Yanni Burton’s newest single “End Up Missing” is an exemplary sonic edifice of heartache, modeled as a musical montage motioning through a relationship’s breakdown. Stepping through processes of complication, verse to verse in remembrance of a rogue romance, “End Up Missing” as a dance track finds itself elegantly complimented in the music video’s wintry desert dreamscape. And despite the clubby assonance of the song, the skin tones and avant movement of the performers carries the song’s entanglement and estrangement beautifully, cinematographically captured by the poetic eye of director James Matthew Daniel.
Along with superb choreography by Cassidy Noblett (who has worked with Beyonce, Gaga, Britney, Katy Perry and on Glee and Lala Land to name a few), Yanni Burton is accompanied by CJ Jensen, Jared Nathan and Vincent Noiseux in the picturesque film echoing both love and loss. “End Up Missing” details the start of the spark to the beginning of the end, open ended and without closure, “that passion and intensity from a new relationship that can hit us over the head out of nowhere, and then, what happens when that starts to die and how we choose to handle that,” the artist explains.
Texturally, “End Up Missing” is an entourage that turns corners through 90’s boy bands to clubby haunted house hallows, a bit of sass to throw hands and dance down in all its crescendoing chaos. It tiptoes the line of giving up or giving in with a fury that juxtaposes in cool claims to drink away ones’ worry. All too familiar with gay bar blues in a touch-and-go climate of whirlwind hook-ups and gallant ghostings, Yanni’s pristine electronic zeal and a tasteful touch of forlorn piano backdrop packages a fresh form of radio-pop narration.
In the case of this particular beau, who grew up in Adelaide, Australia then moved to San Francisco for study, wistful piano shows up frequently in the now New York based singer and musician’s discography. Yanni’s pop tracks are just a part of the artist’s deeper musical inclination. He received his Masters in Orchestral Performance from Julliard, dabbling in Double Bass, and is a Producer and Manager with the Salome Chamber Orchestra, academic training that coos in Yanni’s alternative operations. Countless soul-baring songs, such as 2014’s “Beautiful”, display Yanni’s intimate relationship with piano, his classical practice influencing every aspect of his life. “It’s our job as musicians and artists to take that foundation, play with it, mold it, break it, and shape it into something that’s our own,” Yanni believes, noting the elder genre as a strong origin for many breadths of modern music. “Classical music has also taught me the power of storytelling without words, which I try to incorporate as much as possible when creating the aesthetic and production of my tracks.”
The number of classically trained individuals that exist in the indie pop community is larger than audiences assume. Though club-friendly chunks and classical compositions seem to have little to do with each other, viewed as separate genres, Yanni knows they are anything but. “I think the two musical practices connect and overlap all the time in my work. As a classical bassist, I had to learn how to emote and tell a story through sounds, as a melody. This really shaped how I approach songwriting and production. The music is just as important as the lyrics and they should compliment each other in order to portray the meaning and mood behind the track,” Yanni illustrates, adding, “My pop practices tend to kiss a classical style in the choice of instruments that I’m drawn to. For example, my earlier work as a pop writer was for an all-string quartet and piano. I may have also been going through a power ballad moment.”
All humor aside, Yanni Burton’s most recent emergence is more explicitly addictive to the ear than ever before and a step in the artist perfecting his abilities to enumerate his storytelling further, whether it be in classical or pop. “As a performer, my goal is to always connect with the audience, give an authentic interpretation of what I’m performing, and to tell a story. It can be easier for my own pop music, as I’m the writer and I know exactly what I’m trying to say, but even with classical music that I haven’t written, I try to find a way to connect to the piece and it often results in the same emotional outlet,” Yanni says. “I really believe all music is fundamentally about storytelling; therefore for me, I get a similar emotional response out of all music. I’m always on the hunt for those shivers that spread down your back, whether it’s from a Mahler Symphony or a drop in an EDM track.”
Sunni Johnson is the Arts Editor of WUSSY and a writer, zinester, and musician based in Atlanta, GA.