South Africa's drummer Danny is heading to the Grammys


Cape Town - Danny Petersen, who thrilled the world with his ability to play the drums – untaught – before he could even talk is now reaching new heights.

The 14-year-old’s magical musical journey starts when he performs at the 2018 Grammy Awards afterparty in Hollywood on 28 January.

He said the Grammys would be the first event of this nature and magnitude.

“I guess I’ll just soak it all in. I was shocked at first. It’s all so exciting and heart-warming to be chosen out of all the artists, especially being from South Africa.

“To be part of this auspicious event and representing my country is a huge honour.”


Since he became the youngest drummer to receive a lifetime endorsement from Yamaha, as well as the youngest student to be enrolled at the University of the Western Cape, the talented youngster has been flying high.

Danny described 2017 as a great year for his career.

“At the beginning of the year I was in the US for six months. I was there motivating and inspiring about 15 000 students to go for their dreams. I also performed for the kids.”

He received a lifetime achievement award from former US president Barack Obama which he described as “an award only for Americans but my Dad and I are the only two people to receive the award, who aren’t American.”

He reckons the Grammys will be a great opportunity for him to network with some of the biggest names in music.

Asked to imagine the one artist he would love to collaborate with, Danny had several names:

“It would be an honour to collaborate with Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, Snarky Puppy, Pharrell Williams, Stevie Wonder, Beyoncé, J Cole ... to name a few.”

But, he said, he draws inspiration from two artists a lot closer to home:

“My Grandpa Danie Petersen, who is 81 and still rides his motorbike and plays his saxophone in the church choir. Also, my dad who gave up his career to help with mine. He guides me daily in music and life.”

Danny will also be heading to the New Orleans jazz festival this year and he plans to release an album soon.

But he will also be focusing on getting his PhD by age 22 – and maybe a Grammy of his own too.

His parents could not be more proud of him.

“The world is his oyster now,” Petersen said.

“As for keeping the young prodigy grounded, we don’t have to do much as he’s very grounded already. We provide a loving home for him where he can be himself.”

From early on the Petersens involved Danny in charity and giving back.

It is still a big part of their family life.

The Daniel Petersen III Foundation helps aspiring musicians by providing instruments, music lessons, vocal training and the more technical side of music.

Upon his return from the US, Danny will go on a countrywide tour to motivate and inspire young people at schools to follow their dreams.

He wants to try to reach at least 20 000 kids a month.

But his dad said: “We will need support to transport Danno’s team, his equipment ...”

Readers can visit Danny’s website and contributions would be appreciated.

(Photo: Supplied/City Press)

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