When I went to see Music Spotlight artist 12-year-old Brooklyn Summer play at Opry Mills last year, her then 14-year-old friend, Johnathon Heilbroun, played too. I already knew how good Brooklyn was but was quite surprised at how talented Heilbroun was. I knew I would eventually get around to learning his story as well.
Heilbroun is from the small town of Concord, Georgia, about half between Atlanta and Macon. He started playing piano at age 10, and he took lessons for two years. In middle school, Heilbroun joined the school chorus. By age 13, his father who had minimal musical skills, gave him a guitar and taught him three chords. He instantly took the instrument, and three months later, he participated in a talent show. It was at his first public performance that he realized he couldn’t see himself doing anything else for a career.
He soon picked up another 30-minute set but quickly realized that to get hired to perform regularly, you must have enough material to cover three hours. This provided young Heilbroun something to aspire to.
He admitted that what his family had always listened to was country music and that’s what he liked and decided that would be his path.
The teenager got a vocal coach and began homeschooling so he would have more time to practice singing and playing his guitar. Now at 15, he admits to practicing his vocals and guitar four hours a day.
But the event that truly changed Heilbroun’s life was when in December of 2020, on their way to a family vacation, they stopped by Nashville and visited The Opry, The Ryman, and then the famous Tootsies Orchard Lounge. He asked one of the guys on stage if he could play a song. A short conversation later, he sang three songs that morning at Tootsie’s. He felt like he was living his dream.
By February 2022, Heilbroun had his first official songwriting session. A song sent to him from one of his fans was a song called “Star and Stripes,” which he proudly recorded in April 2022. Later that year, he recorded “California Sand” a song that was written by one of his favorite co-writers, Justin Sexton.
His biggest original hit to date is the song “Church Goin Sunday,” a song that he co-wrote with Sexton. The song is so well done you would never guess that it was co-written and sung by a 15-year-old kid.
His newest release, “Biggest Fan,” was sent to him by songwriter Kevin Lee. He specifically requested that Heilbroun record the song. “I loved that song, so we recorded it,” he said.
Heilbroun is an independent artist with more booked events than many rising artists twice his age. His dad is instrumental in helping his son get the notice he deserves.
Since he plays in so many venues, he covers a lot of songs and can sing almost any song that he has heard before. The fact that he does it so well is reason enough to follow his YouTube channel and other socials. You can witness the raw talent of the teen in his cover of one of my all-time favorite songs, Larry Fleet’s “Where I Find God.”
Heilbroun understands the grit and grind required if an artist is to have a shot at making it in the music industry. He agreed and said, “Yes, Ma’am, I’m jumping in with both feet in the deep end.”
I was so impressed with this rising star from rural Georgia that I told him what I have told a few others, “I don’t want any money, but when you play Bridgestone, I expect seats on the front row.”
You can stream/download his latest single, “Biggest Fan” here.
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