New Artist Spotlight: Austin Burke (Part II)

We had a great conversation with Austin Burke in Early November and rather than condense that conversation into one short profile piece, we split it up into two stories where you really get a sense of who Austin Burke is and how he's been able to make waves with a new, non-traditional method of doing things. A 21st Century way of doing things.

Two weeks ago we shared part one of our conversation with rising singer/songwriter Austin Burke. He’s just released the single “Slower” to digital channels and playlists while also working “Whole Lot In Love” his debut single to country radio with AWAL. Below get to know why he’s working with a new company in the country world and more about his hopes and more in part two of our conversation! (READ PART I HERE)

Austin Burke: I feel blessed to be a new artist in this time. There’s a lot of hope and my parents said good luck. That’s the story I want to tell. There’s the misconception that people come here and have to have a lot to get going.

Matt Bjorke For Roughstock (RS): Yeah, I know, there’s a story out there that you have to have all that money but if you have the talent…

AB: It’s just, there needs to be hope for people. All you need to know is that you can put music out and give people a chance to listen now…

RS: Right, just this morning I was down the internet rabbit hole for your co-writer on “Slower” because she has a Soundcloud…

AB: Was it Ava, Ava Suppelsa?

RS: Yeah. And on those demos, I kept going and was trying to find her voice to hear her, not just her co-writers.

AB: Yeah, she’s insane. She’s actually doing background vocals on the track for “Slower.” And that’s what I love about Nashville, She’s special. She came here four months before we wrote that song maybe a year ago. She’ doesn’t yet have a publishing deal and still works at a restaurant. She’s still trying to make it and she’s going to have a song out there. And that’s so cool for Nashville…

RS: And once that’s out there, she’ll have a publisher and the soundcloud will go away…

AB: I don’t even have a publishing deal yet…

RS: Really? Well, I guess you can do the Shane McAnally model, where you’ll own it all. And, now you have the partnership with Kobalt and their AWAL label as their first country artist…

AB: Yeah, I’m the first country artist and it’s a new record label mentality, a new way for the new era of music. I think it’s interesting and that’s why I was drawn to it. I talked with all of the labels and nothing bad to say about them but I didn’t have the power or ability to make choices on my own and once you sign that deal with the label, your sort of ownership can go away. It’s one of the record deal things. With this I still own everything. Ticket sales, publishing, masters.

RS: Yeah, BMG is doing that kind of thing with more veteran artists and the master thing, I don’t think a lot of newer artists actually understand all of that. And veteran bands and artists start to understand the power of ownership.

AB: Without getting into a lot of specifics, it allows the artists to have a lot of control. It’s a cool model.

RS: I would think what it really does is that it allows you to pivot more quickly than some other models. Like you had “One Summer” out and now are able to pivot to “Slower” as the new digital single. But speaking about “Summer," It felt like an updated version of Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69” to me and about the feelings that that song evoked….

AB: Exactly, and everyone I talked to was initially unsure about putting out a “summer song” at the end of the summer but that song is about remembering a summer. And as a fun uptempo, live song to play, it felt right to place in between “Whole Lot In Love” and “Slower,” two songs with similar tempos, so I needed a little space and time for “Slower” to do what I hope it will do and “One Summer” gave me that.

RS: What is your plan for a radio rollout [for “Whole Lot In Love”]?

AB: That’s another part of the plan with AWAL. I wanted to hit traditional radio and while streaming has given me my fanbase. They [the fans] still want to hear [these songs] on the radio, too. I love radio and still listen to radio often. And I also feel like there’s a misconception about what streaming does with radio, that it takes away from radio and it really doesn't. It works well together. 

RS: Well, just look at Luke Combs…

AB: Kane Brown…

RS: And Morgan Wallen. He’s a good example of where his streaming following is outpacing radio on his new single ("Whiskey Glasses") but it’s helping his song convert at radio. And It seems to be a frontier that ties in well to where the future is…

AB: Yeah, and hopefully if there are new artists are reading this, I feel like the one thing I can say is to be patient. It’s not easy to say that and the truth is that I was working in a restaurant for four years and it’s not fun to not like what you do but I know the end goal. And there are still days where I have my team to tell me to relax and that everything will be OK. I feel like being patient and allow things to happen how they’re supposed to. Like what’s happened with Luke and Kane, they didn’t jump so fast.

RS: Well, We’ve covered all of the bases here so I’ll end this conversation with what I used to ask all the time when I spoke to someone first. What one word best describes country music to you?

AB: I’d say family.

AB: Family because, Nashville, I found a new family here. I have my family in Arizona but the city has adopted me. I’ve been asked by fans at shows so many times what should I do if I want to be a singer. I say move to Nashville. I know they may be the best person in their small town but Nashville is so welcoming and I know there are a few here that aren’t like that…

RS: Those people tend to not last long here…

AB: Yeah, On a whole Nashville wants people to win. They want their people to win. The town has so much to give and be giving to it as well. I try to meet with people all the time to talk. Vince Gill does it. Garth Brooks does it. So I'd be crazy to not do that too, when asked.

RS: Exactly. This is how I’ve gotten some interviews with songwriters, just by asking about songs. People are friendly here.

AB: It’s a very welcoming town.

3 Comments

  • Hey Arnold

    Why do I have a photo avatar??

  • Hey Arnold

    Matt, do you comment on Saving country music , under the username "hank" ?

  • Disappointed Father

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