Hello there good people of the earth and welcome to another week @ Skoped Out. So I spent some time going over http://www.grammy.com/nominees for 2013 and I am loving what I am seeing. Ofcourse you have artists like Jay-Z who dominate but I love the diversity and the massive listing. Great to see The National and Imagine Dragons and Lorde on there! For those fortunate enough to have Santa bring them a BMW this year, music streaming service rara and BMW announce an expanded partnership to bring Europe’s first in-car on-demand music streaming service to virtually all new BMW models. I have been a good boy this year, I think?! Well this week I have a musician by the name of Steven Burton who is incredibly talented and has released an incredible collection of new music, ‘Notice Me.’ I became a fan of Steven’s after hearing “Love” and “Notice Me”. I am so excited to have him on to showcase his music and tell his story! Join us as Steven speaks on the holidays, the new album, his love for opera & rock, and so much more!
Stoli: Where are we talking from today and how are your holidays going so far?
Steve: My family and I just got back to Ohio after a three month stay in the high country of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The Holidays are going well. The Burton house is always a ‘happening place’ during this time of year, being that we have six very festive kids.
Stoli: Does your family have any family traditions that you love when it comes to holidays & New Years and do you have any Christmas covers you did?
Steve: Yeah. Although we really like to have fun and celebrate during the Holidays, my wife and I always make sure that our kids understand the true meaning of the Season. And actually, I just finished an original Holiday Season song that will be on my next rock CD.
Stoli: I love your story how you got into music but that was not your first love. Speak on how you got into racing motorcycles and how that lead to music?
Steve: Actually as the years have gone by, I have found that music really is my first love. However, I got my first motorcycle at a very young age and was instantly addicted to the freedom and rush that you have while riding. Also, I was gifted with a knack for being on two wheels and could ride at really high rates of speed with unusual control for a young guy and that led me to competitive racing. Which I was absolutely addicted to! Singing was always there in the background. I could always sing really well. But my problem with singing then, was that I was insanely shy. I had no interest in standing in front of people and pouring my heart out through vocals. It really wasn’t until I was 15, and had a really bad accident racing motorcycles, and while being laid up, turned the TV on by chance, and heard Luciano Pavarotti. At that moment I became completely smitten with the beauty of his voice and it sparked something inside of me that made me want to sing like this larger than life man on the TV- whose name I couldn’t even pronounce. I was fortunate that I had the physical resources to pursue that type of singing and I pursued it with an insane passion.
Stoli: Your vocals are infectious, I could listen to you all day. What was is about the opera and singing appogio/appogiare that was what led you to that style of singing?
Steve: For me, Opera is the Formula One of the vocal arts. Its taking the instrument to its absolute extreme, while maintaining beauty and control. That’s not easy to achieve, especially when you consider that you have to sing over an 80 piece orchestra without a microphone. And I adore the challenge of it. As far as Opera goes, it is there that I have heard the most gorgeous and soaring melodies of my life. And it is there that I have heard the most romantic and passionate words ever written. However, I will preface that with that would be for the 20% of opera that is good (Puccini, Verdi, Donizetti) and not the 80% of other stuff that nobody wants to hear (ha, ha).
Stoli: I am listening to your new album ‘Notice Me.’ What significance does the album title have and how long has this album been in the works?
Steve: Actually it was my wife’s idea. She thought it would be a good idea since it was my first mainstream rock release, and it was already the title (to the song). I have stacks of music written that are not recorded yet, but some of the songs on the CD “Notice Me” were written as far back as 2006. While other songs on it were written recently, like “I Will Live”, which is dedicated to the five time Olympian, Todd Lodwick.
Notice Me is available at the iTunes Store:
Stoli: You have transitioned to a more rock/mainsteam sound. How did that come to be and how have your fans reacted?
Steve: That came to be because of my vocal obsession with wanting to literally be able to sing anything from folk up to grand opera. I don’t know why or for whatever reason, I have had a lifelong obsession with wanting to master the voice and for me that meant being able to sing in a given genre and being able to produce the sound of that genre. For me, being able to only sing Opera, meant that I did not master the voice completely. I guess for me proof of a well trained voice is its ability to produce the proper tone at the proper time- and that’s a demand I put on myself alone. And honestly, I don’t know where the obsession comes from, I only know that I can’t escape it. As far as fans go, most of my Opera work was local/regional so that doesn’t create a huge fan base. But, the rock fan base has just exploded (thanks to the internet).
Stoli: I find your song “Remember” to be beautiful. Please explain the origins of that single and what it means to you?
Steve: Great question! I actually got the idea while watching a production of Juan Carlo Minotti’s Opera “Goya” about the great artist Francisco Goya. In the final act, the lead character “Goya” (sung by Placido Domingo, one of my tenor heroes), who at this point in the Opera is a very old man and can barely sit in a chair, reflects upon his life which is passing before him. It was a truly beautiful point in the Opera, upon which the artist was seeing his days of joyful youth and his adult passions passing before his eyes. I can honestly say that it inspired me to write the song “Remember”, even though the two songs sound nothing alike…it was my inspiration.
Stoli: On your site you claim that people are listening to you in over 85 countries. How much does social media/Internet help you reach so many?
Steve: That number is more like 90 countries now and I can say that social media/internet has been indispensible. All of the songs on the CD are being played around the globe through a variety of streaming radio avenues (FM, satellite, etc.) Also, we did a video release of the song “LOVE”, which was released in November. In a four week period it has been viewed well over two million times. That video alone has sparked an enormous worldwide fan base. We also released a video in October for a very short period of time, in honor of the passing of John Denver, entitled “High Colorado”. The video did extremely well and I was absolutely delighted to have heard from many of JD”s fans and friends who actually hung out with John, skied with him, and by all of their accounts he was a sincere and genuine man. It was an honor to write that song for him.
Stoli: Could you ever do a song where you mix your opera & rock sound together?
Steve: Yep. That’s coming. I currently have twelve classical aria style songs in the works for an upcoming classical release. Half of those songs will be truly operatic/classical in their delivery. The other half will be a fusion of a rock style and full voice opera. I just want to let my fan base know that I will be singing full appogio (leaning on the breath) on this CD and I will be making a much larger vocal tone to suit the classical nature of that music style. But no worries, the rock voice will still be intact! As I have developed a vocal technique whereby I raise and lower my larynx to produce the proper tone quality for the given genre and that is something I truly enjoy doing.
Stoli: When you look out onto 2014 are you feeling good about where you are heading and what are your goals?
Steve: Yeah, I feel really good about 2014 and beyond. With the music and videos doing so well, I’m even more inspired to continue writing. Which I tend to do non-stop anyway! So my goals, I guess you could say are to ‘stay the course’ and keep singing, writing, and producing music to satisfy this unquenchable desire that I have to do nothing but that.
Stoli: When you are not doing music what else do you enjoy?
Steve: I enjoy spending as much time in the high country of Colorado as I can! While there on a daily basis, you will find myself and my tribe of six kids continuously up in the mountains running, biking, and hiking. I find the indescribable beauty of the Rocky Mountains to be an infinite and inexhaustible source of inspiration for art. Now I know why John Denver was always singing about this place (ha, ha). It truly is heaven on Earth. Also, by nature I am a hyper athletic individual, and I am always working out with weights, running, mountain biking…I literally do thousands of miles per year. I am also a 5-0 tennis player. I have a 120mph+ first serve and can hit my forehands upwards of 90 mph. Good enough to practice with Federer ( who my game is modeled after), but inadequate enough to get completely ripped apart by him in an actual set!
Stoli: What is coming up for Steven Burton and where you @ online?
Steve: Some of my plans for 2014 are to release a dozen new rock songs on CD, sometime this Spring. We start production on that here in January. Just to give you a head’s up, I’ll be using the same musician team. They have just proven to be stellar collaboration partners time and time again. They bring a lot to the table. Mike Baranski, on guitar, and who for a time played with Styx, he just flat out gets me and my writing style and lays down highways of useable material with ease. John Sferra, drummer, who co-founded the group Glass Harp, where he has drummed with Dove award winning guitarist Phil Keaggy. I just absolutely love Sferra’s drumming style and it suits my modern writing style to a “T”. He’s a great guy! Mike Talanca, Bass, who has worked with the likes of Bowie, Madonna and the Stones to name just a few, will be doing the sound engineering again as well as laying down his hot Bass licks. Also, I am very fortunate to have James ‘Chip’ Byers, who is a local talent, whose style is very modern and just reeks of Hendrix influence…which I absolutely adore.
In tandem with that, I am producing a classical aria CD of about a dozen Puccini and Verdi arias with full orchestra. It’s funny getting back to social media, I’ve noted that groups like @IngpenWilliams have been following me on Twitter and I think they are waiting for me to prove myself, that I actually can sing operatic arias like an opera singer (and not like a Pop or Rock singer). Also, a lot of my fan base seems to be intrigued by this opera singing fact and I’m getting a lot of pressure from them to crack that nut wide open. I’m more than happy to oblige!
Also, I am ready to release a video for “I Will LIVE”, which was a song I wrote and dedicated to five time Olympian, Todd Lodwick, America’s most winning skier, who is competing for a record sixth Olympics in the Nordic combined. I had the chance to cross-train with Todd in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and what I saw was a man who was more than an athlete, more than an iron man. What I saw was a man who had the courage to live and be exactly who he was called to be….. an Olympian! He’s out competing in World Cup this month, on the road to Sochi, Russia and the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Fans will be able to catch that on my website www.stevenburtonmusic.com, my blog www.thevoiceofstevenburton.com and Facebook at www.facebook.com/stevenburtonmusic.