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Growing up in apartheid South Africa, Jonathan Butler saw what most of us have never dreamed. When it was discovered that he had such strong talent so early in life, he was given the opportunity to tour his country with a troupe of 100 children. In performance mode - with stops in so many places - he saw extreme poverty and extreme wealth. The hallmark of oppression and injustice. It must have shaken Jonathan to the core...so he decided to let his talent take him up - and away.
In 1974, he was a teen with a record deal. And Jonathan became the first Black citizen of South Africa to be played on white radio there. "Please Stay" meant a lot - it won the equivalent of a Grammy - and it paved the way for the multitude of successes that were to come. But no success was more satisfying than becoming a Christian at the age of 19. His late brother-in-law took the time to nurture and teach a troubled young man - and it registered. We who have experienced this amazingly spiritual singer/songwriter/guitarist on stage are forever grateful!
There have been accolades through these past glorious career years from Contemporary Jazz, Soul and Gospel circles. Jonathan is mindful of his wide audience - but also faithful - more than ever - to his ministry. "Grace and Mercy" attests to that. These are songs written about his own life - with strong challenges - and for those who have struggled with their own trials. He wants the listener to feel the faith, hope and optimism in these songs - so that belief will come. As it did for him, as a young man, caught in the crossfire of rebellion and anguish - and brought out of that into the ultimate peace. This new project is important to JB, and he'll explain how much when he visits me on a very special Birthday edition of the show - on 10/16. Grace and mercy: have some :)
It's good to talk.