August 14, 2012

Burn Camp 2012

Thanks to USA Today for putting together this amazing video for our Burn Camp. These kids have been through so much but always have a positive attitude. I’ve learned and continue to learn more and more every year from them. I hope this video inspires you as it does so for me. Mid-Atlantic Burn Camp

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May 20, 2012

Be Happy & Help Others

Be Happy & Help Others, is a pretty simple message. It’s a slogan I use throughout my life and my music, which I would love to now share with you.

Everyone on this earth wants to be happy. Whether its by attaining great wealth, helping someone else with a problem, or eating a delicious peanut butter sandwich, we do these things to try to fill our lives with happiness. Everyone on this earth also needs help at some point. Whether it’s a kind word, a helping hand or making someone else a peanut butter sandwich haha, we all need help. Helping others makes us happy. I can’t think of a time when I helped someone, and didn’t feel happy in return. So imagine if everyone in the world was more aware and thought to help others more often. We’d have a bunch of happy people on our hands.

For several years, I’ve worked with different organizations that share these same values. These groups are made up of amazing people that just want to make a difference, large or small, in other peoples lives. Click on the links to learn more about how you can help.

Mid Atlantic Burn Camp – This is an annual camp for children ages 8-17 who are burn survivors. It’s held in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia and trust me, once you go, you are hooked…I certainly am.

Music 4 More – This is an organization that helps school and community music programs by raising money as well as donating instruments. In just 3 short years, they have done so much to help so many schools and communities keep their music programs alive.

CHAP International – This group embarks on a journey each year to Liberia, West Africa, to aid the war-torn nation by providing health care, clothing, food provisions, education and even building orphanages.

The music I write/perform is mainly about being positive, enjoying life’s journey, but also helping others along the way. As a way to pass this message along, I created these bracelets that simply say “Be Happy & Help Others”. These bracelets are also a USB flash drive which come preloaded with my newest album.

Since the organizations above do so much for so many, I’m going to donate half the proceeds of the sale of these bracelets, to be split between them. So please wear them, spread the word and help me pass along the message to Be Happy & Help Others.

To get your bracelets, please click here: Be Happy & Help Others

Thanks all!

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March 16, 2012

Not Just Another Day

March 20th 2012, the first day of Spring, I’ll be releasing my new single, “Not Just Another Day”. I couldn’t be more excited about this release. This is one of the first songs I wrote after moving to LA, and it’s definitely one of my favorites.

“Not Just Another Day” is about following your dreams. Everyday is another chance to change your life and to show the world what you can do. ANYONE can achieve their dream, you just have to believe in yourself and never stop trying.

This song was produced by Bill Lefler who I’ll also be working with to finish my EP in the next couple months titled “If We Could See”. On that record will also be songs produced by Hiram Mac, as well as one of the reasons I started playing music, my cousin Kirk Smith of Madison Line Records. We grew up playing music together so I’m pretty stoked to finally work together.

The Artwork on the single was done by Ernie Steiner of RedCap Studios, a truly gifted artist who I’ve known for over 10 years. We also share the same birthday, so our 21st Bday was a difficult night for many around us haha.

As always thank you for your support, it really means the world to me.

Be Happy and Help Others.

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November 23, 2011

Interview with The Rising Hollywood

I was recently featured in The Rising Hollywood (TRH). Check out the article!

http://www.therisinghollywood.com/2011/11/19/its-a-smooth-mix-with-rising-singersongwriter-mike-burke/

 

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October 28, 2011

G-Ma June-Bug

G-Ma June-Bug

The last stop on my east coast lineup was not a typical venue that I have played at, but I can assure you I will play there again. My Grand Mother lives in an assisted living home outside Boston where she’s been for a couple years or so. I visit her when I’m home since we are pretty close and we chat about what’s new in my life as well as hers. There are many other folks in this place and it’s actually a very nice facility with an amazing staff so I’m happy she’s there.

I knew that I was going to be home in Boston for a few days so I called up the activities director and asked if I could come in and play some songs for the folks there since my Grand-ma (her name is June so everyone’s always called her June-Bug, so I’ll refer to her as ‘G-Ma June-Bug’) lives there. They were happy to have me so we set a date.

I arrived at the assisted living home, took the elevator up to the second floor and walked into the room where I was performing. I turned the corner to find about 30-40 people in the room all in wheelchairs, let me tell you I have never walked into a venue to see this…it was pretty awesome. G-Ma June-Bug was front row with her posse, she runs the crew there btw so much so that she keeps the clicker to the main living room TV, in her purse haha…amazing.

I decided to put together a mix of songs. I played songs like Earth Angel, Brown Eyed Girl, Let it Be, some Ray Charles, even Shake Rattle and Roll. I even played When Irish Eyes are Smiling which EVERYONE knew the words to and were singing along to; that was pretty amazing. The last song was for my G-Ma June-Bug called Ne me quitte pas, a french song she has always loved. All in all it was a pretty amazing experience and I can’t wait to go back in December for the Holiday edition (I sing a mean Rudolph the red nose reindeer).

I can’t express how thankful people were that I went there and played for them, I had no idea it really meant that much to them. Here these folks are, all who have lived amazing lives, tell amazing stories that will keep you listening for hours (especially G-Ma June-Bug), traveled to amazing places, but what now makes their day, and what connects them all is sitting together listening to music.

So I guess it’s not about who you are, what you do, or where you’ve been, music brings us all together.

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October 27, 2011

Music 4 More Tour

Wow, October flew by and I loved every second of it. I’ve been traveling around playing shows on the east and west coast for most of the month seeing family, seeing friends as well as making new ones. I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend my time. On top of that, I got to play at some great venues and help a great cause.

Music 4 More http://www.music4more.org is a fantastic organization started by my friend Deidra Stevens. This charitable organization provides financial support as well as instrument donations to struggling music programs in schools so children can experience the joy of music education. There is no question that music helps children in many ways. From social interaction to intellectual stimulation, music helps children become more well rounded individuals which in turn shapes their future.

The Alternate Routes was the main band touring around the east coast playing in venues and even schools to promote this charity. The Alternate Routes are a great bunch of guys and I was lucky enough to open for them in Boston, Bridgeport and Baltimore. I was also able to play in New York at The Bitter End which is my favorite place to play in NYC. The folks there are like no other and I appreciate them always having me back.

If you would like to get involved in Music 4 More, please visit their website mentioned above. Any little bit helps!

Be happy and help others.

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September 21, 2011

New Cover, ‘Without You’ by David Guetta Ft. Usher

 I heard this song the other day and thought it would be fun to cover…The lyrics just speak for themselves.

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September 2, 2011

1 Week a Year

I have been given a gift. This gift is not something tangible, not something you can wrap, or something you can re-gift to someone else because you never really liked it but you felt bad about returning it. The gift is the chance to be apart of something very few people get to experience and enjoy. I have the chance to know that for 1 week out of the year, I know exactly where I’ll be in the world, who I’ll be around and what kind of cafeteria food I’ll be eating…well at least I think I know what it is haha, stay away from the meatloaf.

Until a few years ago I didn’t know what burn camp was, or that there was such a place. I didn’t know that there was a place out there where people could be themselves, free of judgment or ridicule, or act like a complete fool and laugh about it. I lived in Manhattan working on Wall St. really never knowing who I was or what I was really put here on this earth for. This is something a lot of us feel at one time or another and it’s really up to us to figure out what the answer is…and usually its no easy task. I’ve always wanted to be a musician. I knew this from when I was a kid and all I wanted to do was learn to play other instruments, sing, and write songs in my room…I rarely played for anyone, it was my thing. As the high school years went on, I started playing at parties on the piano, while everyone sang piano man or something (no alcohol present of course…) and it was always fun. I enjoyed how music made other people feel, and how it made me feel to bring it to them.

As the years went on I still played but had my eyes set on a different career. I was money driven through college and focused on graduating and moving to New York to work on Wall St. I don’t regret doing that at all. I had a great time, met some great people, and it led me to the path that I’m on now and I’m very fortunate for that. But I started to almost feel empty and I didn’t really know why. So I started writing again. I wrote song after song…many of them terrible haha, but still just kept writing. And I could see that a lot of my music that I would write would be about positive things, happy things, helping other people etc. Well why wasn’t I doing this? Clearly I was trying to tell myself something. So I joined an organization called Musicians on Call (www.musiciansoncall.org). This organization brings music to patients in hospitals and does really amazing things. Music is an amazing healer. So I thought this is perfect, I’m in. It was awesome and I think that was one of the turning points for me in realizing what I should be doing with my life. So I started to look for more things I could do to help other people. Then comes Burn Camp.

I met a FOF (friend of a friend) who was already involved in Burn Camp. We met at the Lost Dog Pub on Cape Cod (LDP!) and just started chatting. I heard all about burn camp from her and the following summer was my first year attending. I walked in not knowing a soul the first day (my friend wasn’t arriving until the second day), and had no idea what to expect. I’m not good at meeting people for the first time sometimes, I get awkward and weirdly shy haha no idea why, but that did not happen here. I immediately felt like these people were family…sounds weird I know, but its true. After that week, I knew that I would always be back to Burn Camp. I can’t describe it, or really tell you why it means so much to me but it does. At first I thought it was meaningful because I got to help the kids and such…but I think its the exact opposite. The kids are the ones who are helping me. Seeing how they overcome all their obstacles teaches me that I too can overcome anything. Its my week at camp as much as it is theirs, and I enjoy it just as much as they do…maybe more cuz I’m allowed to drink coffee and they can’t haha…sorry guys. But I think that empty feeling I had was the fact that I was never really comfortable with myself or had the confidence to do what I really wanted to do. Well, spend one week with these kids and you’ll learn you can do anything you want in life.

So now I live in LA and am pursuing music full time. I’m taking a leap and chasing my dream because I have the confidence that everything will work out in the end, and it will. Without that 1 week a year at Burn Camp, I don’t know if I would ever have had the courage to do so. So I always say, Be happy and help others…well Burn Camp, thanks for helping me. http://midatlanticburncamp.org/

Also as you can see in the video, trying to get all these kids to sing together isn’t an easy task…everyone wants the mic!

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