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Changes by Jonathan Burkett

 Ralph White July 8, 2018

Changes, by hip-hop/R&B artist Jonathan Burkett, is a down tempo, slow burning quiet storm. It opens with a solitary grand piano on which root position and inverted triadic chords are played, spaced apart and sustained by a single beat, as both male and female vocalist vamp atop of them. The male vocalist is Jonathan Burkett, and the female vocalist goes by the name of Polancapop. As the two of them weave about to form an improvised tapestry Polancapop eventually steps into the spotlight to deliver the song’s simple chorus, “Everything Changes/Let go and give it a try/Don’t let your life pass you by.

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Now, flanked by bass and drums, Burkett takes over with the first verse of song, “Yeah now life’s about change/God made the way/I had to open my eyes/So I could see a new life/I had to much on my mind/But now I’m here today/To put my all on the grind/ Without my life on the line/Feeling that drive to be/Ahead of the league/Without doing no time/Cause I ain’t ready to die/I got that passion in me/To be all I can be/Cause in this life we live/I wanna be free”. To add muscle to the message he multi-tracks his voice in unison to the lead vocals. This creates a rather nice contrast to Polancapop’s harmonized stacked thirds on the choruses of Changes.

I like the way in the second chorus that in addition to the block triads on the grand piano, what sound like an electric piano plays arpeggios in counterpoint to these chords. The overall effect is it serves to lend a subtle texture to the composition. This is important because the subject matter Jonathan Burkett is dealing with here tends to be a bit weighty. Yet he manages to prevent the general tenor of Changes from falling into dirge like valleys as he takes the mood to a more inspirational level where it can stand upon the peaks of the message he humbly offers here within. The result is nearly a Deus ex machina moment which becomes a welcomed epiphany by the time we reach the end of this track.

Some personal background I discovered about this artist is that he came from a broken home and was abused as a child. Home life became so unstable that he ran away from home and lived homelessly on the Miami and Ft. Lauderdale streets. If that in itself wasn’t enough of a burden to bear he was plagued by health problem so severe that he suffered a brain aneurysm while still only in his early teens. This conditioned was worsened due to the fact that it was temporarily inoperable because of his young age and frail state of health at the time. It wasn’t until he was almost twenty years old that doctors felt it was relatively safe to operate.

Jonathan Burkett (https://jonathanburkett.wordpress.com) credits his faith and his music as what kept him going on through those hard times. Now, years later, these are the two gifts he seeks to share with those around him. Changes (Upstormed Records) is an embodiment of the trials and tribulations Burkett has endured as he persevered through a tough life. He’s living proof to what Friedrich Nietzsche once so famously stated in his 1888 Twilight of the Gods, “What does not kill me, makes me stronger”.

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Posted July 10, 2018 by Jonathan Burkett in Music Artist

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