Keedron Bryant, 12, signs deal with Warner Records after viral protest song | US News
A 12-year-old boy, whose protest song went viral in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, has signed a deal with Warner Records.
Keedron Bryant’s a cappella song, I Just Wanna Live, will be officially released by the record company on Friday to coincide with Juneteenth, the annual commemoration of the emancipation of slaves in the US.
Speaking about the song, Keedron – who turns 13 in July – said he was excited to work with Warner, and to record more songs himself.
He added that while the lyrics were “kind of sad”, he thought there was “still hope in the world that we can change the world”.
Video of Keedron’s passionate performance, uploaded to Instagram the day after Mr Floyd‘s death in police custody in Minneapolis, shows him singing about life as a black man and “being hunted as prey”.
He sings: “I’m a young black man, doing all that I can to stand. Oh, but when I look around, and I see what’s being done to my kind. Every day I’m being hunted as prey. My people don’t want no trouble.”
The Instagram video has since been viewed millions of times and has attracted legions of famous supporters, including Barack Obama, LeBron James, Janet Jackson and Lupita Nyong’o.
Earlier in the week, Keedron said he had found it an “exciting experience” working with his mother, Johnnetta, who added that watching the video of Mr Floyd’s death as a police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds had “deeply” affected her.
She said: “Because I am a mum to a black son. I have a black husband. I have black brothers, uncles, cousins, friends.”
As Keedron’s video began to go viral last month, music producer Dem Jointz said it had “moved” him to write music to accompany his voice, which he said had “hit me in the gut”.
The reworked version of the song went on to get the further attention of Chris Atlas, the head of urban marketing at Warner Records, and later to the deal being signed.
“I was already moved by the record, but hearing the vocals over the production, it just hit me in another way,” Mr Atlas said.
“I was like, ‘Wow this is an amazing song.’ We should be a part of making sure the world hears this on a larger capacity but then also donate proceeds from the song to the right cause.
“That’s actually giving back and using music as a healing mechanism, which I truly believe it is.”