NORFOLK, VA – The fine dining establishment, Brothers Norfolk, hosted a sold-out, three-day concert last weekend, starring South African singer-songwriter Jonathan Butler.
The event kicked off on Friday with the music he made throughout his career. One tune dates back to when he was 15 years old.
Butler has been in the professional scene since 1986 when he debuted his first album Introducing Jonathan Butler, in his mid-20s. He has earned two Grammy nominations, a Soul Train Nomination, and a South African Music Award. He also created records that reached Billboard’s top 100.
He credits most of his success to being able to find his voice. He was able to write songs such as 7th Avenue that allowed him to tell his story while staying true to himself.
“I feel like I have a calling to bring South African music and culture and its legacy forward,” said Butler, “I have to pass it on because we are not living in a box. We are living in a round world.”
Butler’s messages in music allowed him to work with established names in the music industry. His second album, Jonathan Butler, allowed him to go on tour and be an opening act for artists such as Whitney Houston, Eric Clapton, and Nancy Wilson.
As he came onto his platform, he began working with other artists such as Phyllis Hyman, Angela Goldfield, and George Duke. This musical veteran has seen a lot in his time, from record stores to streaming platforms.
Music has taken Butler around the world, but he sees every performance as a chance to connect with the crowd as his true self.
“It’s an opportunity to let you in on who I am, to reintroduce myself to an audience that knows me by music, but they don’t really know me,” Butler said.
Norfolk State University Foundation, Incorporated (NSUF) attended one of Butler’s performances and had good things to say.
“The performance was outstanding; it was both soulful and spiritual, and it lifted my spirit, and it reminded me of how much our community is important.” Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston, Norfolk State President, said, “What he does is he reminds us of his journey coming from South Africa, where I visited eight times. I worked in the township, so I understood his journey, and coming to today really makes it possible to think about our students who are on their own personal journey, whom we know can be all that they are meant to be if they have the support of their community.”
Butler is currently on a cross-country tour until December 23, 2022. He plans to continue spreading the message he began crafting as a seven-year-old boy who picked up a guitar.
“It takes a lifetime to find yourself, be free with who you are, and be comfortable in your own skin. Tell your own story,” said Butler, “I want people to know that they need to find their own voice there is so much out there.”