WHLI's Artist Of The Week - 1100 WHLI - The Hits of A Lifetime!

Jonathan Karrant 


                                                                              

Jonathan Karrant was born in the heart of America at the foothills of the Ozarks in the old western town of Fort Smith, Arkansas east of the Arkansas River. 

The joyous home in which Jonathan grew up was filled with art, music, and dance. He spent a lot of time at his grandfather Bill and grandmother Goldia’s home where there was always much comedy and performance appreciation. His mother, Nancy, danced and taught for a local ballet company. She is an artist, writer, teacher, and an avid music lover. As a college student in Memphis, Tennessee, she sang with a girl’s band in the 1960’s. Jonathan’s father, John, is a business man and a broker who has a passion for farming and gardening, and owns a ranch just southwest of Fort Smith. While growing up, Jonathan spent many hours helping on the farm, enjoying the outdoors, the livestock and wildlife. Jonathan’s sister, Indra, studied dance from an early age and later excelled as a dancer/ choreographer. 

His mother says Jonathan began singing from the time he was born! One day when he was eight months old and swinging in his wind-up mechanical swing while listening to music with huge earphones on his little ears, his mother noticed that his eyes were closed and he was turning his head from side to side in that recognizable musician’s horizontal nod. She gasped, “A Musician!” To her, that was a good thing, and she was not at all surprised as time went on and he continued to show musical ability and love of music. 

Jonathan sang for hours every day, honing-in on his own type of music and style. When he was seven he began singing publicly. His first solo was at his church with Nancy Vernon, musical director and organist, directing and accompanying him. Then, that summer in Eureka Springs, he walked into a nightclub, made his way to the stage, and asked the band to accompany him while he sang “Stormy Monday”. The band agreed, and he was a big hit with the audience, as well as with the band. 

As a teenager Jonathan was active in local theatre, and studied music and theatre in middle and high schools. After graduating from high school, director/writer/actor Meir Z. Ribalow recommended him for an intensive course of study at the William Esper Acting Studio in New York City. During this time he auditioned and was hired by the Metropolitan Opera House to play characters roles in performances, one of them being the opera “Aida” starring Luciano Pavorotti. It was an extraordinary time for him, working at the Met in major productions at Lincoln Center, brushing shoulders on stage with great stars. 

Jonathan began to take every opportunity to sing and perform at all kinds of events, weddings, celebrations, at church, in clubs and lounges, wherever he was asked to perform. After performing as a soloist with the Don Bailey Jazz Concerts, he was advised to strike-out to Las Vegas. Without ever having visited there, he drove across country and jumped into the music scene, singing in supper clubs and lounges and casinos. While there, he had the opportunity to record with Vince Falcone, noted music director and pianist. And, in San Diego, he began performing in some of the most respected venues of that city. He has traveled for performances across the states as well as in Europe. He continues to grow an adoring and loyal following of fans who appreciate his interpretation of jazz standards. 

Audiences have characterized Jonathan as a great interpreter of song, a storyteller, a singer who brings music and lyric alive. Some refer to Jonathan as an amazing song-stylist who sings from the American songbook, an entertainer of star quality. Others say he paints a picture, he presents a mood and captivates a room through song. Jazz Corner said “Karrant’s voice is romantic without being cloying, warm but not forced” and “that he sings standards with an emotional weight that make it seem as if he had written the songs himself”. He will tell you that he has an innate connection with music writers of the past, masters like Cole Porter (they share the same birthday), George Gershwin, Sammie Cahn, Julie Styne, Johnny Mercer, to mention a few. He will tell you that he has great respect for such giants as Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Etta James, Little Jimmy Scott, Nancy Wilson, Johnny Hartman. He will tell you that he loves people, loves connecting with other musicians and with his audience, and loves sharing time with those who also love to celebrate life and music. 

Jonathan’s recent album “On and On” made it to number four in the All About Jazz charts. The album features such songs as “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” and “Doodlin’”, as well as the title track, and was produced by Tyler Monks, with pianist Josh Nelson, bassist Rob Thorsen, guitarist Mark Shapiro, and drummer Duncan Moore.