Jonathan Butler shares what Kenyans should expect at Radio Africa Jazz Festival

Piece by: ZENNA ISSA

•Other than being an outstanding guitarist, musician and songwriter, Jonathan Butler is a world-class chef who enjoys cooking for his wife.

•Get to have a once-in-a-lifetime live concert with Butler by purchasing your tickets here 

South African singer-songwriter and guitarist Jonathan Butler at JKIA, Nairobi on October 27, 2023

 South African Jazz musician Jonathan Butler is in Kenya ahead of the much anticipated Radio Africa Jazz Festival to be held over the weekend.

Buttler is known for his amazing vocals and outstanding instrumental performance.

Renowned Radio host Mike Mondo got the opportunity to interview the outstanding musician.

 Jonathan spoke about his expectations for the forthcoming festival.

When did he start singing?

“1986 I released a double album Caller Jonathan Butler It got gold in America, the UK, Japan and South Africa. I'm 62, these young blood have their things, I grew up when the bigger picture was more flavour than anything. During my time you needed to make music that would stand out at any time and remain relevant any day. It's an honor to be recognized as a star for being a jazz and gospel artist before there was jazz, I used instruments I was bringing more of Africa into the USA.”

When he was asked what made his music stand out he simply stated that it was because he knew how to evolve with the current times.

“I think I've evolved and come onto my music I'm not just jazz I have a mix of jazz and gospel. When I was in Amsterdam, I met a pastor who is a very good friend of mine I met him at church on Sunday and I had a concert on Saturday he told me God had placed me and he'll use me in the church and the world. I have been fortunate to make gospel in church and also out of church not many musicians make that. It's very good to evolve you shouldn't stay at one thing. Right now, we are living in a universe that accommodates everybody you need to change and evolve to the current times”

When he was asked what fans should expect from the festival, he joked that he would love to perform all his songs if given the time.

“How long do I have to play I have a lot of music I love bringing people from when the journey started to the current music it is a musical journey that I want everyone to listen to. I would love to perform all my albums at the fest”

According to Butler, the internet has helped upcoming musicians in their musical journey.

“I grew up in a time when CDs, Cassettes and DVDs were the way to store your music but with the current social media, it's easier to share your music than in our times. These days musicians make albums with only 5 songs but I still believe in having a full album that has 10 songs cause to me it's part of the story and legacy.

The model of business has changed the current musicians have evolved to advertise their music on social media. I believe the key to having a successful career is knowing what the lyrical is trying to say you can't have a song that has "yeah yeah yeah" in the whole song you need to make music that will stand out.”

When he was asked what song, he loved to play and what people love to hear him sing, he was a bit hesitant since musicians don’t know how to choose one song out of all his songs.”

With a lot of persuasions, he finally told Mike his personal favourite was I Love You, Jesus.

“People in the States that's where I live at the moment I can't leave without playing 'Love You Jesus' but what people normally love to hear me sing is 'No Woman No Cry' "

He finished the interview by stating that he would be a chef if he wasn’t a musician.

“I love to cook so I'd probably be a chef I cook for my wife every day.”

Jonathan Butler will be performing at the Nairobi International Jazz Fest which will happen on the 28 of this month at the Bomas of Kenya.

Advance tickets go for Sh4500 (Advance), Sh6,500 at the Gate, and Sh8,000 for Couples. You can buy your Tickets at