South African-born Legendary singer-songwriter and guitarist JONATHAN BUTLER recently released his 23rd album, Close to You, a collection of Burt Bacharach songs interpreted in his own way. I caught up with the Grammy nominated musician to discuss the project, career highlights, the key to his longevity in the industry and much more...
JONATHAN BUTLER: Well, first of all, this CD is comprised of some of the best songs ever written in the history of songwriting and for me as a songwriter, it's nothing more rewarding than to sing these classic songs, classic arrangements, classic lyrics. So, as an artist, it's really opened the door to reset songwriting and come up with great ideas and brand new ideas.
TERRANCE: Was your approach to this album any different than the way you normally go about making an album?
JONATHAN BUTLER: This is different because I had to do a lot of research. I had to really study the songs and study the lyrics and try to express what the songwriter was trying to get out of it. It was a major learning curve for me.
TERRANCE: Is there a song on the project that resonates with your state of mind right now?
JONATHAN BUTLER: For me, it's gotta be "What the World Needs Now Is Love", because that's an amazing song. It really speaks of our time and really resonates to me.
TERRANCE: Can you share some background behind the original song "Cape Town"?
JONATHAN BUTLER: It's a song about my city Cape Town. I'm just paying tribute to my country and the fact that this music of Burt Bacharach is interpreted from a South African perspective and approach, because a lot of the music is really arranged and feel like South Africa. I went for that approach and the song "Cape Town", which for me personally really kind of complete the record.
TERRANCE: When did you first learn to play the guitar?
JONATHAN BUTLER: I learned when I was really young, so I've been playing a long time and the guitar is really part of me.
TERRANCE: Is there a career highlight(s) that has stood out to you?
JONATHAN BUTLER: Well, there are so many things that stand out to me, like meeting our President, Nelson Mandela and the likes of Toto, Prince Charles, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Eric Clapton, Tom Jones who is one of my all-time heroes. I've been blessed.
TERRANCE: An artist is lucky to get past a 3rd album in these times and so with that being said, what has been the key to your longevity after 23 albums?
JONATHAN BUTLER: Being true to yourself as an artist and consistently making music that you believe in. As long as you believe in what you're doing and expressing it with honesty and integrity, you will last a long time in this business.
TERRANCE: What's the one song in your whole discography that means the most to you?
JONATHAN BUTLER: I think it would be "Heal Our Land".
TERRANCE: When not performing and recording music, what do you enjoy the most?
JONATHAN BUTLER: Right now I'm on the golf course. I enjoy cooking and playing golf.
TERRANCE: Are there any upcoming events or performances that you could tell us about?
JONATHAN BUTLER: Well, I'm on tour with Kirk Whalum right now from the Summer to the Fall and then I'll be on the road with Dave Koz.
TERRANCE: Anything else you would like to share?
JONATHAN BUTLER: I'd love to tell them to keep on posting and to keep on sharing because it really means a lot to me.
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