By DeeAnna Rollins
Photo by Sylvia Pond Photography

Jonathan and Music

It started in preschool. He was always singing. In the car, in the bath, at school. He started in choirs and plays at a very young age, and he stuck to it. He’s always had an unexplainable connection with music. No one in Jonathan’s immediate family is musical. No one sings or plays an instrument … he was alone.

Recently, he found out that his great-grandfather was a musician and all of a sudden, everything made sense. It was in his blood, it skipped a couple of generations but it was there.

“Singing brings me joy and happiness,” he said. “I don’t know how else to explain it.”

The Shot

“I was so interested in embarking on an international singing opportunity.”

With Jonathan being from the Bahamas, he isn’t an American citizen. Meaning that he couldn’t audition for American Idol or The Voice. After doing some intense Googling, he found The Shot. He didn’t know what to expect but he knew he had to audition. So he did.

Auditions

“One word … intense,” he said. “I remember walking into the holding room and hearing all of the amazing singers. I was automatically nervous.”

He had no idea who anyone was, he didn’t know what anyone else’s talents were like. He didn’t know what the auditions were going to be like but it was an experience that he won’t ever forget.

The judges made Jonathan feel so comfortable. They wanted to know all about him and why he came from the Bahamas. Being one of the only people from another country to audition was an opportunity for Jonathan to showcase his talent and the talent that can come from other countries, especially the Bahamas.

He chose to sing “Summertime” by Ella Fitzgerald because of the influence it has had on him and his voice. It’s a powerful song that showcases the jazz in his voice and all of the rest of Jonathan’s talent.

His trip from the Bahamas

Needless to say, he was very excited. He had been to Canada about two years prior to his journey through The Shot so he knew what to expect culture wise, but he had no idea what the competition was going to be like.

“I knew that I would need to open myself to new people and that I would be creating so many amazing networking opportunities.”

He even met people in town from The High Commission for the Commonwealth of the Bahamas who travelled from Ottawa to hear him sing in the finale.

Favourite Part

“Coming together with the rest of the top eight to create music was amazing,” exclaimed Jonathan. “I felt like I was part of a family.”

It was the first time the top eight got to perform together, and Jonathan says it’s something that he’ll never forget. He was a part of something bigger, they were eight people fighting for the same prize, and for that moment it felt like he wasn’t in a competition.

What did you learn?

“You have to be open, as an artist, to new ideas and meeting new people.”

Ultimately, the people and the fans are going to be the people who help you make it in music. He learned how to really experience different cultures and embracing other cultures and learn from them.

“I learned the arts of discipline and focusing on the tiny details.”

Musicians are, generally, focused on the big picture: performing. But they don’t necessarily look into the tiny details that make a performance great. It’s storytelling, the goal is to make people relate to what you’re saying, or in this case, singing, and it will make a world of a difference.

“It’s the small intricacies that we sometimes miss in our music, and those are things that make the biggest difference.”