George Burton Is The Casual Type
We’re catching up with an old friend and a familiar face, the talented jazz musician and ultimate Casual Type, George Burton.
We introduced George a few years back in his first Casual Type feature which you can read here. He’s curated playlists for us and been a fan of the brand since our early days. Read below for more on George (wearing his go-to California Specials) and what he’s been up to as of late.
What does a typical day in the life for you look like?
A typical day for me usually involves some combination of listening, rehearsing, working on new ideas, preparing for shows and managing all the stuff behind the scenes that comes with being an indie artist; I also teach private lessons and a few other things.
How did you get started in the world of music?
I come from a family of musicians in Philadelphia, where the tradition of music in public education was kind of unmatched. So, in a certain sense, I have always been in the music world; I started playing classical violin and piano, then eventually picked up viola and thought I’d become the next Pinchas Zukerman (I’ll let your readers look that one up)… but as a teenager my friends exposed me to a whole different side of music, playing jazz and listening to a lot of hip hop. I started going to jam sessions and was “adopted” by the Philly jazz scene—great musicians like Shirley Scott, Sid Simmons, Bootsie Barnes, Odean Pope and others—and that was that. I was hooked.
Have you faced adversity in your life or career?
What have you learned from that? Of course I’ve faced adversity in my life and career… this is America, I’m a Black man and an artist. What’s interesting about adversity is, if you’re paying attention, you really get to learn who people are in those challenging moments—including, and most importantly, yourself. If anything, I think adversity teaches me to keep pushing even harder, if only to prove to myself that I know what I’m capable of.
What are some things that you are grateful for?
I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had over years of collaborating and performing all over the world. To date, I’ve performed on every continent except Australia… I’d love to check that one off ASAP! I’m extraordinarily grateful for the relationships I have in my life as well. I’m very careful when it comes to the people I let in… but once you’re in, you’re in. I’m a Scorpio that way, I guess.
One of our brand mottos is “Keep it Casual”. What does “Keep it Casual” mean to you in your own life?
Keep it Casual to me means stay cool, laugh things off, don’t take things too seriously and try not to be too concerned with every little bump in the road that comes your way. I’m also a big believer in staying true to yourself no matter who you’re dealing with in business or otherwise, so keeping it casual just means being myself.
We’ve been lucky enough to see you wearing SeaVees regularly over the years. What was it that initially drew you to the brand? And what is it about our sneakers that’s kept you coming back for more, new styles?
I ran into SeaVees some years ago, just looking for something different. I like a good classic shoe, but with some edge—I guess you could say that’s my go-to “look” for every piece in my wardrobe, and Seavees are a natural fit. I appreciate that I can comfortably dress up or dress down in just about any pair, so I’m always checking out the new styles to keep things fresh.
What current styles are you loving most right now?
I’m a big fan of the California Special and the Wilder. With those I know I can always get a very clean, stylish, sophisticated, and unique look.
How do you stay inspired?
I’m not someone who is always striving to find inspiration. Instead I often find inspiration in the quiet moments or in passing, never when I expect it. It can be as simple as having a good conversation with someone, or seeing something I might have seen a billion times, till one day I see it in a different light, and something clicks.
Do you have any plans or projects that you are looking forward to in the future?
I’m currently writing for my next project, and that is coming together in an interesting way. I have a new band that I’m excited about, and I’m really looking forward to playing live for people again. I’ve been slow to perform coming out of the pandemic, so I want to make sure it’s right, and it is, so far… I’m working on some new things that I can’t talk about just yet but I have a really good feeling about everything. Stay tuned.
What’s one piece of advice, encouragement, or challenge you’d love to leave our readers with?
I’ve never been that great with words, so I’ll leave you with a quote that I’ve kept in mind over the course of my career. It’s from the poet, e. e. cummings: “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else—means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”
Where can our readers find / follow you, and what would be the best way to support you / your business / project?
You can keep up with me at georgeburtonmusic.com or follow me on Instagram @daporge. You can find my music on all the streaming services… the best way to support my music is to find it on Bandcamp.com, they are really the only ones out here paying indie artists for the records we’re making. And I have a radio show (Forward Motion) on Soho Radio London/NYC where people can catch me every other Friday—come and hear what I’ve been listening to at sohoradiolondon.com . Better yet, catch a live show very soon; my team is putting together a US tour as we speak!
Photo Credit: Ernest Stuart IG: @OnlyErnest