NFZ: From what I’ve seen in your press kit you had a pretty tough time as a kid. Would you be comfortable sharing with our readers what happened?
JB: I grew up with a childhood of hate and abuse because I find out my father abused and raped my mother. So whenever my mother looked at me she saw and called the man’s name that touched her wrongfully when she had said no. Growing up I never really understood why she would beat me and constantly tell me to die, or for me to go back to the pits of hell where I came from. She tried pressing the eight charges that she wanted to press on my father on me, but the judge said no and ordered us into family counseling. But that never worked out. By the age of fourteen she divorced my step father and then kicked me out of the house because she wanted me out of her life. I was out on the streets having seizures because of the flash backs and anxiety of dealing with her. I would run out of the hospital every time I woke up with a nurse over me asking if I was OK, and then telling me that I need to start preparing myself for brain surgery because I had an aneurysm which caused over 20 seizures in one day. So, they had to put me to sleep in a medically induced coma. Then a brain tumor began to grow which made me pray for death rather than a change in my life, because I felt no one really cared if I lived or died anyways. Fights and other conflicts would happen on the streets or as I slept from friend’s house to friend’s house, but I survived sleeping on floors, in friends cars, under trees, in parks, and at bus stops. I would always love the physical pain from the fights because the mental pain was too much for me. I ended up seeing for myself that life isn’t perfect for anyone as people began telling me their life stories that they hid from everyone. But that ended up causing deep depression and affected their health in the long run. So I’ve survived so much in my life, wanting now to tell my story of facing my trials, tribulations, thoughts of suicide, desires of wanting to kill and why now I’m living now to inspire many to never give up.
NFZ: What advice would you give to any young person going through what you did?
JB: First I would say to have faith, because the stronger you hold on and fight for that change in your life the sooner things begin to get better. Open your mouth and don’t let pride be the reason why you don’t want or need help from someone, because we all need one another some way or another. And for them to understand no one is perfect, we all make mistakes, but it’s up to us to learn from them and keep going. And that in these days and times it seems the wrong kind of crowd we keep messes up a lot of dreams. Be around the people who are living their lives and going for what you want out of life.
NFZ: When you were moved from Florida to Jamaica there had to be some culture shock. Did you experience any?
JB: I was only a few months old so I can’t even remember anything, but when I came back to the USA when I was about 6. I saw chances and opportunities to get rich and become an doctor like how my grandparents always talked about. But for some reason I always thought everyone in America was rich because of how I grew up in the country side of Jamaica hunting and growing food to eat.
NFZ: Did you find that music had a therapeutic, or healing benefit for you, while you were growing up?
JB: Yes, I always felt music brought me to another world. From the melody to the words I always went to that imaginary wonderland of a better life for me.
NFZ: Which artists did you first start listening to and how did they inspire you to begin making music?
JB: I first got introduced to reggae from Bob Marley – “One Love”, “Three Little Birds”, “Jamming”, “Get Up Stand Up”, “I Shot The Sheriff” and “No Woman No Cry”. He was, and still is, an AMAZING motivational music artist. His music will never die. His words inspired me to never give up, fight for what I want and to live life to the fullest without the riches that man blinds us with. So I ended up wanting to be just like him, but of course even better. And now as far as hip-hop: Tupac and Mary J. Blige brought me to the game making me have that desire to get into the music industry even more.
NFZ: How long have you been making music now any are any particular recordings your favorites and why?
JB: I finally started making music in 2009 after getting a job and straightening up my life from where it was, which was from homeless shelters, to friends’ homes, to jail, to the hospital for my brain surgery, to asking my mother to stay with her for awhile because I haven’t seen my brothers in a long time. My favorite tracks I’ve made so far are “Changes”, “One Life”, “I Can Only Be Me”, “Born To Make It”, “Two Steps” and “Crush On You”. I love to inspire with my music and tell a story, because I want people paying attention to my words about life.
JB: I never thought that my life would ever change because everything kept getting worse and worse, until I listened to a girl’s grandmother I was talking to who inspired me to work for that change in my life, if I really wanted it. Because life is full challenges for us all and if we keep our heads down more will come, but if we keep our heads high with a strong heart, body, soul and mind nothing can take us down. Especially if we put all of our trust in our Lord God Almighty.
NFZ: Was it a difficult track to cut in the studio, and if so, why?
JB: No, surprisingly, because I looked at it as my only chance to make something happen in my life. So I put everything I had in it all at once and knocked it out with help from my producer.
NFZ: Are you involved in any political causes or charitable actives? If so, which ones and what do they do, or hope to achieve?
NFZ: What are your future plans for your career?
JB: Focus on my music, my books, my poetry and my quotes. I’m looking to share them all with the world. Truthfully I live now to inspire.
NFZ: What is something about you that your fans don’t know and would probably surprise them?
JB: I live to change and bless the world with my words of encouragement, only for the better, as we’re entering into these hard times in life. With so many of us now blinded by money, lies, movies, music, news, dreams, and what the world wants you to see.
NFZ: How can people follow and stay in touch with you?
JB: www.jonathanburkett.com, Twitter @Mrjohnburkett, Instagram @jonathanburkettofficial, Facebook @Jonathanburkettnation, Youtube @jonathanburkettvevo, Blog Jonathanburkett.wordpress.com and Soundcloud.com/jonathanburkett