“Each album is a page of your life and this is the season of Jonathan Butler, the season of me,” said the South African singer-songwriter-guitarist about his just released “Living My Dream.” The two-time Grammy nominee and crossover chart-topper has always worn his heart on his sleeve while ruminating about his colorful life in his musical tales. He puts it all out there lyrically and on emotionally-charged instrumentals with the new set of original songs that he produced chronicling his struggles over the past couple of years.
Embodying his native land’s sound and spirit, “African Breeze,” the first instrumental serviced to radio from the new session, is No. 6 on this week’s Billboard Smooth Jazz Singles chart. The tune featuring Butler’s crafty nylon string guitar work was originally penned by the artist 30 years ago for “The Jewel of the Nile” soundtrack and was completely overhauled for the new disc. Fans of Butler’s impassioned vocal numbers will soon hear “Heart and Soul” on the air at urban adult contemporary radio stations. His music has been a staple at multiple radio formats ever since he inked with Jive Records in the mid-1980s. But Butler’s recording career dates back even earlier to when he grew up under Apartheid and won two South African Grammy Awards as a child star, the first black artist played on white radio stations.
“Living My Dream” is a balanced mix of soulful R&B vocals and expressive guitar poetry - love songs, spirituals and melodic meditations on family, country and faith. Butler has come through the fire tested yet never more aware of his blessed life thus the material conveys a profound sense of gratitude. The tracks were recorded using a live band in the House of Blues studio in Los Angeles and includes collaborations with George Duke, Marcus Miller and Elan Trotman.
Butler is performing music from the new release while touring the U.S. with Grammy winner Norman Brown and keyboardist Alex Bugnon. Next week, he will tape an interview and a performance to air on PBS’s Tavis Smiley Show.