MIAMI, FL – Johnathan Burkett has been through a lot in his life.
Born in Miami, Florida to a Jamaican mother, he spent much of his childhood being abused by his mother. It eventually became so bad that he left home at the age of 14 and lived on the streets. Years later he learned that the abuse from his mother was born of tragedy in her own life, as he was the product of rape and every time his mother looked at him she was reminded of the violence done to her.
Living on the streets eventually put him afoul of the law, and he found himself in jail for a short stint, as well. It brought him to one of the lowest points in his life – so low that he seriously contemplated suicide at one point. But it was a girlfriend and her grandmother – who was a pastor – who encouraged him to get out all of the pent up anger and frustration in his heart before he exploded. And out of that encouragement came his first writings as a poet.
Today that poetry has been translated into music that Burkett hopes will inspire others and help them to see that they’re aren’t alone in their struggles.
“I’ve learned a lot over the years from friends and people who have encouraged me,” Burkett said. “Everybody who knew me and knew I was going through hard times in life always kept motivating me. They told me to keep trying and don’t give up. I learned that you just have to fight the battle – and that’s it. Just make it through. The more drama you go through, the more your eyes will be opened to what life is all about. If I didn’t go through all those struggles, I wouldn’t have all this knowledge and understanding of people. Not everyone has the strength to handle what they go through, and I want my music to help them understand and feel the hope that comes from knowing that there are other people out there who get it. I want to touch people with my words and catch their attention and really motivate them.”
His new single “One Life” is doing just that. Already the single is getting rave reviews from critics, and fans all over the country are downloading it. It’s a song he worked on with producer Willi Lindo and features artist Ambelique. He describes it as a song that’s a call to action for many people – a motivation to take one step after another in pushing through hard times.
“I grew up with people blessing me with their words and motivation, and this song is about blessing people with my words,” he said. “You only have one life to live, and you have to make the best out of it. Don’t let the past or other people hold you down. You have to keep striving no matter what. Even if what you’re going through doesn’t seem like a lesson at the time, do what you can to learn from it. The more drama you go through, the more lessons you have. The stronger you are, the better you are and the more chances you’ll have to be successful in life.”
Burkett also puts these challenges out there with his new book “Neglected but Undefeated: The Life of a Boy Who Never Knew a Mother’s Love.” It’s a book that he started while in jail and has finished in the years after being released. He said it details the thoughts that go through a lot of people’s heads when they’re going through troubles, and he hopes that by sharing his story it’ll encourage others.
Fans can get a sample of Burkett’s music by visiting his Soundcloud page, or by going to his website at JonathanBurkett.com. He also stays active on social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.