Wide Awake: Yanni Burton Jumps Into Pop With Eyes Wide Open

Yanni BurtonYanni Burton; Photo: Charles Quiles

Classical Music Phenom holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in orchestral performance from Juilliard

By: Tom Tietjen/Special to TRT—

Yanni Burton describes his life as a “gay thirty-something in New York City.”

A graduate of the prestigious Juilliard School in Manhattan, Burton holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in orchestral performance and is the producer and general manager of the Salome Chamber Orchestra, where he has performed alongside a long list of celebrated artists including John Legend, Michelle Williams, Natasha Beddingfield, and Rufus Wainwright. In fact, John Legend and Rufus Wainwright were instrumental in helping Yanni to obtain an artist green card. Both graciously agreed to write letters of support for his US residency.

It’s allowed the Aussie born double bassist to stay in NYC and create his first album,  but surprisingly, it’s not in the instrumental genre he’s become known for. Same Old Love is a pop album and his brand new single, “Awake” is a broody song that brilliantly combines his passions for both classical and pop music.

Q: Tell us about your new song, “Awake”.

Yanni Burton: The song is a reflection of a stagnant relationship I found myself in a few years back. It was my first longterm relationship and the first man I really fell for. However, somewhere along the road, we lost the passion and fire we once shared. The song explores the ideas of feeling alone and stuck in a relationship and the desire for wanting something more.

Q: Has your ex heard the song? 

A: I have no idea. I hope not! I mean, I don’t say his name in the song.  I clearly don’t have the balls of Ariana Grande. Looking back, I really do think he knew how I felt and he was also probably struggling with the same issues, so in the end,  it was best for both that we parted ways.

Q: What’s your message to people looking for love this Valentine’s Day?

A: Go for it!  The more you give, the more you get.

Q: Have you found a new love yet? 

A: Yes, I have! My family visited from Australia last month and they got to meet my fiancé’s family!

Q: Fiancé?!?  So you’re taken?

A: Sorry, boys! A lucky guy already claimed all this. (Laughing) Maybe he’s not so lucky. I almost gave him a heart attack last Pride weekend.

Q: Please elaborate.

A: Every year, his birthday falls around pride, and we usually celebrate it at the festivities. However, this year, I decided to step it up. I told him I booked dinner at our favorite club and invited friends to come.  So, we’re all dressed up in suits. We get in the Uber and five minutes down the road, he freaks out and is like, “We’re in the wrong Uber. This is going to JFK!” I just smile, and he realizes dinner isn’t going to be in New York. We’re going to London for the week! He had a panic attack about work, toothbrushes, his contact lenses and the overall spontaneity of the event. He’s not that kinda guy. But after I showed him his bag had all of his essentials, he began breathing again. That reaction was priceless!

Q: We’ve been nice so far in this interview … let’s get a little naughty!  

A: Haha, cheeky!

Q: You’re not shy about showing off your body on Instagram.  Is that to show off your Barry’s Boot Camp results or is it a way to get more followers?

A: If I’m totally honest, it’s a bit of both but Barry’s and thirst trap photos seem to be the perfect combination. I’ve been pretty keen on fitness for the past couple of years, but it was only when I started doing Barry’s earlier this year that I found the confidence to show off the results.  It has helped my follow count, too.

Q: We sure appreciate the bikini and brief photos!

A: I was the fat Greek boy growing up. Up until 22, I was a big boy, almost double the weight that I am now. Once I started working out, I noticed my lifestyle change drastically. Not only did I find confidence in my body, but in my social and work life.

Q: How do you feel about nudity today?  

A: I’m all for it!  In fact, I just completed my first nude photo shoot for my next single. They should be out in the next month. The human body is a beautiful thing and comes in all shapes and sizes.  There’s no reason to shame it.

Q: Have you ever gone full monty in public? 

A: One of my favorite things to do is nude swims on summer nights. Nothing more freeing! My parents traumatized me as a kid by being total nudists, so I guess it rubbed off on me.

To learn more about Yanni Burton visit Yanniburton.com.

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