Jothipala was born the first child of a middle-class family from Southern Sri Lanka. He attended St. Lawrence College in Maradana and St. John’s College in Dematagoda. Jothipala would visit tea kiosks during this period to hear music as his family didn't own a radio.
Jothipala made his debut as a playback singer on Cyril P. Abeyratne's Surathalee singing, "Siriyame Sara," in 1956. Prior to this he had recorded a song for the late Sirisena Wimalaweera's Podi Putha. This song didn't make the final cut, as the Indian film composer on the film didn't consider Jothipala's voice good enough.
Jothi has said that he contemplated taking his life when he went with his friends to watch Podi Putha and found out that his song was not included. Later when Surathalee producer Jabir A. Cader wanted to hear one of his songs to consider him for the film, Jothipala almost passed on the offer as he did not possess enough money to create a record. He was helped out by veteran musician Stanley Omar who financed him for the sum of 35 rupees – a large amount of money at the time. Jothipala's song on the film, "Siriyame Sara," still remains popular in Sri Lanka, having recorded the popular number under the direction of T.R. Papa at Wahini Studio in India.
Jothipala has worked with many reputed directors of Sri Lanka. In the early stages of his prolific career, Jothipala got the chance to work with prolific film maker, Lester James Peries on the movie Sandeshaya. Jothipala sang the song "Puruthugeesikara" for the film, which was composed by the legendary Sunil Santha and written by veteran lyricist Arisen Ahubudu.
Jothipala was the undisputed choice in films that were made in the late sixties and through the seventies, the period during which he also began to act. Though Jothi was criticized for singing to the tunes of popular Hindi songs he also sang under the batons of Pandit W. D. Amaradeva, P.V. Nandasiri, Premasiri Khemadasa, Sarath Dassanayake and Milton Mallawarachchi.
He sang in hundreds of films including popular hits like Kasthuri Suwanda, Thushara, Sweeep Ticket, Hitha Honda Minihek, Kawuda Raja, Hondata Hondai, Wasana, Sangeetha and others. The award-winning singer also played some memorable roles in films including Ethulweema Thahanam, Sulalitha Sobani, Sujeewa, Sukiri Kella, Abirahasa, Bonikka, Shanthi and his own production Sumithuro'and "Obai Mamai".
In the music scene, no musical show was complete without Jothi in the seventies and eighties. Jothipala died in the first week of July in 1987.
Jothipala died on July 7, 1987 at Ratnums Private Hospital. The cause of his death was said to be kidney failure due to alcohol usage. "He came to our hospital very regularly. He was a big drinker. We told him time after time not to drink anymore," Ramya Fleming, a nurse who worked at the hospital at the time, was quoted saying after his death.