This past April, Dallas-based singer-songwriter Averi Burk released her debut album, Paradise, on which she speaks to a universal and deeply personal issue: mental health.
As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety herself, Burk finds solace in creating meaningful art. While only two months have passed since the release of Paradise, the singer can't simply sit back and feast on the fruits of that labor; she's planning to release two new singles this month.
The first of the two is called “Out in California,” on which she sings about being away from her girlfriend for three weeks during the summertime.
“It’s pretty much about how it's summer and it should be fun, but I'm not having a good time because she's not with me,” Burk says. “I'm hanging out by the pool, and she's by the beach. It’s a very pop-driven song, which I’m not used to.”
Burk describes her style as “edgy R&B with pop and electronic influences.” Her vocals fall in the vein of Billie Eilish and Halsey. Lyrically, Burk is open, raw and honest about her emotions.
On “Easy,” Burk duets with local singer Refinery. The song is sung from the perspective of a man and a woman in an argument about the state of their relationship.
Burk got into music at seven years old, when she first started learning how to play guitar. By 15, she was recording covers of songs and uploading them to Soundcloud.
Burk continued to work on her music while she attended a Bible college in Southlake, right before coming out.
“When I came out, my mom read in the student handbook that you can’t be gay and go to this Bible college,” Burk says. “I definitely said ‘Fuck it’ and I did not go back.”
Although it took some getting used to, Burk says her family was very loving and supportive. She says her mother was mostly worried about the judgment Burk would face outside of the home. But Burk waves her rainbow flag with pride.
Often compared to Billie Eilish, Burk cites her as one of her biggest inspirations, because of her soft, sweet vocals. Burk admits that she isn’t able to belt or do vocal runs and admires Eilish because of this. She also is inspired by Joan Jett's resilience.
“She’s just a bad ass,” Burk says of Jett. “When they tried to censor her, she was just like ‘Hell no. I’ll sell my CDs out of my car if you’re going to take them out of the stores.’”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Burk lost her day job, but she chooses to look at the upside — more time to spend in the studio.
She has also been using this time to educate people about social issues and the ways they can give back to their community. On her Instagram page, she constantly updates her story with links to petitions and bail funds, as well as information on upcoming protests.
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“If you have people looking up to you, the best thing you can do is just be present with everything that’s going on,” Burk says. “Obviously, you should sit on things and process how you're going to say them, but I believe you should share as many resources as you can find, and just be there for people and show people love. If you have a platform, you have it for a reason and you should use it.”
Burk doesn’t have any intentions to release a follow-up to Paradise in the near future, as she wants to “let the album breathe,” but she is planning more single releases and collaborations with other local artists throughout the summer.
Despite her constant ambition to improve her craft and have a large platform, Burk doesn’t have the desire to be famous. She says she'd much rather be accessible to her fans and form genuine connections with her audience.
“If you ever need somebody, I'm here,” Burk says. “I just want people to know that they’re loved and cherished. That’s the whole reason I do music. I want to have a platform where I can impact people and help them.”