and looking at the chord chart, and he became interested. So after a while he had the need to go to the bathroom and so He picked it up and within 15 minutes, he was already playing the C, F, and G notes and singing.
Helater asked my father to buy a guitar, so he bought a cheap acoustic guitar for him. Hetaught himself to play and would try to mimic the song and play along on my father’s records.
Later, Panam Percy Paul would entertain his parents, brothers and sisters by playing the guitar and singing along. My renditions. They would all laugh, but my mother would encourage me saying, “Son, keep it up. Something good is going to come out of that.”
Panam Percy Paul once entered for a music competition, but his preparation was insufficient. Facing the crowd, he became so nervous that his performance was woeful. He did not know what to do so his father walked up and dragged him off the stage. Panam Percy Paul was humiliated, but he was not discouraged. He practiced diligently, entered the competition again the next year and took first position.
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Panam Percy Paul Knowing Christ
“I became born again on June 13, 1976. I was what you might consider a sickler but not as having sickle cell anaemia. Every 3 months in a year found me bedridden because I had high fever there was some kind of congestion or whatever in my chest. Each time it came, it was so bad that I thought I would die.
Panam Percy Paul Wife – Panam Percy Paul Wedding
Paul fell in love with Tina and they were married in 1981 when he was 24 years old.
Panam Percy Paul Children
The couple has four children: Leah, Lisa, Harley and Loraine in that order. He however, has three adopted children and they are Jemima Mbaya, Elsie June Adum and Godfrey Gillings Panam ( Godfrey Panam ), and many grand children.
Panam Percy Paul Awards
- 1992 – FAME Gospel Music Award – Best Vocalist of the Year
- 1995 – BMI Music Award – Artist of the Year
- 1996 – Adamawa State Excellence
- 2014 – Crystal Awards – Crystal Lifetime Achievement Award
Panam Percy Paul Songs
- All Over to You
- Come Let’s Praise the Lord
- Bring Down Your Glory
- That’s All I Need
- This Is Our Time
- Peter’s Song
- I Will Not Change My Mind
- Come Let Us Worship
- Empty Promises
- He That Dwelleth
- Higher Than High
- By your blood
- Master of the Universe
- African way
- Holy Is The Lord
- Lord I Need You
- I shall not die
- Bow Down
- This is the day
- Walk Together
- Cheer Up
- There is a God
- Jesus is Coming
- The War
- God of War
- I Will Follow
- come lets praise
- My Body
- He Shall Reign
- Lifting Holy Hands
- Father We Worship You
- I Will Make My Life
- Rise Again
- You’re the Lord
- Few Days
- Hold Somebody
- Bless The Lord
- Come Let Us Worship
- Eagle Man
- Covenant Son
- You Blessed Me
- Never Too Late
- In the Night Time
- Come Let Us Worship (Medley)
- Serving A Living God
- He Knows
- The African Way
- Created to Worship
- You and Me
- Don’t Give Up
Panam Percy Paul Interview
Gospel artiste Panam Percy Paul has been a blessing to different people with his songs. He pioneered gospel music in Africa…..after 40 long years on the music scene, it is safe to say he has risen to the pedestal of an icon. Read this interesting interview he recently had with Leadership:
As someone who has been around for more than four decades, you have become a celebrated musician and respected as the man who has seen it all.How does this make you feel?
Panam Percy Paul: Honestly, I feel good, happy and elated. The 40 years we are celebrating is my time as a gospel minister. Before I became a gospel singer, I had played secular music in the club for about 10 years. So, adding everything up, let’s say I’ve been in the game for about 50 years. I feel very elated, not because of the longevity, but because I think I’ve been able to utilise my time well in affecting the society, moulding a whole generation and also igniting and, probably, starting a ministry that did not exist before. Today, it’s not only a ministry; it’s also an industry that is worth over N1bn. I am not, in any way, trying to take the glory for myself but I’m just giving gratitude to God. Despite all the rejection I went through – I was disowned by my father – I have become a global phenomenon. Also, the fact that there are reliable people who I can gladly pass the baton to makes me happy.
What are some of the challenges you have faced along the way?
Panam Percy Paul: There have been challenges, of course, but I thank God for making me overcome them. For me, music has been a calling and growing up was great, because my father taught me to play various instruments, especially the accordion, in 1961. I was also fascinated with the drums and my dad also took me to a music teacher who trained me on how to use my voice for about five years.
That was the kind of background I had. So, this gave me the confidence I needed to overcome later problems in life. One major challenge I had was convincing my father to accept that I had become a gospel musician. He wanted me to join the army, since he was a major in the army. But I was so drawn to and overwhelmed by music. In fact, the attraction was too strong. My father said he would have understood if I had said I wanted to be a regular pastor and that he would give me every support. But (in his own words) “to be walking down the street with a guitar… I just don’t understand what kind of pastoring that is”. I had lots and lots of job offers just to keep me away from music but none of them worked out.
Then one day, I visited my father, not knowing that he had invited his lawyer. The lawyer came with my dad’s will and blotted out my name completely. At that time, I didn’t know what it meant, until I paid him a visit in Yola some years after he disowned me. I tried greeting him the normal way I used to but he did not respond. It was then it dawned on me that I had really been disowned.
Nineteen years later, during the release of my album Master of the Universe in Yola, my father was there. The surprising thing was that, despite the fact that we were not on good terms, my father had all my albums. I mean, he loved them. He had finally come to terms with the fact that I was a gospel minister. It took him 19 years to accept that. After the concert I drove him home and while we were in the car, he said he was sorry. He also pointed out that, “for the first time in your life you did not obey me”.
So, it is safe to conclude that you are the pioneer of African Gospel music?
Panam Percy Paul: Yes, it is quite safe to say that.
As a full-time minister, how have you been able to juggle your ministry and family life?
In all my years as a man, husband and father, I’ve come to realise that everything is based on timing. You can’t be a father, an engineer or a husband for 24 hours. So, whenever I’m with my children, I’m a father. Whenever I’m with my wife, I’m a husband. When I’m in church, I’m a pastor. When I’m on stage, I’m a music minister. I learnt from my father that you can do everything in one day. You just have to apportion time for everything. At a point, everything I did was music. I couldn’t function, think, eat or sleep. Everything was music.
I once rehearsed for 27 hours straight. I had neither day nor night! I have also gone three weeks without a wink and I have done that three times. As shocking as it might sound, I went one and a half years without food. I was only drinking water and Lucozade boost and this was before the release of my album Bring Back the Glory 1. I lost appetite for food from May 1984 to December 12th 1986. When people ask me the reason for this, I just tell them I wanted to be close to God. I wanted to interact with him. At some point, I thought I was possessed – with the spirit of music, that is!
You have performed all over the world and at many concerts, but have you been able to survive off the proceeds of music alone? Do you have any other source of income?
Panam Percy Paul: I think the major thing is the satisfaction you derive from meeting the needs of people who in need of words of encouragement and life. That is the basic payment for me. What I want to achieve is passing on the scroll to the next generation. This is one of the reasons why I made the concert free for everybody. I could have asked people to pay and they would have but you cannot put a price on the anointing that people receive at my concerts. But then, if you want to know if gospel music pays, I can tell you that it does in the long run, especially when you have a good database of fans or followers who will gladly buy your CDs and support your music.
You have released over 14 albums, with the first released in 1976. Tell me, which is your favourite and why?
Certainly, I don’t have a favourite. Maybe, when it comes down to a few things that will draw me to them, like the recording quality. There are some where I got the mix-down very well while there are others which were downright bad. But in terms of message and relevance, I love all of them. They are my stories, testimonies of where I was at the time I wrote the song. So, they help me reconnect with the God who is mindful of me and who helped me pass through all the difficulties of life.
Someone with a vast experience like yourself must have memorable moments which you recall with nostalgia. Tell us some of them
Panam Percy Paul: Well, I have a lot of such moments. One of them was the first time I ministered at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna. I got there and the stadium was full, with about 20 to 30,000 people were in the stadium. Another moment was in September 6, 1993 when I gave a concert at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York City. It was memorable, because in 1967, I had watched, on television, James Brown performing at that same theatre. As I sat watching, I made a promise to myself that, one day, I would be on that stage. So, for a dream of 1967 to be fulfilled in 1993 was, for me, simply mind-blowing!
Have you had any embarrassing moments?
Panam Percy Paul: (Laughs) I have had a lot of them. Very embarrassing ones at that and remembering them is not something I want to do.
What do you think is responsible for relevance all these years? I mean, 40 years is no small time in the industry…
Panam Percy Paul: It’s simple, it is vision. I have a vision and the vision is mobile. It improves. The vision that I had in the ‘60s is still the same. They haven’t changed, they’ve just improved. So what I have done all this while is that I’ve been adjusting in the mode of delivery but the message itself has not changed. And I’ll carry this vision till my very last breath. My vow to God is that no one should stay or relate with me for one second and not get anything positive from me. There should be a positive impact in the life of the person because of his or her interaction with me. This is what makes me relevant.
Do you have anything ‘major’ that people do not know about you?
Panam Percy Paul: Well, I think people do not know how educated I am. They just know that I am Dr Panam Percy Paul and that’s it. They think my ‘Dr’ is just honorary, but it’s not. I am very widely read and I have three doctorate degrees – in sound, music and philosophy. For me it’s not just the acquisition of degrees [that classifies me as a ‘read’ man] but the acquisition of knowledge to be able to communicate with people. I read for two hours every day. Yes, I have received honorary degrees nonetheless, but, by God’s grace, I am very knowledgeable.
Any word for your fans?
Panam Percy Paul: I just want them to know that I’ll be delving into previously uncharted waters. One of my next albums will be an album of love songs. That is because we have people falling in love without knowing how to love. Some people just live together without really knowing each other. So, I am releasing this album that will address love and relationship in general. And I also might put out my jazz collection and some instrumentals that I have worked on over the years. And I’m also going on an international tour later in the year. I’ll be performing in the USA, England and South Africa, just to say thanks to my fans all over the world. My fans are all I’ve got, because without them I’ll still not be relevant today.