CARLVIN BURNETT: ONE OF GUYANA’S MOST TALENTED AND TREASURED ENTERTAINERS
By KIANA WILBURG
It seems like it was just yesterday when Carlvin Burnett of New Amsterdam won the hearts of hundreds of Guyanese when he sang the most captivating rendition of Mark Holder’s “She’s something of value”. Although he didn’t win the coveted GTT Jingle Competition title in 2009, Burnett was touted as one of the nation’s most talented and treasured vocalists. Since his introduction to the national platform, Burnett has been working tirelessly on his music career, regardless of the odds. In his interview with the Guyana Inc. Magazine, the beloved Berbician revealed that he is working on some new projects which he is eager to share with his fans at home and abroad. In this exclusive piece, we share with you, the humble beginnings of one of Guyana’s most talented artistes. Do enjoy!
Guyana Inc Magazine (GIM): Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? Carlvin Burnett (CB): I was born on January 28, 1989 and I was fortunate to grow up under the parentage of Carlvin Burnett Snr. and Collette Burnett. I attended Tutorial Academy Secondary (in Berbice). I copped a few passes at CXC and went on to the New Amsterdam Technical Institute (NATI) where I pursued a Diploma in Computer Science. I have three brothers and one sister.
GIM: What was your childhood like? CB: My childhood was not always simple. Like every other family, we had our struggles and times of testing, which I am thankful for, because it helped to shape me into the person I am today. Be that as it may, my parents are the best I have seen at making something out of nothing while managing to keep us firmly grounded in the fear of the Lord.
GIM: How did you discover your talent for singing? CB: Well, I should first let you know that I was born into a family of singers. And I noticed at a tender age that I was able to make notes or do simple runs and even sing the harmony parts to any song. It came naturally and I was constantly asked to sing in church which played a huge part in the all-round development of the skill.
GIM: What have you done thus far to polish your talent? CB: Polishing and training are ongoing processes to make sure that I am always sharp and ready. I do different vocal drills to help in that regard. I listen to a wide cross section of music and try to fuse them together. I also challenge myself by stepping out of my comfort zone to strengthen my vocal ability.
GIM: Do you have any special ritual or things you do before a performance? CB: Before any performance I am usually quiet. It’s just to get my head in the game and set myself for the task I am about to undertake. Then, before I hit the stage, I pray for clarity, smoothness, success, and a great show. After that, it’s all work.
GIM: What was it like growing up in a Christian home and how did that influence your musical style and growth? CB: Growing up in a Christian home, you’d know that in the morning it’s heavy gospel (chuckles), and my mom didn’t play where that was concerned. But I would sneak in my little R&B and Reggae when she stepped out and I found myself listening to Boyz II Men, Jah cure, Usher, Justin Timberlake and the King himself, Michael Jackson. I listened to and loved those artistes because I learned from their crazy vocal abilities and showmanship and I even incorporate some of it into my performances.
GIM: What is the most important part of a song for you? CB: The most important aspect of a song for me is the lyrics. Others are sometimes carried away with the beat or hook but to me, the message is very important.
GIM: Is it hard to maintain balance between building your music career in Guyana and having a family life? CB: Maintaining balance sometimes is very hard. Music is a jealous lover and she takes all of your time. So I ensure that whenever I leave a performance or stage I leave that person there and try as hard as possible not to mingle Carlvin the singer with my family time. Then being in a family where the love for music is rich, it often leads me back to square one.
GIM: What’s your greatest accomplishment to date? CB: Accomplishments? Hmm… There are quite of few of those, but I like tell people whenever I am asked this question that the one I am most proud of is the next. I love to push myself. So what I have done is already done, the next is the greatest.
GIM: Do you confine yourself to one genre? Do you have a limit where this is concerned? CB: As a musician, there is never a limit. So in exploring, there is never a one or two genre I am stuck in. I am forever searching for new styles or trying to incorporate or fuse them together and in exploring, you find that they are all interesting and they tell a different story so I love them all.
GIM: What are some of your latest tracks? CB: Some of my latest tracks would include Benz Money, Party Weekend, On Meh, Delilah Whiner, and Summer Jam. They can all be found on YouTube. My team and I are working to get them on a wider range of download sites. I would also like to add that I am currently working on a few songs with Producer, Simeon Brown, which I think is going to be good. I am also doing a lot of work with Vision Sounds and the Heatwave Band.
GIM: In any particular order, list five weird facts about yourself. CB: Sure! – I am very quiet in person – I like fish but would never eat it if it’s past a certain size – I bite my nails when I am thinking -I love ketchup with almost anything -I’ve never tasted a drop of alcohol