Jonathan Butler

With Christmas a few days away, you can be sure to expect fun-filled parties. One such event, Christmas with Jonathan Butler, should not be missed. The multiple Grammy award nominated artist (pictured) will perform at the Durban Christian Centre Jesus Dome on Friday.

In an exclusive interview with Tonight, I chatted to the singer-songwriter about his latest album and his hopes for the future as a musician.

“My music is most definitely a mix of genres. When I was a kid, my earlier material was very much pop-influenced, but now I have moved more towards R&B, soul and jazz.

“I love being able to express myself through music and getting immediate feedback from an audience. It’s the most rewarding thing,” says Butler.

His latest release, Grace and Mercy, is, Butler says, a foray into another genre that he’s really focused on. He elaborated: “I love recording gospel songs and we tour the US regularly playing large churches. This is my first gospel album in a while so I am very pleased with the outcome.

“Also, we debuted at No 1 on the Billboard charts in the US so the reaction has been fantastic. It was released in South Africa a few months back and sales are great. We’re planning a gospel tour next year.”

Having come such a long way as a Capetonian by birth, Butler has attained immense success across the globe. I asked him what he thinks is key to staying relevant in today’s ever-changing music industry.

“You have to focus on your strengths and not try to be someone you’re not. If you stay true to that it will go a long way in furthering your career. And to the youth and aspiring artists, don’t sell out, believe in what you’re doing and everyone else will believe it, too.

“It’s very easy to get caught up in some bad things when you’re growing up. Don’t get caught up in drugs and alcohol because it’s just a crutch and is definitely not the truth. I’ve travelled that road and am lucky to be alive. So I talk from experience,” he said.

Fans of this sensational singer will be pleased to know that he has a lot more in store.

“I’m working on a new secular album for next year and have already recorded a few tracks. It’s leaning towards a more urban sound and I think it’s going to be interesting.

“Also, I plan to do a gospel tour in October. We’re working on a jazz radio show and a tour of the US with some South African acts. I’m also hoping to work with artists like Afrotraction, Lira and others for a collaboration album in 2014,” Butler said.

• Catch Christmas with Jonathan Butler on Friday at the Durban Christian Centre, Jesus Dome, 39 Garth Rd, Mayville at 7pm. Tickets: R150 at Computicket.