As Jonathan Butler sings on his forthcoming “Living My Dream,” all eleven songs are “All About Love.” Whether they are R&B vocal tunes or contemporary jazz instrumentals, the original compositions that comprise the set that the two-time Grammy nominee produced are meditations on love of family, country and spirit. Butler deftly weaves words and melodies into compelling real life stories inspired by his own pained journey. Last year’s struggles serve as the theme of the material the singer-songwriter-guitarist serves up on next Tuesday’s (June 24) album release.
Finally arriving at a place in his life where he felt comfortable saying it, Butler, who grew up living under Apartheid while becoming a recording artist who was the first black artist played on white radio stations in South Africa, embraced his blessings as the fulfillment of his dreams. He entered the House of Blues studios in Los Angeles to record as he used to - live with the band - while receiving a much needed push to write from his daughter and background vocalist Jodie Butler and guitarist-programmer Dennis Dodd Jr. He wrote the spiritually entitled “Be Still” with George Duke and “Let There Be Light” with Marcus Miller, the latter featuring the delicate touch of saxophonist Elan Trotman.
Butler’s multihued music has always crossed genres and topped charts in multiple radio formats thus a pair of singles from “Living My Dream” are being highlighted for airplay. On the instrumental side, Butler’s celebratory South African walkabout “African Breeze” is already blowing up the charts while the apologetic paean “Heart and Soul” makes a plea for spins to urban adult contemporary programmers. To support the disc, Butler is touring nationally sharing the stage with Grammy winner Norman Brown and Alex Bugnon.