While at this years Un-Convention event in Salford, we were lucky enough to witness Jun Tzu unleash an incredible nine minute spoken word poem in front of Jarvis Cocker and Billy Bragg. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, and we needed to get a session with him. Jun Tzu is a lovely guy with an amazing story to tell.
Jonathan Hamilton is something out of the ordinary when it comes to his music. Known in the music world as Jun Tzu, the 22-year-old has already suffered some controversy for the unusually political slant on his lyrics.
Jun started writing poetry when he was just nine years old, he travelled around the world with his father who was a traveling Christian preacher at the time. Jun has since won numerous awards for his poetry. Inspired by his Irish heritage, his lyrics are both poetic and political, describing experiences of growing up in Northern Ireland, views on religion and his own take on the rising violence on the streets of Manchester.
Already rubbing shoulders with some of the industry’s big named talent, in 2007 Jun toured the country with MTV Base as part of the ‘I Luv Live’ tour. He said: “It was inspiring to take my music on road and perform for different crowds. It gave me a buzz to see how much people liked my music and listened to what I had to say.”
While on tour, he met one of Britans most respected Hip hop producers, Baby J, who partly produced Skinnyman’s album “Council Estate of Mind” and made the official remix of the Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson hit “Valerie”, Baby J was so impressed by Jun that he put him on his new album, “Baby Food”, which gave Jun Tzu global exposure! Jun Tzu also toured the U.K with the “British Urban Collective” in 2008 and spent five weeks in his native city Belfast.
He added: “My dad was arrested in Northern Ireland for terrorist offences and sent to prison for a total of 11 years, While he was inside he became a commited christian. It changed his life completely! I am very moved by his energy and it inspired me to start writing poetry, I started accompanying him more on his travels, while he was speaking to the adults I would be talking to the kids and rapping at the youth events. I moved to Manchester originally from Northern Ireland when i was 10, then moved back and forth from Manchester untill i was 17. That’s when I started writing more political poetry about the state of affairs not just in this country, but all over the world. I knew a lot of people my age and even younger were involved in the gangs and hardcore drugs and it hurt me to know these kids felt hopeless and helpless. I knew they felt like they were victims and had to fight a battle everyday. I found a way of expressing my frustration with the world through writing poetry and lyrics. It was like having a lyrical battle which I thought was a peaceful way of dealing with the burden of feeling like a victim of modern day society.”
Jun is eager to get his message across the nation and also throughout the world. He is presently working on his first international album, set for release early 2011.