Emerging music star, Emmanuel Kalu Okoro Gilbert, popularly known as Panta, has revealed how his legs and hands got paralyzed, which he said has kept him on a wheelchair, after an incident that happened about 23 years ago.
The 25-year old upcoming music artiste spoke with EDITH CHUKU in this exclusive entertainment interview, during the weekend. Here, he premiered his latest single, “What about you” revealed his sources of inspiration, explained how he contemplated suicide, the rejections he faced, how he sacrificed his passion to study computer engineering and took to music, among other shocking issues.
Can we meet you?
I am Emmanuel Kalu, from Abia State. I’m the first son and child of my mother. I finished my secondary school in 2017, I am 25 years, a musician who is very passionate about music and love doing it.
Was music really your passion from childhood?
Well, truly I wanted to study computer engineering, that’s what I wanted to do, but, I’m here now, there is no regret, I’ve found solace in music, I communicate to the world through it, I express myself with it. So, it’s everything and more to me now, doing music gives me so much joy, so you see, that is what I can do and that is what I do.
Talking about what you can do and what you do, I’ve been wondering, what really happened to you, were you born like this?
Actually, I don’t know. I wasn’t born like this. According to my mum, she said that I fell down, normal falling that children use to fall, when I was about two years. So I fell down, from that time I couldn’t walk again.
Just like that?
Hmm! I’ve gone to many places; hospitals, churches, but all were to no avail, so that is it.
You mean it happened while you were just two years old?
Yes, I was about two years. Since then, I’ve been here, like this.
And your hands, they are very slim, long, as well as your fingers?
I don’t know, I can’t explain what happened actually, I don’t know, what I told you is exactly what I was told.
Let’s talk about schooling, how did you cope?
I coped with the help of my family. With my family, I was able to pull through, they used to take me to school when I was in secondary school.
My mum used to help me with all that.
Back to your musical career, have you ever been turned down because of your condition?
Yes, yes, many times.
Tell us one, maybe the most recent.
One that happened I think recently was that last year, I saw a man that posted about free music production on Facebook so I chatted him. We planned to meet. On that day, when I got there, he saw that I am on a wheelchair and he just left me, he didn’t even try to do as if he recognized me; that was really painful.
And have you ever contemplated suicide?
Yes. It was the time my daddy died, I was with him. So, I didn’t have money to take him to the hospital, and he died in the process. So, I was asking myself, why will I be alive, be in this condition and watch my dad give up like that, that really hurt me a lot.
Then tell us, why music?
When I finished my secondary school, I was looking for what to do, so my uncle told me to go and learn computer. When I went for the computer lesson, they told me that I cannot do it because my hands are paralyzed, that it malfunctions. So, since then I didn’t know what again to do. So I discovered that I have this talent in music and music is also my passion so that is why I went for music.
How long have you been in the industry?
I started in 2021, last year. I have two singles, the recent one is titled “what about you”, and that is the one I am premiering.
Where did the motivation come from?
What motivated me is what is happening in the world, like no man has it all. Don’t use what you have to oppress others because you don’t know tomorrow, no man knows tomorrow, nothing in life is static, things change, people rise and fall.
How far do you want to take your music career?
Music is my voice, I want to take it so high. I want the world to hear me, hear about me, I want to motivate people via my music, I want my music to go very far.
Among the famous Nigerian musicians, who do you admire most?
I will go for Davido and performing with him will mean the world to me. My parents have been really supportive, my siblings, friends, and I am grateful. Honestly, I need support, I need help, I need push, I need sponsors, this is all I do myself, I’m on wheelchair, my hands are paralyzed, doing music keeps me very much alive and happy, I really need help to push on.
Also, I will like to advise people in similar state never to give up, keep pushing because one day everything go better, that is even one of my single, “eh go better one day.”