A soundtrack to your life”, a great depiction of reasoning behind Folk/Rock, singer/songwriter Michael Burrows and his method of writing. There’s no better clarity as an artist than just that of one’s interpretation of life through their own lens. We had the privilege of sitting down with Michael to chat to him about his latest release.
First off thanks so much for taking the time out to speak with me Michael.
Your music is really easy to take in and can either be at the forefront of your mind or you can let it chill in the background. What do you love about your style and why this direction?
Thank you for having me. I take that as a compliment. As a music fan I really love the kind of songs that grow on you with each listen. Where you can discover a new instrumental line or phrase years after. As a songwriter I’m always caught between trying to avoid clichés and trying to find simple, succinct ways of telling a story or describing a moment. A writer like Paul Kelly just gets to the point instantly, bare, naked and vulnerable and then there’s Neil Finn who can also cut to the chase and leave you hanging for more, but the phrasing and imagery are a little more layered and can be interpreted in many ways. When I write, I’m constantly torn between these two influences.
Now walk me through your debut release ‘Please Don’t Cry’. Congratulations by the way.
What is the song about and where did you record it?
Thank you, it’s been an incredible whirlwind 2017/18 recording the new EP in Nashville and now finally releasing it to the world and already starting to get some great traction on radio. The released version was recorded at the famous Ocean Way Studios and produced by Grammy Award Recipient Frank Myers (I Swear) and Jimmy Nichols and mixed by Steve Marcantonio. Between these guys and the band, they have worked with everyone from Dolly Parton to Keith Urban, Taylor Swift and John Lennon so I knew my songs were in good hands.
With this first single, I was trying to capture a moment between two people trying to navigate the end of a relationship. The song fell into place within 30 minutes and hasn’t changed since. The released version has a combination of great imagery, melody and a repetitive chorus that’s easy to recall and sing along to.
I really love playing this song live. It seems to really connect with people.
It’s just the beginning for this particular Michael Burrows project, are you still in the process of recording an E.P or album, are you still writing.
Even though this EP and release is my debut as an artist I’ve never stopped writing songs. Infact I have hundreds of music pieces, jingles and songs currently on radio and TV and that’s been a great outlet for me to explore new sounds and ideas.
The EP ‘Turn This Love Around’ is a collection of 6 songs that have been around for a while, but the Nashville opportunity came together, and it’s been incredible finally realising them and giving them some life.
I already have a batch of new songs and can’t wait to record them
Looking back at the industry 30, 20 even 10 years ago, the industry was a completely different machine. Although this project is new for you, you have actually been in the scene for many years.
Can you tell us about any other current or past projects you have worked on?
Seriously… the industry really has gone through a complete metamorphosis. For a while I really felt negative about it all, like the industry was really dying. But I feel the opposite now. I think it’s really one of the most exciting times to make and create music. Fans have never gone away, it’s still about creating art for arts sake and there’s so many platforms to share your music and find a sustainable audience. You still must be creative and find ways to stand out but ultimately, I believe that good music will always rise and cut through. You can choose to sit back, or you can choose to get active and immerse yourself in all the socials and engage with followers.
I’m not a spiritual guy but I believe there’s a force that follows you throughout life and throws opportunities at you. The trick is you must be ready to take them on. I’ve never stopped writing music, but I ran away from it for many years and focussed on my advertising music business.
In 2010 my wife nearly died during the birth of our 2nd son and I guess that experience jolted me into action. Life is short, and I realised that there was no point making excuses about the songs I had been writing and hiding away.
I posted a random video of a song I performed while on tour opening for Martha Wainwright and a guy from Maryland DC ‘Larry Grimes’ made contact and setup the opportunity to record in Nashville with Grammy award recipients Frank Myers, Jimmy Nichols and Steve Marcantonio. Between them they’ve worked with everyone from Dolly Parton to Taylor Swift, Keith Urban and John Lennon so I knew the music was in good hands.
Larry’s still working on many great opportunities in the US and I still can’t believe this is all happening.
It’s already been well received in Australia and picked up by ABC radio nationally as well as some of my favourite commercial networks like Grant Broadcasters, KIXX, and even playing in-store on Coles radio.
I’m also writing together with my good friends Simon Starr and Lior Attar and we have a loose project that will slowly unwind between all our combined projects.
Although you are the face of Michael Burrows, Is there a group of guys or gals that you generally use as the staple band or even session muso’s or preferred producers and do they have any creative reflection in the music you make?
I have been playing solo for a while now but over the years I have had a band who have come together for fuller shows. I’ve also been lucky to play with some amazing local session guys in the various recording studios. This is due largely because the recording opportunities have been overseas and the guys here all have various responsibilities and jobs here, so it becomes a hard task to coordinate it.
As far as producers I have been spoilt. I got an incredible opportunity to record with my absolute hero Neil Finn at Roundhead studios in NZ. It was an incredible experience that came about via Medicine Mondial who Neil is a patron. We shuffled demos back n forth and settled on a couple of songs. Neil was so generous with his time and it was amazing watching him work with the producers hat on. He is thorough and really helped me find shape and colour on the songs. When he asked to sing harmonies on them, I was ready to die in that NZ chair. I still haven’t landed on earth.
The Nashville experience was also mind blowing. I got to co-write with Frank Myers who has a room full of gold records and an ability to cut to the bones of the song and the message. We co-wrote a few songs off this EP and together with his co-producer Jimmy Nichols who has played on everybody’s records I’m proud of the music and songs we made. I can’t wait to share them.
What advice would you give to other hard-working bands on the rise?
We do this to connect with an audience and hope that fans can find meaning and solitude in our message, words and melodies. Get rid of the word ‘make it’ and just enjoy every moment of the journey. If this was all easy, everyone would do it. Being an artist can be a blessing and a curse but, on those days, when you feel like you made a difference to a person or a crowd, there’s no better feeling in the world.
And lastly what gigs have you got coming up? I heard possibly a single or E.P launch? And where can you find information on your music?
I have the music video for Please Don’t Cry coming out soon and I’m active on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. New shows are announced there, and I do some live concerts from time to time.
Stay in touch
Thank you again for your time Michael and good luck with the new release and really looking forward to hearing more from you in the future!
Thanks so much for your support and helping us spread the word and connect with an audience. Love your work. Michael