Writer/Producer/Artist/Instrumentalist/Actor- At the service of education throughout New Mexico and beyond, Pianist for the National Dance Institute.
Listen to music by Michael Burt on:
Apple, Music, iTunes, Amazon, Pandora
Anne Kelly (00:00:12):
Welcome to art in the raw conversations with creative people tonight, I’m excited to introduce you to Michael Burt Jr. Michael is a musician and an actor, and we’re gonna hear about his life as a creative person. If this is your first time watching, I’m your host Anne Kelly. Now you might be wondering who I am in a nutshell, I’m someone that’s been in love with art and music my entire life. I’ve now been working in the professional gallery world for about 15 years now. And I started art in the raw about halfway through 2020 to keep people connected and inspired. If you see value in that, throw me a subscribe. If you’d like to know a little bit more, take a look at the description below, but in the meantime, I’m excited to introduce you to Michael Burt Jr. Welcome Michael. Hey, Hey now
Michael Burt Jr (00:01:09):
How are you doing, man?
Anne Kelly (00:01:11):
Good. Good. Thanks for joining tonight. Where are you at?
Michael Burt Jr (00:01:14):
I’m in Albuquerque right now, a little bit behind the isotope stadium. I’m kind of new to Albuquerque and
Anne Kelly (00:01:20):
You have a few musical instruments in the room with
Michael Burt Jr (00:01:24):
You. My spoils of New Mexico, some of the toys I’ve gained along the way, this organ right here, believe it or not. My most major instruments were all gifts. This was a gift. This base, my, my price possession was a gift by one of my students and my music career in New Mexico started if believe it like that was the catalyst of it all. This is the story of my life, by the way, just kindness and blessings. And in all kinds of sorts of situations, you know,
Anne Kelly (00:01:53):
As I understand it, you play with a jazz trio or also writing your own music. You play a variety of instruments. Recently, you were in a movie, you, you teach music. So I mean, you’re involved in a lot of things, but all of them tie back to music. Well, they
Michael Burt Jr (00:02:12):
Do. And I’m very fortunate even to be playing music, cuz that was not my path. When I came to New Mexico, hadn’t played music in almost a decade as a pursuit, as a professional pursuit. So when I came to New Mexico, I was uh, working in home healthcare. Hmm. I hadn’t, I wasn’t playing music or writing or anything. It wasn’t even in my purview. So I’m just glad that the fact that I play music now and have all these outlets has led to has, has led to so much prosperity, cuz it was the whole, whole opposite of the life I was living in
Anne Kelly (00:02:46):
Virginia. And then you moved to New Mexico on a whim or whim. Okay. Yeah,
Michael Burt Jr (00:02:52):
Someone in, in my faith in my congregation had noticed that I just kept hitting my head up against the wall. There it’s a very difficult place. Uh, you might not know this about Northern Virginia and maybe you do, are you familiar with the D uh, DMV area, the DC, Maryland Virginia area?
Anne Kelly (00:03:09):
Not, not specifically, no.
Michael Burt Jr (00:03:10):
It’s the most expensive place in the United States of America because everyone works for the, the, the, uh, department of defense. So the average household income generally in that whole area is like a hundred thousand dollars a household. And, uh, you know, for, I, I had come off of Broadway and came to the suburbs with no intention of having to stay in Virginia. But circumstance had, uh, uh, kept me in Virginia and I just couldn’t afford with my skillset to survive in that area. Uh, 10 years later down the road, uh, way past, even thinking of the things I was doing, then someone noticed I was struggling and, and he said, he said to me, and I had, I had been in a desperate prayer over my life. I had had a heart attack. I didn’t even tell you this. Uh, I lost my, uh, my, my mom, my heart. I lost 40% of my heart and a heart attack. Wow. And I was just in a desperate spot living in a really desperate situation in an environment. It didn’t seem like it wanted or cared for me. And he says to me, one day out of nowhere, out of nowhere in, he says, Michael, I was talking to my, my wife and uh, we’re moving to New Mexico. And I was like, oh right. And you’re my only friend in Virginia. It’s like, what am I gonna do? And he said, well, we think you should come with us.
Anne Kelly (00:04:31):
Wow. What? And you did.
Michael Burt Jr (00:04:34):
Yeah. Oh, I didn’t hesitate. It was the answer to that prayer. It’s the best decision I could have ever made. Cuz Virginia for me was, was bleak, was desperate. And I mean, uh, five months after I leave, Charlottesville happens four years down the road. After that capital riots happened, it’s just an unstable place that, uh, doesn’t know what it wants to be and has strongly divided lines. And I fell into a place, uh, where I couldn’t move forward or move back. That’s all so
Anne Kelly (00:05:05):
New Mexico welcomed you in. And, and then being back here, you just started playing music
Michael Burt Jr (00:05:11):
Again, this is even crazier. So having pretty much failed as a music teacher in the suburbs. I go to Los Alamos. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, that’s where I ended up crash landing. When I come to, uh, to New Mexico and I heard about a, a jam session there, they have a jazz jam session. Bathtub brewery is what it’s called, where all the scientists go. We’re having a jazz jam session and I hadn’t played up stream base. And almost 10 years I picked up the string base. One of the guys playing was the teacher for Los Alamos he perceived something in me. Next thing you know, I was teaching lessons, uh, conducting classes. I had my own electric string orchestra there. Like this is not a slow progression. He noticed something hot on it. And life took off, took off. Like, I love that cleaning for new me, doing stuff for New Mexico, going to different schools. It was like my whole past that I, that I, I knew that I lived, but it seemed like a dream. A decade is a long time. Obviously I was still rusty cuz I mean the caliber after that much time and the confidence it’s been a, a, a, a slow road, but that got me into the door, playing music and connected to some of the best musicians in New Mexico. John tri Acosta, John Ranel bird, Dalton,
Anne Kelly (00:06:30):
T de Heath. And then this eventually led you to getting a role in a move.
Michael Burt Jr (00:06:37):
Be it did it. Once I decided to walk the road of a musician again, I couldn’t really escape it. If I wanted to have any kind of success in this life, I had to redevelop my skills again. I had to double down on some of the things that I thought I knew were true practice. My teaching method. I was a lot of work, involve a lot of practice. And that was, that was what made me a professional in the past. Cuz I told you, I used to play in, uh, Broadway pit orchestras. You know, my early twenties that pursuit of excellence is almost athletic.
Anne Kelly (00:07:09):
I had read a lot of musicians felt that they had to practice six hours a day for three to five years. That’s is that kind of
Michael Burt Jr (00:07:18):
Commitment, right? It’s not just a joy of music. That’s gonna take you there. There’s a lot of people that enjoy music. But when you’re playing with people with really high aptitudes, you’re talking about their ability to identify, uh, melodies. And then like I was telling you earlier to move them in different keys in situations. So it’s a, it really is a, it’s almost a telepathic kind of thing, especially jazz because you’re playing it’s instinctual. Once you learn the information, you take that information and you talk, you don’t use words, you use colors and situations to identify mood or support or the need to be able to express as an individual. So all that time practicing for me was really familiarizing myself for the first time with those situations in a concrete way, because part of what made me stop playing, uh, bro, uh, to get out the bro, uh, to get out the Broadway circuit was I felt like I was jive.
Michael Burt Jr (00:08:18):
You know that word job I was fooling. Well, it can mean good or bad. Yeah. My skills were, uh, weren’t legitimate. I felt like I had all the confidence. I had the, the virtue, the stupid natural talent, but I was lazy and I was uneducated about some of the things that were happening. I felt like I had a lot more to learn and I put music down while I was in Virginia. When I came back home off of one of my Broadway tours, tried to pursue a lot of other things. I’m not sure were in my best interest.
Anne Kelly (00:08:48):
And so why did you actually put down music for
Michael Burt Jr (00:08:52):
A decade? Uh, I was in my young twenties when I did Broadway. I got a taste of fame and success. That was a little bit abnormal. So my view, I probably could have ridden that wave, but in my mind, I, would’ve not had an accurate sense of what life, what living is really about. Mm-hmm <affirmative> it would’ve, I would’ve been jaded and bratty and lazy and uneducated. All the things that I was was just telling you, I life would’ve allowed me to continue to pursue success with all those foibles and all those things. I wanted to see what life was like as a regular person and everyone around me and my family unit. They just don’t see me as, you know, this movie actor, entertainer, even when I was doing Broadway, it was like, you’re doing what you can’t do that. <laugh> and I did my first job.
Michael Burt Jr (00:09:48):
I was on a cruise ship when I was 19. I remember my dad, I had a electric base and my dad was like, you can’t do that. It’s like what? That’s a weird I thing to say. But I, it was just like this inability to connect me with, with anything kind of the, the, the greater with, with, uh, what do you call it? Some of the greater pursuits in life, cuz it’s not better. It’s just a, just happens to be like little excessive extravagant pursuits. They couldn’t see me being a part of it. And so I bought into what they thought, cuz I thought it would help.
Anne Kelly (00:10:20):
But maybe stepping back a little bit from all of that. Maybe if you had just kind of rolled with that. I would’ve
Michael Burt Jr (00:10:27):
Been a monster. I was arrogant. I opened two first national tours. When you do a first national tour on Broadway, it means that the reopen the show for the first time, this is the million dollar show. So I got to meet Cameron McIntosh. I got to meet these super celebrities. Uh, uh, do you know Cameron McIntosh? He owns cats. He owns like miss. I hung out with these people, rubbing shoulders had dinner like huge, right? I didn’t know I was 21 and really not as cultured as my job at any rate, it would’ve spoiled me cuz it was already spoiling me. But at the same time, I think the road coming back to Virginia and coming home gave me some kind of dark undertones. Cuz uh, when I came back home to Virginia, I’ll take you back to 2010. Uh, Valentine’s day. I was walking from my buddy, uh, TJ’s house, the army of buddy of mine.
Michael Burt Jr (00:11:19):
I was living in my mama’s basement at the time. That was another big bummer about going home is I couldn’t afford to live outside of the house. My skills were unmarketable to the suburbs at any rate to go back to my story. Uh, 2010, I’m walking down the street in the middle of a snowstorm for my buddy TJ’s house in the middle of a snowstorm in Virginia, uh, tiptoeing. And I’m passing this gas station, this lonely gas station on the highway, penguin, walking flash, flash, flash, flash, flash flash, six cop cars flashed their lights on me and accused me of trying to Rob the store that resulted in me having my license revoked and a $5,000 fine with the accruing interest. And this goes back to you saying, why did I stay get a wife for music for so long is, um, the system kind of is kind of set to keep you from being able to do what you have to do once my license is revoked.
Michael Burt Jr (00:12:23):
Now I need a ride to go to work. Now I need public transportation, which in the suburbs don’t exist. And so that changes my work potential that might make me like for work that makes me have to walk to work. Or I used to Jo to work actually is what I used to do. Yeah. But it, it did take me away from music for about five years and five years away from music living in your mom’s basement. And then I think I went, I lived in DC for a little while after that. And then five years more, you begin to forget yourself a little bit, you know,
Anne Kelly (00:12:52):
Kind of go survival mode, right? Yeah.
Michael Burt Jr (00:12:54):
A day to day kind of thing. And then, you know, and then, and then the fame aspect, right? Because I was signing autographs, playing for packed auditoriums all over the country over and over makes you like, was that real? And then it makes you feel bitter and then it makes you feel entitled playing music at a high level was like a sport. So I didn’t have the kind, I lost my edge. Like that thing that makes you invincible. How do you get that back? I didn’t think I
Anne Kelly (00:13:20):
Could, but clearly it, it was there all along and, and he could tell, I know what
Michael Burt Jr (00:13:25):
He saw though, because what I was there then, and what I am now is like, it’s enormous difference, Ryan. His name is Ryan Finn. He never wants to hear how much I appreciate him, Ryan. I love you.
Anne Kelly (00:13:36):
Can you imagine if you had not jumped back into music?
Michael Burt Jr (00:13:40):
I would’ve been dead and I can say that was certainty. Cuz I told you I had a heart attack that took 40% of my heart, uh, the stress, the sadness. And also, you know, some of my habits from tour, my left auditor was a hundred percent blocked. I was inclined to go to the hospital to go fix myself, to go make sure I was okay to describe the, the state of my being in Virginia. When I decided to check myself into the hospital for heart attack, I was by myself. That’s the situation I was in. And to contrast it with this New Mexico situation where I have family and people love me and people that I love and people.
Anne Kelly (00:14:18):
So, so you’re writing your own music. You’re playing with other people and you’re teaching. I mean, music has just become everything.
Michael Burt Jr (00:14:27):
It means a lot. Well more than anything it’s clarified now that I feel like I have something to live for now. I was young, my motivation for playing music. The thing that got me, all those hot gigs. So early fame, fortune glory, ambition, prominence, but like the undercurrent of all those feelings. And the thing that writes me now is like a sincere knowledge. I guess the word would be aptitude and also like desire to want to make a life for myself in a way that I, I couldn’t see before people that I love that I want to, you know, to take care of kids that I love, that I just wanna see thrive. Like I am not shy about it. I will give my student everything they want as, as long as they don’t take it for the power of their own glory. That’s my like one caveat. Like, don’t take what I teach you to be Glor, Glor, glorified in yourself. You know, I’m a hundred times better than you and I’m not like that. <laugh> you know, so if I’m not like that, please take that from me. If you don’t take anything, be let your merit speak. That’s who, I’m a big advocate of
Anne Kelly (00:15:31):
And, and the program you work for, if that’s an Espanola, that seems like that was, that must be really
Michael Burt Jr (00:15:37):
Rewarding. It’s a nice nonprofit based out of New York city go into schools and we teach these rudimentary dance classes all year long. And the way we do it is we split it up into themes and we keep it interesting for ’em different schools, all over new elementary schools. I should say all over New Mexico are getting these little clips of routines here and there that we’re teaching them all year long. And what they’re not realizing is this is all part of a grand routine that we’re gonna do at the end of the year with 500 kids, uh, all done the same states, jumping and dancing and singing. And uh, it’s really powerful experience. I came on right before COVID hit. So I didn’t get to do the final show with the 500 kids, but I’ve seen the video. I know the impact of it. And it’s a great program. Everyone. I talk to all the adult kids are the grower kids, the more brown kids who have done NDI, they all say it gives them so much confidence, so many skills like that. They never thought they would have just having learned to dance, learn the confidence to dance, to be embarrassed.
Anne Kelly (00:16:44):
It maybe to be okay with being embarrassed. Exactly.
Michael Burt Jr (00:16:47):
Yeah. You know, did you ever do music theater as a kid?
Anne Kelly (00:16:50):
I did. Theater in improv was my favorite.
Michael Burt Jr (00:16:54):
Oh, you look like you have some improv comedian in you, you know, you know, the comradery of, of, uh, of having like a troop, like a team of people. Yes. You know, mm-hmm, <affirmative> well, it’s the same environment with NDI and I, and I think it’s very rewarding. And so my role in that is I am playing piano,
Speaker 3 (00:17:18):
Michael Burt Jr (00:17:21):
And I’m just playing and they’re dancing, they’re doing their steps. They’re doing their little routines and we nail it into ’em week after week and some week, most weeks they really love it. Some weeks it’s work.
Anne Kelly (00:17:32):
I think anything like that is kind of that balance. And so it’s, it’s exciting. It’s fun, but it’s also work. That’s the
Michael Burt Jr (00:17:38):
Good lesson because kids nowadays, they, uh, see the glory, they see the finish line. They don’t always readily understand the path it takes to achieve it. And it’s easy to go on Instagram and show that you hit a jump shot, you know, but it’s another thing to sit in the gym and develop the confidence to hit 10 in a row. Or it’s easy to post the one take out of a hundred where you played the good baseline. It’s another thing to be a good bass player with NDI. It’s kind of the same thing. You know, we try to drill these skills into these kids and some of them really love it. And the ones who really love it, they be are sent to other classes later in life. They could become your, uh, primas your, your top ballerinas mm-hmm <affirmative>. And that’s what they really NDIS real mission is just to find the people who really love it and be able to offer the nation it’s greatest talent from New Mexico.
Michael Burt Jr (00:18:28):
And if we have a NDI is national dance Institute, I had a couple things to add to the, to the saga. Did I tell you I was hit by a semi truck? You did not. Oh, this is kind of an important detail leading up to the movie for COVID hits January. Yeah. Sorry. I left that detail out in between the heart attack and everything else. January 20th, 2019, I was leaving at the time the person I was with and it was a foggy day outside and I made a note to pull over to the side of the road. My instinct just said, pull over to the side of the road. I looked to the left and I see the front end of a semi truck driving straight at me. And this is in New Mexico. This is off of route 14. Oh, oh yeah. In New Mexico heading, uh, away from Madrid mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, hit me head on.
Michael Burt Jr (00:19:21):
I had about 0.1 second point not point. I don’t know how many, much time I had, but it was driving straight at me and was leveled was crushed. Wow. Through this whole story, I told you about the, the resurgence to rebirth, getting myself back up to par. I I’m hit by a semi-truck. My arm is paralyzed, my left, my left hip. I don’t know what it is. I don’t know if I’m bleeding or, uh, dying. I just know that I’m up next to this fully loaded semi propane truck and I can’t move. And I was there for an hour before any rescue team came. And then when the rescue team did come, they didn’t, uh, know how to remove a semi truck. They didn’t have the proper tools to remove it, but, but here you are, you were okay. I had to really work myself back up.
Michael Burt Jr (00:20:14):
It took January, March, April, may, June. I don’t think I was able to move again to almost like July, even though I tried to sneak in some gigs, like I just was so hungry to play, but on all honesty, I couldn’t move my arm. I was on a Walker for a pretty long time. So that happened. So I guess you could say that. I thought my music was gone again. At that time, my mindset was, will I ever move again? Cuz nobody had told me that was guaranteed. Right. And uh, my other, my other thing was, uh, where’s my money barrel gas who hit me. Yeah. And that’s an ongoing suit right now. Then getting hit by that truck. It was just like, it just really brought out a lot of stuff inside of me, expectations. What are your expectations when you’re paralyzed? You know, what’s your future, you know? And
Anne Kelly (00:21:03):
I suspect you had a lot of time to think about all of that. Yeah.
Michael Burt Jr (00:21:07):
Literally. Cause I couldn’t move <laugh>
Anne Kelly (00:21:10):
I mean, even just from the perspective of the pandemic this last year, which is still ongoing, it
Michael Burt Jr (00:21:17):
Wasn’t real to me, it really wasn’t real to me.
Anne Kelly (00:21:20):
Michael Burt Jr (00:21:21):
You were just, I was indoors the whole time when I came back out seven months later, six, seven months later, like I was like, what happened to the world? Sure. With that. And these realities, I knew I had to start taking care of myself and I started working out. My thing was I’m I’m gonna lift myself back into fitness. I’m gonna, uh, my lift, my legs. I’m gonna play basketball again. I’m gonna run again. Really. Ultimately the accident was very valuable and I guess for me, sometimes you gotta get broken down to your last atom. It also reminded me to stop and smell the roses. The life is valuable that friends are valuable. That love is valuable and kindness is valuable. And you know, life is an undeserved gift. Who deserves it? And the fact that we get to live a great life in this country in a place where people live in dirt floors and poverty and war, like I see it now in a way I didn’t see it before.
Michael Burt Jr (00:22:19):
That’s all, my attitude was always that I knew that life would turn around again. And when it did turn around, I would be waiting to taut, everyone who did like to look in their face and be like, I knew it. You guys come on. Y’all what y’all really didn’t see it. It just, that’s an ugly feeling. The culmination of it, not just one individually, cuz one individually, it would all come back up again. But having been broken down physically like this and my emotions and my hopes and expectations, uh, it really brings me to a place where I feel blessed. I don’t feel angry. I don’t feel like anyone’s hatred brought me to this place. I feel motivated to share my art, my music. So, so in
Anne Kelly (00:23:04):
This past year, in terms of playing music, a lot of visual artists have felt kind of embraced in this past year where they could just go into the studio all year and make art. But music tends to usually be kind of a group sport for a lack of a better word.
Michael Burt Jr (00:23:23):
It’s always been my aspiration to collaborate and make music as on a production level. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, it’s been a hard, hardest thing I’ve ever had to do until I did this, this recent Netflix movie. It’s a Jay-Z movie it’s called the harder day fall. It’s got, it’s a got Regina king anda, uh, Jonathan majors, Del Raylin Zazi beats LA Keith Stanfield. Like I could just go on with people I’ve respected going into it. Right. But being on the set of that and just being able to be myself, the way I was received, wasn’t the ready people were receiving me before. But on set, they were like, this is is unique. Who are you? And they were giving me encouragement that I didn’t anticipate. They’re like these tracks you make, this is fire. You need to keep making tracks. Well, you can’t really get better encouragement than the people who are at the top of the game.
Anne Kelly (00:24:20):
If we can talk about this, that’s kind of the interesting aspect about your role in that movie is I think you had explained it as you were playing a role of someone in the 18 hundreds that was a piano player and a guitar player, which is who you are, but in 2021, yeah. That must have just been interesting in terms of transitioning to acting, which is something you hadn’t done before though. You’re a musician. So kind of bringing that to acting was probably a good transition or helpful or yeah,
Michael Burt Jr (00:24:58):
Especially being a jazz musician cuz on set, at least for this production, I can’t speak for anything. But the one, the one I’ve been in, which is this Netflix movie being as young as I was doing Broadway, like the average age for a pit musician, wasn’t young twenties, they’re, they’re grown people. You know? So I was, I did had no interest in hanging with anyone in the pit. My time in Broadway was with the actors. And so we would talk shop and I would sit and I would listen to is their choices, their methods, their techniques. And I even in my own stupid naive way, cuz I was so young, I was listening to what they were saying and banking it. I never thought I had an opportunity to put it into action as far as I can see, at least from my role, a lot of what acting is.
Michael Burt Jr (00:25:45):
It’s just surrendering to what you, where you all are and making it real, which as a, for a jazz musician is pretty easy. Cuz we take the moment so seriously anyway, like we’re hinging on the moment to say something sincere all the time. Like, and then when we don’t, you know, we’re kicking ourselves in the corner. So being on set, it was more like what’s my motivation when my scene, uh, Ozzie beat test to cue me to play piano after a very tense scene. And so that leads me to ask the obvious question, how does she know me to cue me? So now there’s a backstory that I’m creating in my mind, oh, we have a history. As a matter of fact, I love her and I’ll do anything. She says, cuz that’s what I would do in real life. She has a, a, a relationship with Jonathan major’s character who plays NA love. And so the whole time I’m bound for her. And I’m kind of looking at Jonathan majors, giving them the side. I like even the moment, cuz I’m like, who is this guy? He’s not from here. He doesn’t know me. And I guess it was all that prior just listening and talking that brought that to the for. So I guess you could credit it to music.
Anne Kelly (00:26:52):
Yeah. You would just walk onto the set as just an actor and you didn’t have that music background to connect to it. Maybe wouldn’t have been quite as fluid. Yeah.
Michael Burt Jr (00:27:03):
You know, you know where it really plays. Uh, and it plays to confidence because I went into set. I didn’t need an acting role to have confidence actors, their resumes are built on the stuff they’ve done before. It’s a tough industry. Some roles matter, some don’t matter. And it just takes a live work in order to build an archive. I already knew what I could do as a musician. So coming on set, it was more like my only concern was what was coming, what am I gonna see? Like what is this about?
Anne Kelly (00:27:34):
So one, the questions I often like to ask on show is about time travel. You mentioned in this film, you, you are a musician in the 18 hundreds mm-hmm <affirmative> whereas in reality, uh, you are living in 2021. So I’m, I’m just kind of curious about the time travel experience <laugh> based upon the movie experience.
Michael Burt Jr (00:28:00):
You know, it’s funny to say I, I was just being myself. I, I think that I would translate really well to the 1850s, but I’d probably be killed immediately because I’ve just not made that grit or I would have to be my real role or the role I was in the movie because staying in a saloon would be the only place I would feel safe. And it’s fun. Even on set, you see like these weird dynamics, like obviously we’re in a, a, a place of ill repu. It’s a house, right? Mm-hmm <affirmative> and that’s the saloon. And so you have your relationships within there, but it’s even being the musician in this Western setting, you could see that like half of the guys like me and half of the guys hate me, cuz I’m the only guy who plays a piano in there. Do you see what I mean in a place where everybody’s trying to get women, I’m doing the thing that everyone loves. So everyone hates me. So in that regard, I don’t think it’s totally different than reality. Now I feel like a musician then is very similar to a musician now, an object of a appreciation And scorn could see that, I guess the time travel was seamless.
Anne Kelly (00:29:09):
Well, and, but that’s like a kinda an interesting experience.
Michael Burt Jr (00:29:13):
It was, they built the whole set or they borrow the set or recycled the set to a whole Western theme in the, the Western is pretty black. It’s almost an all black Western. That was a, a, another aspect of it too, is the communal aspect of it that I, I hadn’t anticipated.
Anne Kelly (00:29:31):
And that particular film has maybe gone on a little longer than other films just based upon the pandemic.
Michael Burt Jr (00:29:38):
I think it’s running long now because I think JayZ wants to make a Netflix masterpiece real talk like he’s making the soundtrack for it. Do you know the artist seal? Yeah. how are we gonna survive
Anne Kelly (00:29:49):
. I mean, not personally, but oh boy, you know,
Michael Burt Jr (00:29:53):
His brother was director. He goes by the rap name of bullets or the, the artist name of bullets. His name is Jason. You can really get a sense that they were trying to make a masterpiece. Well,
Anne Kelly (00:30:03):
So this is interesting about film where movies will just go immediately to Netflix or they’re being made for Netflix. We didn’t, we didn’t really see anything like that before, once
Michael Burt Jr (00:30:15):
It’s out, it’s out and like I have Netflix and uhoh, well, if Netflix watches this, you know, there’s so much of it. And I, I watch a very small percentage of it and it’s like, but the stuff eventually you end up watching it and then you watch it again and again, cuz that’s how Netflix works. So it’s almost different like than being in the movies. Cuz if I had a box office movie, I could easily say like, oh well you might go see or people might not go see it, but it’s Netflix, everybody in their mama’s gonna watch Netflix. Right? I have some creative stuff in the works. I’ve been producing some music and I have some videos that are coming hopefully within the year, one of the people involved her name’s Erica. Uh Frank’s and she’s worked with Marvel studios and she’ll be designing some puppets and some cool stuff. And Devin Ludlow, uh, Santa Fe himself, do you know him? I do. And you have to talk to him. He makes introduce me. Okay. I will, I will tell he’s the, uh, film festival Rex, uh, with puppets. And so we have some things written in the works, some re of the exciting videos with some music. I don’t know if a lot of people heard anything like you.
Anne Kelly (00:31:27):
So you sent me some tracks. How, how would you explain that music to the people?
Michael Burt Jr (00:31:32):
I’m not entirely sure it fits into a ready box except for the box of entertainment. Maybe you could put it into R and B rockish it’s too bad. We live in a society where everything is split into genres where you have to commit. Like, I feel like I almost like where do you put steely,
Anne Kelly (00:31:50):
Dan, it’s an interesting role now. And you used to have to put out an album, but there’s kind of this liberation where you as a musician could go put out one, track, two tracks, something on Spotify.
Michael Burt Jr (00:32:03):
Right? Right. Well it’s the oversaturation it changes the nature of the business to parallel it. When I was doing my Broadway musicals, that was in age, that was like 98, 99, 90 2000, 2001, maybe even 2006 at one point what brought glory and fame was through a very narrow funnel. And there is no funnel at all. Social media has really just widened the turf where everybody’s producing content. And because of that, it’s just like with any supply and demand, unless you have a niche market, I, I wonder if it’s just not a diluted industry right now. And that’s not me sounding bitter. I’m just saying like there’s millions of people now that call themselves musicians.
Anne Kelly (00:32:48):
That’s all. But I mean, it’s also true in the podcast industry. I’m potentially competing with famous actresses and comedian, like everybody’s on YouTube.
Michael Burt Jr (00:33:01):
Right, right, right, right, right. It, when it’s your money you’re talking about, it does take a, because for me, uh, this is not me getting dark on the industry. Any industry can do whatever it wants. Like I got what I got and that’s what I’m rolling with beforehand. Music meant a lot more when it was through a narrow chat because it’s distributed narrowly that’s all. And so your market value is dictated by who, you know, in the industry. I know people in the industry, but now the industry is, is they spread it more thinly and have more artists and release more content. It’s just like, if you sold burgers and now there’s McDonald’s and McDonald McDonald’s and McDonald’s, and McDonald’s my hope is professionally. My music is, is at a higher aptitude than G and F courts. And it’s heart music. It’s music of my experience. I hope that that leads me to a place that some my stuff, niche and more valuable. I was out the game for like 10 years and I come back in the game. And so that’s like me joining social media. I’ve had Instagram since like December. Right? A lot of the, my people that I, I used to know that are picking back up with. It’s like, whoa, like these are relationships. Aren’t like happy go lucky. Like they used to be. You’re very concerned about my success.
Anne Kelly (00:34:21):
Infringing on you makes me wanna ask about live music because I feel like that’s kind of a different animal entirely. Yeah, it is. Yeah. It’s like in the moment what’s happening now,
Michael Burt Jr (00:34:33):
Live performances are meritorious. Give me a guitar. I’ll show you my, my chops have no reflection on how many friends I have, but I do intend to be at the Edinburg friends festival next summer. Are you familiar with that? Is there
Anne Kelly (00:34:45):
An art aspect to it as well? There there is. I originally learned about it or someone, someone who is a painter, I might need to go,
Michael Burt Jr (00:34:53):
Oh, oh yes. <laugh>. I fully intend to go. The whole point of it is all the artists in the whole world look toward Edinburg, Scotland as the place where they wanna put on their art for like two months every year. And they go and they put on their independent productions. I’ve seen, uh, Shakespeare 12th night in clown. I’ve seen all kinds of stuff. I hung out with Vince VA for a solid week. My company manager from Oklahoma, the musical was another musical. I did a Broadway show. I did. He invited me to come to Edinburgh and we were out there and I was working at administration. Everyone from the world comes together to just to show that they love art and they do it in any way that they see fit. There’s no pressure to, for conformity. And that’s what the beauty I found in. It was how, how unattached to people’s opinions. It was, it was like people were really going for it. And also they’re on their, on the sides of the streets, uh, promoting their, uh, their shows. So you see people giving monologues in the street juggling, but I fully intend to perform there next year in, in an effort to like continue to expand globally.
Anne Kelly (00:36:05):
Is it true that you’re lefthanded, but you play right handed. It
Michael Burt Jr (00:36:09):
Actually is. That actually is true. That’s a weird thing to discern. I would never play lefthanded, but my mind thinks in that to, I think we’re, we look like we come from about the same generation. Remember in school when teachers made us, when we had lefthand teachers told us it was wrong, so
Anne Kelly (00:36:25):
They didn’t tell me,
Michael Burt Jr (00:36:26):
Oh, oh, uh, maybe it’s a thing in the country. But when you were lefthanded in the country, teachers say, no, no, my, no, you take your right
Anne Kelly (00:36:33):
Hand. I mean, I also wasn’t lefthanded. So maybe they would’ve told me that. So did you start playing music right. Handed as opposed to
Michael Burt Jr (00:36:40):
Lefthand? It just makes more sense. That way the grid, the grid of music makes more sense. In my left hand, even though it’s slower and now it’s slightly, uh, banged up cuz of my accident,
Anne Kelly (00:36:50):
Snowboarding is another thing that’s big for me. And, and I’m basically a left handed snowboarder.
Michael Burt Jr (00:36:57):
If does that mean that you grab the board with your left hand when you like doing tricks and stuff,
Anne Kelly (00:37:02):
They call it goofy. So I’m on the board the opposite way. Does
Michael Burt Jr (00:37:06):
I’ve never been skiing before, does it hurt when you fall?
Anne Kelly (00:37:09):
Depends on the snow. Have you skateboarded before? No. Uhuh you figure like if you’re on a skateboard and you crash on the sidewalk, that’s gonna right. So snowboarding’s that way when it’s hard packed, but there’s also this amazing thing called powder can just crash all day long and, and you don’t even care. It’s it’s
Michael Burt Jr (00:37:29):
Amazing. Every time I think about skiing, I, I think of sunny bono. Was it sunny bono?
Anne Kelly (00:37:36):
Yeah. It didn’t work out well. Well for now, I mean
Michael Burt Jr (00:37:39):
Just feel very scared. Uh, very leery about doing sports that I could not survive in. Uh, during one of the tours, we had a chance to go skydiving and I signed up for it. And then I decided not to because I have strange fortune and I have to protect myself. I didn’t know I was gonna be hit by a truck 20, 20 years ago when I was doing Broadway. But I had an inkling that if I sky dye, you know how like the cartoons like, uh, Wiley coyote will open his backpack and pots and pans will come out and stuff and then he’s just falling into nothing. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, that’s the story of my life. I’ll open. My, my parachute bag tennis years will come out and I’m just falling to my death and I’ll probably survive.
Anne Kelly (00:38:18):
So I started skiing when I was three. So that’s like, I don’t know how early you started playing music, but like skiing, snowboarding. That’s that’s like walking to me.
Michael Burt Jr (00:38:29):
I couldn’t imagine putting a baby on a snowboard.
Anne Kelly (00:38:31):
So I mean, sure. It’s not without risk, but if you know how to do it,
Michael Burt Jr (00:38:36):
Hey, you got it. You got it. You got it. It’s just like ice skating. Right.
Anne Kelly (00:38:39):
And actually that was kinda a question I had about music is, I mean, I would imagine with music. Okay, so you have all your chords down, you know how to play the piano, you know how to play the bass, the guitar. So I would imagine once you start, you’re not really thinking about this cord, that cord, what you’re doing. It’s like driving a car, right? Like you’re just, you’re just playing it really. I’m
Michael Burt Jr (00:39:04):
Thinking about everyone else. Like when you free yourself up to, to on those kind of levels, everyone else is available. Now I can listen to you and listen to who’s playing with me and, and be ready to respond or not respond. That’s the great that’s the, the, my new thing about playing bass is what not to do when to just let something sit and let it be. I’m filled with so much energy. I’m always wanting to go like move to the next moment. That’s not really a, a big bass player, like first personality trait. And so like, I’m learning to like, listen, you’re playing the base, let your base just resonate. Just chill. Uh, I know my bass affects the situation mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, and just learning to trust that more.
Anne Kelly (00:39:51):
And so it’s like that with snowboarding. If you’re thinking right foot turn left, let a foot turn, you know, like it’s never gonna work. You’re not enjoying it as much. But I feel like it’s more of what I imagine me playing music is like, it’s just a meditation. You’re just, you’re,
Michael Burt Jr (00:40:06):
It’s funny that you said that cause you, you really just expressed the, the what makes an amateur and what makes a professional. Like you really summed it up. Think about my students. I know in they line they’re like E minor chord here. Uh, Mr. Bird said, F would sound good here. E minor here E minor here is just like, oh no, no, no, no. You know, you practice to be unconscious. And
Anne Kelly (00:40:31):
In my own, wanting to play music recently, I kind of thought maybe I just needed to sit there. And like, for example, play E minor 9,000 times over better
Michael Burt Jr (00:40:42):
Thing to do would be to play E minor 9,000 times, very slow and just listen and just listen. What you hear so many people when they first start music are so excited to create motion. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, but so much of music, the motion is already created. As soon as you play one note, as soon as you STR once and you hold it on the strings, the note’s gonna resonate might as well, take a second to listen to it and see what’s going on. But it is also good to play 9,000 times if you’re playing in rhythm, because that gives you cuz four, four of those times, four, four of those times in a row, that’s four corner notes. 1, 2, 3, 4, 2, 2 3 4 3 2 3 4 4 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 4 2 3, 4. So when you’re doing stuff like that, melodies are built from that motion. It’s important to know that in reality, like when you’re playing, like take a standard measure of music, anything you hear on the radio mm-hmm, <affirmative>, it’s like you hear a techno song.
Michael Burt Jr (00:41:55):
Ooh, that’s four times generally. That’s one bar of music and in music in what, in your aspect of it, when you’re learning how to make it move and making it drive, uh, learning how to do that one bar of music over and over again, rather thinking about doing it 9,000 times, thinking about, think about playing E minor once over and over and over, because really what music is, is patterns, pattern recognition, and understanding the momentum of a repeating phrase will allow you to lock into your instrument and in a rhythmical way that sometimes people miss trying to be too emotional. Right. Does that make sense? Did I just over explain that <laugh> no, no, that makes sense. OK.
Anne Kelly (00:42:45):
And, and maybe that wasn’t exactly what you were saying, but it made me think, okay, maybe three or four chords, I practiced those
Michael Burt Jr (00:42:53):
A lot to learning how to play them in a way that makes with spirit that makes you dance, you know, to play in three is just 1, 2, 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2. You know, to be able to, to understand that those potentials exist inside of the courts that you’re learning is the really would be a great victory to, I think, to not only to play the three core that, you know, but to be able to jam out on them, you know, not even like play a cool melody or shred, but just to, just to jam out and be in a sincere, rhythmic feel, that would be a good goal. Because anything that you do beyond that, any melody you do any so that you would do is dictated on your understanding of how you navigate through those bars itself without making it sound like too ephemeral. Cause what I mean is literal. When we listen to music, there’s an exact number of beats sometimes, and there is free music in classical music. There’s me, music, that’s rhythmically free, but there’s music that it’s rhythmically binded. And if you really wanna understand how we sing with spirit, with intention, push your energy forward, to learn the, how things, how patterns end and how they begin themselves in a way that makes a groove. That’s a great place to start above even learning anything else, because it’s almost like dancing in your instrument.
Michael Burt Jr (00:44:27):
Uh, I could play something hip, but I don’t wanna take it out. I’m going back and forth between G and C.
Speaker 3 (00:44:39):
Michael Burt Jr (00:44:43):
The thing that makes it like a train tracker feeling that feels like it’s starting over and over again is the fact that when I get to like a, a 1, 1, 2, 3, 4 1 2, 3, 4 1 2, 3, 4, 1, I’m starting over the pattern at the same spot every time rhythmically. And when you do that, you’re playing for real. And, and what I mean by that is if you don’t play like that, you are playing emotionally, which means that you’re playing in search of a moment that you’re actually not creating, you’re searching for it. And so when you try to do it again, you’re not gonna be able to reproduce it without making a mistake. I could see
Anne Kelly (00:45:26):
Michael Burt Jr (00:45:27):
I almost equate it to every time you come back to one at the right time, you’ve nailed down a hammer, boom, boom, boom. And you’re just nailing it down. Not only in the music and not only for the person who’s enjoying it or dancing or moving to it. But for your mind, you’re learning to dance with the music, with the chords, with the melodies,
Anne Kelly (00:45:49):
Kind of that foundation for everybody. It’s like, like return to center
Michael Burt Jr (00:45:54):
Or yeah. Return to center. That’s really what it is. It’s an equilibrium. It’s a balance of your equilibrium. By starting back at one,
Anne Kelly (00:46:01):
You have to get kind of obsessed to get to the point where you’re really
Michael Burt Jr (00:46:04):
Good at it. I’ve always been obsessed with piano. I taught myself piano. You wanna talk about some, you know, some of the darker periods of my life, I made had some very dark sacrifices to play piano, living with some very questionable people, just to just have time to sit in front of a piano and ask myself questions. Like I was testing out my method. I told you my method is space based. So I would all, I would sit in these very questionable places of living and I, and I in a piano in a back room somewhere and be like, so if this is a major and this is this far, and this is this far, what would it be? And this key and meanwhile, there’s like gang banging and drug dealing and all kinds of crazy stuff. You know, it was a different life, kind of a secret endeavor through, through the, through the 10 years where I was in my mom’s basement, I was in myself piano the whole time.
Michael Burt Jr (00:46:55):
So the, the fact that I can work for the dance Institute now is a huge honor. Huge honor to me, I just was always curious about it. And when I figured out I could re re recreate the things that I like to listen to on piano, just with having a piano in the right patch. Like that was when I was like, oh, I learn a lot with this. Yeah. And then I started to ask myself about situations, major situations and minor situations. And then I began to ask myself, how do I do that on base? Right. That’s a new question. These are the new questions I’m asking myself. It’s like, how do I take all this piano knowledge and all this stuff now and translate it to bass. And boy, it’s changing the way I play. And the, and the, the pedigree, like the caliber that I can play.
Michael Burt Jr (00:47:42):
Cause I mean, you could argue music as a science, but it doesn’t have to be a science. You could be a complete novice, you can guess and be right. You can guess and be brilliant. There’s really, you know, the science of it is just the analyzation of it. And the ability to retain maybe what other people have done after it’s already done. It’s really the real benefit of it. Uh, Andy Kingston, he teaches at St. John’s college. He teaches African American studies and music, white guy. But I I’ll tell you one of the best and most knowledgeable people, people I’ve ever come to know for him teaching me personally. And he, uh, allowed me to understand that like the music industry is a new concept. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> the idea of making tracks for a living the idea of, to be a superstar at music,
Anne Kelly (00:48:30):
Like in the context of, of the history of the world. Yeah.
Michael Burt Jr (00:48:34):
This is like, when you put it like that, what are we talking less than a hundred years? Mm-hmm <affirmative>,
Anne Kelly (00:48:38):
You know, like cavemen, they were, I’m sure. Playing music and they weren’t thinking about track or their songs. Right? Yeah. Communication.
Michael Burt Jr (00:48:50):
Exactly. And nobody, nobody was like, U booga this song is fire. You are going to be great hit. No, right. Not
Anne Kelly (00:48:59):
I’ll be like,
Michael Burt Jr (00:49:00):
Or for that matter in the 12th century, you didn’t see people like the Lord and the lady were walking and all the sudden everything’s fine. And somebody’s like, oh, BARR, you’re gonna be no, you know, this industry of music, this perception of music, star or art star, uh, people are just figuring it out as they go along, you know, Elvis, Michael Jackson, James Brown, these are first generations at what they do. We don’t really know what this industry potential of it or, or the, the long term effects of it, or it’s all just undiscovered territory really. Uh, anyway, when he told me that it’s like, just made me think about what I’m doing, what I’m trying to do, you
Anne Kelly (00:49:45):
Know, did that make you feel maybe a little more excited about it? I felt
Michael Burt Jr (00:49:50):
More excited because I don’t have it feel any pressure to be a rapper or an R and B star or a rock star, even though I can do those things or I can, you know, I can play, I can play, I can shred, but I feel no pressure. So because of that, my music doesn’t fall in any of those categories. So in a way I feel liberated by it because I like, I am making original music. Secondly, I feel discouraged because I feel like this, a good idea. <laugh> this is just an experiment for a hundred or years or so this music star thing, is it really worth it? If people are trying to play like me in 50 years, a hundred years, I’d be like, what are you doing? Or if people thought that like my vibe was worth imitating and it’s flattering, but what are you doing?
Michael Burt Jr (00:50:41):
Go with yourself. Anything, if anything, anyone can learn from me, like learn to master the education of music, because it, that is finite in Western music that is finite. The chord situations. The relationships like to understand them on a grassroots level is finite to be able to play them on your instrument and different places and different ways. And that way, uh, the artists can really themselves, a feeling, maybe unfulfilled. I find a lot of artists that get to a place. They jump out the gates quick. I went to music school for a couple years, even though I was self-taught a lot of stuff. And a lot of kids outta college got in groups, got famous, real quick, got in the calling, got in the commercial bands, got jumped outta the gates and got in a, all this famous stuff and then hit their head. And now I’m looking at them.
Michael Burt Jr (00:51:31):
I’m 40 coming on the Instagram. And I see them. Why are you at the music game? Oh, you don’t know how music works. So you have nothing else to offer anymore. You offered it while you were hot and young and marketable, and now that’s gone. And now you’re mad at yourself cuz you never learned more than three court Harmon, you know, simple three chord chords with a KPO, right? Mm-hmm <affirmative> and you know, my thing is, is learn how music works and you can do it forever without pain, without stress. You can jump from one genre to another genre. Uh, you can empathize with different types of music because you get the gist of it. So my, if anything, there is to learn from me as an artist is just to learn, to educate yourself, don’t settle for the fame and the ambition that will run dry or someone will take it from you or cuz they’re better or more ambitious, you know?
Anne Kelly (00:52:24):
And I would give similar advice to, to visual artists on understanding the history of what you have done, what and what other people are doing today. And I feel like a lot of that is just crucial in kind of finding your own voice. Or there are so many people out there and maybe you think, okay, I’m the only guy doing the UGA booga thing and Hey, guess what? No, you’re not. And not that you shouldn’t pursue that and not with the
Michael Burt Jr (00:52:50):
Attitude that you’re the innovator, right. That, and that’s all, it’s not personal. Just don’t think you’ve invented the wheel. That’s not true. Right? I don’t, it doesn’t matter that you make three core songs, but don’t act like that. You’re the chief at creation when these things have been, you know, the three core song has been it on every porch, since there was an instrument to play on a porch,
Anne Kelly (00:53:13):
You know? Well, and maybe you master that and jump off from that. And that is your inspiration, nothing
Michael Burt Jr (00:53:20):
Wrong with inspiration. I, I personally, as, as you can see, you probably can glean. I have a unique problem with people who glorified themselves, cuz I have been at the highest levels of entertainment and they are no joke when I played on Broadway. If you make a wrong note, you’re fired, I’m sure you don’t get a re you don’t get to retake the Instagram video or the TikTok mm-hmm <affirmative> you know, so there’s just, there is a level of excellence that exists. And I think it’s just important for people to know that it’s important for people to look up to people still to not be their own hero, to know that there’s other people that are great there. No, not other people that are great. There are people that are great and there’s nothing wrong with it, inspiring to them and nothing. It’s not in front to anyone’s ability, but to look up to, to greatness and people who’ve worked hard and people to understand and to look up to those people and to emulate those people and to be those people, rather than just a person who’s popular, not to be a hater, but someone who’s ha who’s seen fame at, at certain, at, and seeing it in its face and experienced it on some tangible level and kind of is experiencing it again a little bit.
Michael Burt Jr (00:54:35):
And seeing the prospects of that don’t have fame without nothing to back it up. That’s why people kill themselves. It seems all fun and games until it comes to you. And then you’re then one day it will hit where it’s, what is this for? What do people like me for? What am I doing? There’s so many people great. And it just creates this depression and funk. Like I just, if I can mitigate that in anyone, you know, with a little education, like that’s, that’s, that’s why I’m a teacher
Anne Kelly (00:55:05):
Intention, right. Getting into it for the right reason maintaining it for the right reason. Do you believe that that kind of creates a healthy trajectory of moving forward?
Michael Burt Jr (00:55:17):
I do. You know, if you really love entertainment, even if you really love it, it’s fraught with rejection and it’s, it’s, it’s also it’s with talented people. How do you deal with that? If you don’t have any legs to stand on mental health is so important. Everybody says it. I don’t think anything is more mentally damaging to someone than miss assessing what you’re able to do.
Anne Kelly (00:55:44):
And if you build your whole career on kind of emulating something else or, or just something that’s not,
Michael Burt Jr (00:55:51):
I’ve lived that life too. I think I wasted three or four or five years or so trying to be Kanye. Oh, I gotta make this beat. Cuz Kanye made this beat. Everybody likes Kanye. So I gotta sound like Kanye. Thank goodness I moved to New Mexico. <laugh> cause I got to reset. As a matter of fact, I, I hadn’t really seen black people in the, the past four years I had been in Northern New Mexico, living in Los Alamo and Espanola and Hernandez in Santa Fe. And so when I got on set, recording this movie with all these people from Chicago, these black people from New York, and they’re looking at me, uh, like who are you? What planet are you from? My hair was, you know, my sideburns, my hair. I had a bandana and you know, I’m having a guitar in my hand. I’m like country had been in the process of playing country music on the streets.
Michael Burt Jr (00:56:44):
And so I’m looking at these black people and, and a little bit in a way, I felt glad that I had reset myself. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I didn’t have to expect to impress them at anything I do. And so I hope that anyone who does anything feels that same liberation, I feel like that’s when our culture, especially in this country, our art in this culture is really gonna thrive when it’s not based on anything anymore. It’s not based on the last hit it’s based on something more pure. Maybe we’ll see an evolution in music that we didn’t anticipate. And I know it’s there because cloud classical music existed. And I don’t think that’s a lesser form than what’s exist now. I just think it’s different. So I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next and hopefully, uh, I’m a, a part of that, like a pioneer of that. So
Anne Kelly (00:57:37):
That, that makes me wonder what kind of music you like to listen to in your, our free time. And granted, if you asked me that I listened to 15 different genres,
Michael Burt Jr (00:57:50):
I’ve caught myself listening to a lot of eighties, love music. I made a, uh, packed one day that one, uh, sometime in my mom’s basement those years ago that I would stop writing sad music. Uh, I didn’t know what I would replace it with, but in my older age now I realized that like I like music. That’s about togetherness and nothing is about togetherness anymore. Nothing is about staying together. Nothing’s about working it out or, or the virtues of being committed. I just feel like those things are lost. So I like listening to eighties, music, eighties, R and B, because a lot of those songs are about that stuff. Was,
Anne Kelly (00:58:27):
Was your eighties deep dive maybe in this past year or, oh,
Michael Burt Jr (00:58:31):
It’s been really recent. I love classical music. I love Brazilian music. I, um, of course I love jazz, but you’d be really surprised. I probably listened to no music hardly ever. Uh, when I practice jazz, I use a program called I real pro and, and it gives you an archive of music to be able to, to get the general core changes of different music. And if you can’t find that music, you can pull it up, uh, via the internet. Uh, I I’ve been into this song lately. I love you. Fall sentimental, re <laugh>. That’s been the song on my mind lately. Silence. I like silence a lot. I like the sound of nature. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I, I like the sound of life around me. Do you
Anne Kelly (00:59:14):
Have favorite movies? Oh, that’s a good
Michael Burt Jr (00:59:18):
Question. I really like the sound of music. The, I really like miss Saigon for a piece of music theater. It was the most intense plot line of any like we had to do that show night after night. Uh, do you know the, the, the, the, uh, the premise, it it’s about a minute at the end of act, one, American G ice are leaving Vietnam. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, the helicopter comes down and takes the American GIS away. Uh, the story is about an American GI that meets a pro uh, uh, a prostitute. And the prostitutes goal is to be able to marry a GI and move out of, uh, out of Sagon and they call it miss Saigon, 10 night, I will be miss Saigon. And so, uh, they’re try that’s their ultimate goal. So in the first act, Kim gets with the GI, uh, she gets pregnant, the GIS evacuate.
Michael Burt Jr (01:00:15):
So she’s left with this mixed race, uh, uh, with the term go it’s called v reDoy, which sets up a beautiful song in the second act. It’s the reason I like miss Igon is the first song. Uh, but the they’re called. We do the dust of life conceived in hell and born, and I can’t even sing it, but it it’s a great song. And it’s, it makes the whole movie worth watching or a whole show worth watching. But the gravity of it is so true. And so real when the second act, Kim comes to the United States to tell her American GI he has a child. And when she sees him, he’s married with another child and at the end of the story, she kills herself and leaves him with the, with the, the baby. That is a rather dark plot. It is, but it’s high drama.
Michael Burt Jr (01:01:09):
And it was very fun to play. It was, it was music theater, but it wasn’t like Oklahoma where everybody’s like, you know, oh, okay. And actually I did the 50th anniversary, which was funny. I just thought it was ironic. Yeah. Cuz people look the pit and be like, that’s a black theater there. You’re like, gotcha. Gotcha. <laugh> but miss Saun was high art. That, that show comes from the concept that you only sing when you’re, when the moment won’t lets you do anything else. So it just comes from like a, a higher school of thought than most me music theater. I don’t really watch TV. My TV interests are so boring. Like old BBC shows like doc Martin, have you ever seen doc Martin? I haven’t. He’s a jerk of a man and he’s a Docker and he pretty much treats everyone like a jerk in his little town in township in England.
Michael Burt Jr (01:02:02):
And everybody just loves him anyway. And he, he ends up getting a beautiful woman who understands that he’s a jerk total fantasy, you know, or at least not in America fantasy. I do like old movies too. I do like a high society. It’s a legendary movie from back in the day. I think it has dizzy in it, dizzy Gilles in it. He plays a trumpet movie, Bing Crosby’s in it. Frank Sinatra is in it. It has good grace. Kelly is in it. Oh, it’s really good. It’s like homage to, to, to old BS and jazz music, cuz it’s about like a, a very high society woman and Frank Sinatra who wants to get, you know, he plays a reporter and he wants to get with grace Kelly’s character. But she has a fling, like a re recurring fling with being Crosby. Who’s like a jazz conductor except she’s engaged to like a snooty guy. And so you get the reporter, Frank trying to get angle in on her being, trying to angle angle in on her and her already husband or ex-husband. And it just creates like it’s really hip movie because Ben can sing and Frank can sing. And they have these moments where they’re both trying to angle their way to her heart. And you know, Grace Kelly is beautiful. Mm-hmm <affirmative>
Anne Kelly (01:03:14):
I was gonna say just the cast of characters alone is like soul.
Michael Burt Jr (01:03:19):
Yeah. And then add dizzy Gillespie and a bunch of jazz. It’s a great
Anne Kelly (01:03:23):
Movie. So in terms of jazz, you have a favorite jazz musician of all time.
Michael Burt Jr (01:03:29):
That’s a good question. Count Basey. Are you familiar with count Basey? I’m not. Yeah. If I say Frank Sinatra they’ll think, fly me to the moon and all that stuff, it was his band play behind that. All that was Basey band recordings count Basey. His thing was very sparse, very meaningful moments on piano, like BA and that’s all he’ll do is he’ll play with his right hand. And he, he add a little chord in. So like kind of like the anthesis of like other piano players, like my other favorite, which is chick Korea who will play and play and play and play and play. And sometimes you play so much. You’re like, what universe are you from? Like how do you have so many ideas at the same at once? So they sit on different poles, but count Basey and chicorea or all and bill Evans.
Anne Kelly (01:04:22):
So another thing I like to ask, a lot of people on the show is about things they might collect. I don’t,
Michael Burt Jr (01:04:29):
I’ve never been a musical instrument collector. I don’t have any, not really a gearhead. I’m a player. So a lot of times I run into players and they’re always like, do you have this deject so the series, blah, blah, blah. Be like dog. I don’t even know what you’re talking about. I didn’t even know my own bass is called. Literally. I’d like to collect Bibles. I like Bible translations a lot. I like to see how people word stuff of obviously I’m into the book itself. And I guess I just like to, I just like to have different copies of that if I have to, I don’t, I’m very, very in material. I don’t keep a lot of material stuff around. So the stuff I have means something to me, I used to like baseball cards. Oh, you know what? I have a pretty serious tie collection. Oh yeah. I forgot about that. It’s been a while since I, I had to wear ’em like I like, oh yeah, I like burn ties. What about you? So what do you collect
Anne Kelly (01:05:22):
Books? I have a collection of photography books, but I also have a collection of snowboards.
Michael Burt Jr (01:05:27):
How many, how many snowboards do you have to make a collection? Think
Anne Kelly (01:05:30):
Maybe I have about actually five, uh, to tell you the truth. <laugh>,
Michael Burt Jr (01:05:35):
That’s the Websters version,
Anne Kelly (01:05:37):
But, but I also have like older snowboards that I’ve rode to death that like, oh, okay. Don’t take snowboarding anymore. But have a, like a 1995 curtain snowboard that I wouldn’t ride anymore because it’s older technology and, and it’s kind of beat up, but I keep it because, cause it’s that snowboard, I would say there’s maybe five that I would actually take to the mountain, but there’s others that wow. That are just in the garage because they’re cool. And then there’s, you know, there’s boards that are longer and shorter, different shapes. I mean, I, I would imagine it’s like musical instruments as well. Maybe might have different guitars cuz they sound different.
Michael Burt Jr (01:06:21):
Yeah, yeah, no, no, you’re right. And actually this base, can you see this base right here? Yes. Um, she’s uh, a little, uh, little different. She had her curves. This is a completely custom made base, which means it was made. It was made literally by hand, no intention, but for art, but it just happens to sound really good. It’s beautiful. And it’s, it’s the most beautiful instrument I’ve ever owned and the way it feels like when I touched it for the first time time, uh, you know, doing that Broadway stuff, I did that with the middle school. Quality instrument base are expensive and no one ever invested in my craft. I I’ve never occurred to me to invest in it either. So when I started doing that, I was playing with the playing on a high level with the inferior instrument for the role. So when I finally did put my hand on this base, well, how can I even, it’s probably like driving a Ferrari or something, like putting your hands on something and feeling the power instantly.
Anne Kelly (01:07:16):
Right? Right. You’re like, what you, where have you been my whole life? I
Michael Burt Jr (01:07:21):
Didn’t even know. I could sound like this. I didn’t know that I could work. It could be this effortless and you know that I could sound so sincere. You know?
Anne Kelly (01:07:29):
So, so for people out there listening that, wanna hear your music or take lessons from you, how do people find you? Well,
Michael Burt Jr (01:07:38):
You can reach me at Michael Burt music. My name underscore Burt music on Instagram have a LinkedIn page. I, I usually leave LinkedIn. That’s my art appreciation page. Um, you can also reach firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s my email. You can hit me up on that as well. Any
Anne Kelly (01:08:01):
Michael Burt Jr (01:08:02):
I’d like to, to plug my, uh, friend, Jasmine Williams, uh, a jazz singer that I sing with, but she’s a phenomenal singer. She’s honestly probably one of the most talented people in New Mexico. And no one knows who she is at all. And that’s not me talking her up. Meow Wolf and I have done shows with her. They know, they know I’d also like to plug, uh, my buddy drew and his brand hip, uh, urban hip. I love, I just love the logo and I rock it. And when shows start again, I’ll be rocking it again. I’d like to plug my videos coming up. I got a couple cool cartoons and some, uh, excellent videos coming with dev. And Lulo, if I hadn’t already said that I had a song I wanted to share if it was possible, anybody ever done that? We’ve we’ve had a, a few solos on the show, so, oh, okay. This is a song. I wrote That period of time where I was, uh, in that motel six working thing before the Netflix gig, it was a great period of time for writing. I wrote a bunch of stuff on guitar.
Speaker 3 (01:09:34):
Michael Burt Jr (01:09:51):
If you just look at me now, Why is it your wondering how I could just walk away? You think maybe I’m too, Oh, may be that I am jealous. But then I look back on Respect, trust, and I give you things For the love that we respect. And I gave my,
Speaker 3 (01:10:56):
Michael Burt Jr (01:10:57):
You did the, Let’s leave this with nothing. Oh, I gave you all that. I could, my heart gets weak. And I know I lead with hope, smile in the face of danger. So you can go this baby baby. our love can have no relief and try, did leave. Let’s leave. Thank you. Thank you. And really appreciate coming on. It
Anne Kelly (01:13:16):
Means no, thank you. It was, it was great talking and, and thank you for the song and um, let’s talk soon.
Michael Burt Jr (01:13:24):
Yeah. Sounds good. Thank you again. Take care.
Anne Kelly (01:13:27):
You too. Have a good night. Thank you for watching art in the raw. I hope you enjoyed tonight’s conversation. If so, please do me a solid and like comment and subscribe. I’ll see you next week.
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