Jonathan Butler is a singer-songwriter and guitarist who leads a life few can imagine. Born in South Africa under the shadow of apartheid and raised in poverty, Butler was the first non-white artist to be played on South African radio and appear on national television. Though his musical abilities would take him away from the world he grew up in, Jonathan would neither forget the plight of his fellow South Africans, nor the man that led them to freedom. It is for this reason Nelson Mandela credits Butler’s music as having inspired him during his imprisonment. In more ways than one, Jonathan Butler is representative of South Africa.
Jonathan’s story begins at a very young age when his father presented him with a homemade one-string guitar. Little did his father realize that he was giving way to a musical phenomenon. From then on, Jonathan’s musical gifts grew by leaps and bounds. In his early teens Butler won a local talent contest, affording him the opportunity to perform with a touring musical company throughout South Africa. On occasion he would perform at lavish concert halls for whites only, where he would not be allowed to use the bathroom, and the very next night he would perform in a dilapidated local township. Ultimately, his ticket to a new life was music.
At thirteen, Jonathan’s talents caught the eyes and ears of the British record producer Clive Caulder. He was signed to Caulder’s Jive Records and the rest is history. Jonathan’s first single broke down racial barriers becoming the first song by a black artist played by white radio stations in South Africa and won the South African equivalent to a Grammy®.
His commitment to his craft came to fruition with his self-titled debut album, which received a Grammy® nomination for the pop hit “Lies.” An instrumental “Going Home” earned him another Grammy® nomination and the mid-tempo ballad “Sarah, Sarah” confirmed Butler’s place in popular music.
However, to Jonathan Butler, success is measured on a higher plane.
A religious and spiritual man, Butler dedicates his life to being a devoted father and grandfather, and a caring citizen to his homeland, South Africa.
And in spite of all the hardships, Jonathan Butler has an air of playfulness and quiet resilience that is easily visible in his passionate performances.
- Close To You by Chris Mosey
June 23, 2014
For Jonathan Butler, Living His Dream Is Now A Breeze
April 30, 2014
Rising Above The Struggles, Butler Is Living His Dream
November 04, 2013
Jonathan Butler's Holiday Spirit Of Giving Gives Year-Round
August 28, 2013
This Christmas Will Be A Very Special Christmas For Jonathan Butler
May 14, 2013
Soul Of Summer A Multicutural Affair
September 25, 2012
Jonathan Butler Releases New Album, "Grace And Mercy"
September 23, 2010
Jazz This Week: Kenny Barron and Mulgrew Miller, Jonathan Butler, Phil...
September 19, 2010
STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Spotlight on Jonathan Butler
July 21, 2010
Jonathan Butler to Play Friday, September 24 at 560 Music Center
May 13, 2010
Jonathan Butler Releases His Highly Anticipated CD "So Stong"
Jonathan ButlerMusic Hall At Fair Park
Jonathan ButlerThe Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre
Jonathan ButlerYoshi's Oakland
Jonathan ButlerKoka Booth Amphitheatre
The Desert Jazz Festival 2023The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa
Rancho Mirage, CA
Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson
Close To You
Mack Avenue Records
Grace And Mercy
Live in South Africa
The Worship Project