Keedron Bryant recently drew national attention when his stirring acapella performance of “I Just Wanna Live” on Instagram went viral in the days following the May 25 murder of George Floyd. Now the 12-year-old is making news again, announcing both his signing to Warner Records and the Juneteenth release of the song as his official debut single.
Warner Records is donating 100 percent of the net profits from “I Just Wanna Live” to the NAACP. In addition, Amazon Music will donate one dollar for each stream of the song to the NAACP through 9 p.m. PT tonight (June 19), up to $50,000.
Of signing to Warner, Florida native Bryant told Billboard via email, “I really want to make an impact on this world, especially the young generation.” The young singer first gained notice on season four of the NBC television series Little Big Shots. Since his performance clip of “I Just Wanna Live” went viral, Bryant has performed the song on The Ellen DeGeneres Show through FaceTime and been featured on Good Morning America, Today and CNN, among other outlets — not to mention shout-outs from President Barack Obama and LeBron James.
With lyrics calling for the end of systemic social injustice and racial bias, it’s fitting that “I Just Wanna Live” is being released on Juneteenth for June 19, 1865 is recognized as the date when slaves were emancipated in the U.S. Bryant’s mother Johnetta Bryant penned the song, noting to Billboard, “I may not be the people’s choice, but I’m God’s chosen.” Dem Jointz (Rihanna, Brandy, Anderson .Paak) produced the single.
“When I heard Keedron singing ‘I Just Wanna Live’ on Instagram, his passion, emotion and lyrics moved me so deeply that I immediately knew we had to release this song,” says Chris Atlas, senior vp/head of urban marketing at Warner Records. “His voice and message need to be heard worldwide as a beacon of light and hope.”