FRIDAY ARTIST LINE-UP:
Kim Waters and Marion Meadows
Jonathan Butler has spent a lifetime writing and recording music that uplifts and encourages others, butas he penned songs for his latest album, Free, available October 30, he had no idea God would use hisown work to minister to him in a powerful and unexpected way.
“I’ve been through a fire and all kinds of challenges. It’s been a crazy three or four years,” Butler says.“So this album is a testimony of God’s goodness. With the timing of all these things happening to me andin the midst of all of that, writing a record was pretty heavy.”
When Butler speaks of going through a fire, it’s not a metaphor. A candle caused a fire in his Californiahome and Butler suffered second-degree burns rescuing his seven-year-old granddaughter from theblaze. “I wrote ‘Be Encouraged’ the morning of the fire,” Butler shares. “It was five in the morning and Icouldn’t sleep. God gave me those words to ‘Be Encouraged.’ God is on the throne. At seven o’clock thatnight my house was on fire and all I remember is being in an ambulance with burn marks and thinkingabout the words that God gave me early that morning.”
Butler recovered from the fire, but continued to face other challenges, including the loss of loved onesand seeing people closest to him struggle with difficult issues. Yet God kept His hand on Butler andhelped him through it all. “I was going through quite a lot personally and I wanted to make that statementvery clear on this album that I’m in a new season in my life,” he says. “It’s a new chapter now. I wrote‘Moving On’ which is a declaration of where I’m finding myself in my life right now. God has taken me to awhole other level, a whole other place in my life. It’s just been a journey of seeing God removing the lowhanging fruit to make room for a tree to be stronger and bear more fruits. All the songs on the album havereally moved me because I’ve been living all of what this album is saying.”
Born and raised in Baltimore, MD, Maysa Leak knew early on that she would be a musician. “I was six years old when my mom took me to see Purlie,” she recalls. “When Melba Moore came on stage and sang her heart out, I knew at that moment I wanted to make people feel the way she made me feel.”
Maysa’s journey took her from singing upon graduation with Stevie Wonder for a year to becoming the lead singer for Incognito in the 90s. In 1995 she recorded her first solo album.
This year she celebrates her 25th year as a solo artist, with her new album. BACK 2 LOVE is a tour-de-force that validates her status as the greatest Soul-Jazz singer of her generation-the latest in a distinguished line of singers that stretches back through Anita Baker, Chaka Khan, Will Downing, Angela Bofill, Marlena Shaw and more recently, Ledisi and Chrisette Michele.
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