Jonathan Burkett embraces 'changes'
American rapper Jonathan Burkett is the ultimate survivor. Homeless at the age of 14, abandoned by his parents, and afflicted by a brain aneurysm then a brain tumour, Burkett has an intimate relationship with adversity. This pain and a will to endure shine through in his inspirational brand of hip hop soul music.
His new song, Changes, featuring Latin singer Polancapop, reflects Burkett's philosophy that change, although uncomfortable and often difficult, is a necessary part of any individual's life.
"I believe that Polancapop, with her soaring voice and her personality, is giving this song a boost. she is part of the Latin world because she is Spanish. the song is getting love in that world, everybody loves the track as far as the beat, the messages, melody and energy," he said.
Changes is produced by Troyton Rami, best known for co-producing Sean Paul's 2001 smash hit, Gimme The Light, and was released recently.
It is the follow-up to One Life, another message-oriented song Burkett wrote, that was produced by Willie Lindo's Heavy Beat Records.
The increased buzz around the Changes song led to the release of a video, and Burkett's EP Born to Make It was re-released on August 1 on iTunes.
"I do this and make the kind of inspirational music I make because of the upsetting childhood I've gone through. Music helps me to feel good and feel thankful for just life itself," he said.
Burkett was born in Miami but grew up in Jamaica with his grandparents after both his parents abandoned him.
Then social services in the US demanded that he return to the country at age five. He spent years in foster homes in south Florida.
"I used to come back to Jamaica every summer during my teenage years," he said.
Burkett returns to Jamaica periodically now, more often to give back to his community and to impoverished schools in the inner city.
"I give back to kids mostly because I feel your childhood inspires you to become the person that you could be. It took me a while in my adult life to get over all the things I've been through, but I've made it through ... thanks to God, my Lord and saviour," he said.