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Jonathan Machen aka Profit: Finding Refuge in Music

Nicole Brice

Dec 11, 2023

Jonathan Machen aka Profit is a lyrical prophet of rock and hip-hop subgenres fueled by the deepest levels of pain and enlightenment.

In the ever-evolving world of music, talented artists constantly emerge, each with their unique style and sound. But every once in a while, a truly gifted artist emerges—one who not only speaks to your own experiences but also captivates you with his memorable sound. Jonathan Machen aka Profit is one of those musicians with an inherent musical gift and with it he has carved his path, drawing in listeners with his smooth, soulful voice and heartfelt insightful lyrics, as well as his hybrid-fusion sound merging hip hop and R&B with hints of rock and country. Jonathan Machen aka Profit is one voice you hear and don’t easily forget simply for one reason: You can’t. His effect lingers long after the music fades.

Credit: Gary Governale

Born in Crowley, Louisiana, Machen grew up a burn survivor, meaning he is no stranger to the depths of physical pain—pain that quickly compounded when he found himself the target of insensitive bullying. As an adult and single father of three, Machen suffered extreme personal loss, and his only refuge was the peace and motivation music provided him. The awareness he gained through experiences like these have molded him into the empathetically enlightened vessel of talent he is, reminding us that words—and how we treat other people—really do matter.

He's a smart musician. Jonathan Machen aka Profit is as eclectic as, say, someone like Beck or Louis Cole; he’s definitely traveling along the same interstate. With a passion for storytelling—as is evidenced on songs “Refuge” and “Long Night”—he shows he doesn’t stick to one style or genre but rather a menagerie of subgenres living amongst rock and hip hop.

Mixed Alternative had the opportunity to sit down with Jonathan Machen aka Profit to learn a little more about his life, find out the scoop on that “Daydreaming” video featuring No Limit Gangsta, and see what’s next for him.


MaM: Jonathan, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. I’ve been going through your YouTube and music catalog, and you have such a diverse body of work. Tell us a little more about how you fell into making music.

JM: I was born in Crowley, Louisiana, near Lafayette. … A lot of people don’t know it, but I am a burn survivor. At 2 ½ years old, I was burned by a crawfish pot that someone had taken off a propane burner and set down. I was running backward playing, tripped, and caught myself, so I ended up with second- and third-degree burns from my bellybutton up to my neck and from right above my knees down to my ankles.

During the healing process, I had to wear a pressure suit and go through extensive physical therapy, where I also underwent several blood transfusions and skin grafts, too. I’m a miracle baby. After the accident, they had to airlift me to Baton Rouge from Lafayette, and I actually died and came back. From there, growing up consisted of being teased and hazed because when kids don’t understand something, they attack it.

I’ve always loved music, and I can recall dancing around to old records in my mom’s living room. She had four bookshelves full of CDs and we had boxes all over full of records, so I grew up hearing and listening to everything. I immersed myself in it all as an emotional release. It was where I could find acceptance and be heard.

Credit: Gary Governale

MaM: Who or what inspired you musically when you were growing up? Did you have any favorite bands or artists?

JM: Otis Redding, King Richard, Frank Thomas, Phil Collins—believe it or not.

Anything Motown, too. It just ha[s] this soul and vibe. A good bit of R&B, too.

MaM: What initially got you into writing lyrics?

JMAs far as lyrics go, I started out writing poetry, and it was more a cry out than anything because I felt like I didn’t have anyone else who understood me besides my mother. I had no other outlet for these emotions I was dealing with. See, I was angry at the world because of what I had been through, and I had to go through some serious mental warfare with controlling my anger so I wouldn’t just snap on people. After I had been writing poetry for a while, I won a contest in school, and they published a poem of mine. That taught me that my words do matter. 

The first time I heard Eminem, as corny as it sounds, I realized I could put my words to a beat, and that’s how it all began. 

Credit: Gary Governale

MaM: Let’s talk about the video for “Daydreaming”. The song is a bit mesmerizing to listen to … and it features No Limit Gangsta. How did you get him to guest on the track?

JM: He’s a friend of mine who was signed to No Limit Records. The video for “Daydreaming” came about because the whole concept of that video is one big dream where we fall asleep and the dream plays out, and then we wake up and we’re like, ‘What is going on? Where did all the riches go?’. It’s as simple as that. 

MaM: What was the first song you ever wrote or recorded?

JM: It was a track called “Angels Talking” when I was about 14 or 15 years old. The song never got released, but we did put it on Reverb Nation, and it was recorded on a stick mic with a laptop. 

MaM: When did you realize you could be on to something with your music?

JM: When I was about 18 or 19, I would do a bunch of open-mic nights at Club Rags, and I was always the only white guy there. I would go on stage nervous as hell, but when people started moving and jumping to my music, I started going more, and it got to a point where I was there every week, and I would have a line of people almost at the door wanting to shake my hand. That experience helped me get my foot in the door with the local scene. 

Credit: Gary Governale

MaM: With a background in rap and hip hop, how would you describe your sound these days and what’s next?

JMI would say I am my own genre. My music has country, bluegrass, and some R&B in it, and I try to put my heart into every song because each one is a story. I have a song called ‘Survival’ that I’m going to release in the second quarter of 2024 and it’s about my mother, who passed away from cancer. The main hook talks about God pulling flowers from the garden, and so it’s a very deep and meaningful song for me.

‘Hollow Rain’ is another song that I’m releasing in the first quarter of next year and that one is more about me as a whole because of my scars from my burns.

The beginning verse says, ‘He walks around with no tattoos because he ain’t got [sic] the point yet, but he’s still bruised, and pain hangs around like open wounds. He was hazed by cowards and fools …’

See, it’s a story, and I have about 13 or 14 more that I need to record that are just as powerful.

MaM: Do only life experiences inspire your lyrics, or do you draw from fantasy, too?

JM: Everything that I write and choose to release comes straight from the heart. …[W]ith ‘Daydreaming’, the idea was to get people interested with a cool concept, but ‘Refuge’ was about God being my refuge through everything. ‘No Colors’ is another song that talks about the political division being forced on Americans as well as the racism, and so I wanted to express with the lyrics that I won’t hate my brother because we come from different mothers … this is about love for me. 

Credit: Gary Governale

MaM: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

JM: Well, I’ve got new music coming out and when I have about seven of the songs recorded, I plan on having a listening party with family and friends and I want to get them to pick the best five, which will be put on an EP. I hope to do that in the first quarter of next year. I want to be able to write songs for other artists, too. I don’t need all the credit either, but I just want to get more of myself out there.

I also have a plan for helping impoverished communities with hydroponic gardens that I want to teach the youth about. Maybe make a non-profit to help with that endeavor, and have it include even more than that. You could have the garden, but maybe a basketball court or other things to keep them interested. I feel that the youth of today is losing essential survival skills like we had back in the day, and I want to teach them these things … fishing, too—show them that a fish can feed their family. I have a lot of plans, and more is coming soon. 


For more on Jonathan Machen aka Profit, visit any of his links below. Be sure to follow him on social media to stay up to date on that forthcoming EP!


Jonathan Machen | YouTube

Jonathan Machen aka Profit | Spotify

Jonathan Machen aka Profit | Apple Music

Jonathan Machen aka Profit | Facebook

Jonathan Machen aka Profit | TikTok

*Cover Photo by Gary Governale

Nicole Brice loves discovering new music. Got something you think she'd like? Hit us up at

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