Boy, 12, Signs Record Deal After Song I Just Wanna Live Goes Viral


Keedron Bryant, the 12-year-old who went viral with a protest song following the killing of George Floyd, has signed a deal with Warner Records.

‘I Just Wanna Live’, penned by Keedon’s mother Johnnetta, features the lyrics: “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.”

Since it was shared on Instagram back in May, it’s picked up millions of views and has been praised by many high-profile celebrities including Barack Obama, Janet Jackson and LeBron James.

The song will be officially released today (Friday 19 June) to coincide with Junetenth – the day that marks the emancipation of slaves in the US.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Keedon, who turns 13 next month, said: “It’s very exciting because this is what God’s called me to do.

“It’s just been an exciting experience to work with my mom.”

Mum Johnetta, 38, said she was moved to write the song after watching the horrifying video of George Floyd dying as police officer Derek Chauvin pressed a knee into his neck.

Johnetta said seeing the video “really hit my heart so deeply because I am a mom to a black son. I have a black husband. I have black brothers, uncles, cousins, friends.”

She said she asked God to send her a sign, adding: “I needed his wisdom. I went into prayer. He gave me those words so clearly.

I shared it with Keedron and I told him, ‘I want you to take these words and I want you to pray over them. Meditate on them. Whenever you’re done with them, come out and we’ll record it. He did just that.

The clip was seen by music Dem Jointz who said it ‘hit me in the gut’ and inspired him to ‘create music around his vocal’, which he did – producing music for the track before sharing it with Keedon’s family.

The re-worked song eventually came to the attention of Chris Atlas – head of urban marketing at Warner Records.

He said: “I was already moved by the record but hearing the vocals over the production, it just hit me in another way.

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.