“My voice is useless. My convictions torn to shreds. But if I were perfect, would you tune out instead?”
These lyrics, written by Keely Burn, are a part of, “Not Afraid,” which is one of the 10 tracks on her upcoming album, Not My Masterpiece. Set to release June 25th, this eclectic debut displays a mix of pop, folk, and electronica influences showcasing a variety of profound lyrics along the way.
The Virginia based singer-songwriter says her fate as a musician was predetermined as she was humming songs in her crib before she even learned to talk. Growing up, Burn avoided much social interaction and said it was lonely at moments, but it allowed more time to hone her craft and find her voice where she was most comfortable. Nevertheless, it didn’t stop her from performing her original music to packed audiences or releasing her most vulnerable songs to share with us.
A fun and quirky single kicking off the album is entitled, “Out of the Flood.” With strums of the ukulele, you can’t help but sway and wish you were at the beach with the funky feel of this song. A few seconds later, her layered vocals come in and you realize it’s more of an empowerment song about facing heartbreak. With lyrics such as, “I’m glad you turned on the lights so I can see and on this beach I’ll never miss you,” Burns portrays many metaphors and memorable moments in her lyrics that are repeated throughout the song for purpose. By the end of the song, it will leave you empowered and maybe taking a quick beach trip with friends.
Another powerful song in the album is, “Masterpiece.” It shifts the tone of the album on a true story of betrayal. “Hiding behind the traces of shame in your eyes…I know the truth, but still ask for lies” begin the chorus with confidence and authority of coming to terms with a broken relationship. A solid piano melody stands out throughout the song as well as a steady drum beat that keeps your attention while not over shining her voice. Her belting vocals shine in this sixth track of the album and it ties together the theme of the entire album very well.
Prior to this project, Burn has released two EP’s: I’ve Never Been More Awake in 2019 and Lightning Eyes in 2020. It’s safe to say she has stayed true to herself throughout all of the music she has created, given the current album has the same kind of eclectic pop feel to it.
Inspired by her favorite artists such as Peter Gabriel and U2, she began to write songs as a teenager and furthered her studies as a music performance major at Five Towns College. After graduating, she accepted an internship at Sound of Music Studios where she recorded Not My Masterpiece. Outside of her solo artistry, Burn is also diving into sound engineering, working as a session musician, and also serves as the secretary of the Virginia Organization of Composers and Lyricists (VOCAL). She was also named Songwriter of the Year twice in a row while being a finalist in the 17th Annual Songwriters’ Contest in Lovingston, Virginia.
Burn told us, “When I was a teenager, I constantly watched concert videos on YouTube, and seeing bands like U2 and Talking Heads perform was a major inspiration. I discovered not only that I wanted to do that, but that performing was a valid way of expressing things I couldn’t say out loud. Now that I’ve started performing myself, I like to think my teenage self would be amazed at where I am now.”
Revealing such deep and sensitive lyrics in, “Elusive Rhythm (Daisy),” which is based on The Great Gatsby, she ends the album with such vulnerability anyone can relate to. With a soft melody focusing on just piano and her voice, she gives a feeling of ease and a wonder of what is coming next in her story. Almost like a cry begging someone to come back, it is also a message reminiscing on old memories that have come to an end. Although her story and lyrics are very personal, it’s something we can all relate to.
She went on to say, “I always think the mark of a great songwriter is making the listener relate to what you’re writing about, even if it’s totally alien to them. Although my songs can be very personal, I want to believe there’s something in them that everyone can understand. I consider myself a writer and storyteller before I consider myself a human. Crafting lyrics can be a challenging experience, but a very rewarding one, and it’s what I like to do more than anything.”
After years of shying away, it’s time to hear her eclectic folk-pop collection. This album reveals everything from quirky humorous songs to soft ballads that by no means stay in one genre. From upbeat piano rock to pop anthems, the strength in Burn’s writing stands true to who she is and her faith in her work says it all.