We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Burr and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chris, we’d love to hear about a book that’s had an impact on you.
“Maktub. It is written.” That one Arabic word has been a pivotal force in my personal growth as an artist. If you know where this quote is from then you know the powerful meaning it holds. If one understands the depth this one word contains there really would be no need for explanation, however because its meaning runs so deep, an entire book was written for it. If something is written it has already happened or is happening as the words are being put down. If it is written, then there is absolute certainty that it will happen. Taking it further, if we have the ability to write, then we have the power to write what is written for us. Basically, we control our reality. The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho is a whole story based on Maktub. A boy has a dream and he follows it. Simple as that yet it seems so difficult for many of us to apply in our daily lives. Even I was one of those who couldn’t apply it. My mother gifted me this book when I was about 17 or 18 years old and to this day it is a cornerstone to my achievements and life. Whenever I get an inch of doubt that I can’t do something I remember “maktub”, it is written that I can achieve it. Whenever I am afraid to move up in any area of life, I say to myself “maktub”, it is written for me to have a paradigm shift. Even on a more positive note, whenever I have made myself proud for accomplishing something I always wanted to, I remind myself “maktub”, it was already written that I would accomplish it. This book opened the door for me to discover the potential I have in me to make my dreams a reality. I always dreamed of living in LA. I always dreamed of being a singer. I always dreamed of touring the world and performing my own songs. While I am still working on the touring part, I am living in LA and making a living as a singer and building up my catalogue as a solo artist. It was written for me to have that as a reality and it is written for me to realize any other dreams too. All my songs that I have recorded and released, all the art I have done, and all the creative ideas I have brought to fruition; before I had even touched the point of a pen to paper, they all lived inside me throughout the years. The Alchemist woke me up and made me realize my dreams can be and are reality. All my dreams are maktub. It is written.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am two in one. My name is Christopher Logan Burr and I am as Mexican as they come yet the way I look and my name says otherwise. I grew up in the small border town of Nogales, AZ where 98% of the population is Mexican. I always felt like I stood out there. I felt like I was too white to be Mexican because of my name and appearance. But then in college it started to seem like I was too Mexican to be American. I struggled a lot with identity, always wondering if I was to stick to one side or the other. However, I have learned to embrace both sides of me. I am Mexican with strong roots in central Mexico (Guanajuato to be exact) and I grew up listening to Pedro Infante, Javier Solis, and Maná. I am also American. Born in North Carolina with Cajun French roots and I always felt drawn to the sounds of hip-hop and hard rock and listened to Kanye West, Eminem, AC/DC, and Guns n Roses. Embracing these two sides of myself has allowed me to become the artist I am today and I’ve been able to embody that into the music that I write. I have made a living as a mariachi musician since moving to LA but I write my own songs and have been releasing music since 2019. In my tracks you will be able to find many influences from the countless boleros I have heard in mariachi and then blend them with the beats that have influenced me listening to some of the greats of hiphop from the 90s. Some of my greatest vocal influences come from both Mexico and the US. Javier Solis was ahead of his time and had such power with his voice and expression and Frank Sinatra was a crooner that could not be mistaken and I try my best to embody those styles any time I sing in either English or Spanish. Musically, I am a rhythm guitarist since the start. I have been playing Vihuela since high school and have been immersed in the fast paced rhythms of mariachi strums and styles yet I also loved hearing the guitar rhythms of funk and soul and have tried to blend both in my music. By having two sides my songs are a musical blend of strong Mexican roots with heavy American influences and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The same way I struggled with my identity culturally, I also struggled with my identity as an artist. I felt like I needed to sound like other singers or maybe focus more on a certain style of music and stick to it. However, just like I embraced my duality of cultures, I embraced them through my music as well. As soon as I did that I felt the shift in my artistry. Lyrics started flowing more naturally, beats felt smoother, and my voice started to sound like my own and not like it was trying to imitate another. It’s not easy trying to be an artist in a world full of artists yet conversely it is a blessing because we are all unique and only each individual can provide the art they have. We are walking finger prints. No one else is like that. Now that I have been stepping deeper into my identity as an artist, I am excited for the music that I will be releasing this year. With every song that I record I see and hear the improvement but most importantly I see and hear myself. As cliché as it sounds, “be yourself” is pretty good advice but it’s bad advice when we don’t know ourselves. So we must embrace everything that makes us unique, work on discovering each aspect of our identity, so that we then can be truly confident in “being oneself”. It is through this that I have arrived at where I am today. The work never ends but I am happy that I know my identity so that I can share it with the world through my voice, songs, and music.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The beauty of Los Angeles is that there is so much to do and it is all in our backyard. Food and coffee are always musts so we would start by having breakfast at Spanglish Kitchen in Alhambra and then some great coffee at Kindness and Mischief in Highland Park. After, we’d head out to the beach and enjoy a chill afternoon conversing by the waves. On the days to follow we’d be sure to go hiking by Griffith Park or get some miles in walking in DTLA and grabbing a bite to eat at Grand Central Market and try and squeeze in a visit at The Broad. Given the strong Mexican/mariachi influence that there is in LA, we’d stop by the Mariachi Plaza to introduce one of the foundations that has kept me and my friends afloat in this city as well as checking out some live music at Casa Sanchez which is home to one of the top groups in LA: Mariachi Voces de Mexico. Thankfully, my friends and I are usually busy with work so we would probably take our guest to sit in with us on one of our recording sessions so that they get a feel of our daily life and have a sneak peek of what our next release might be like.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shoutout to Paolo Coelho for writing such an incredible book that has left a powerful impact in my life and an even bigger shoutout to my mom who gave me that book and has now led to where I am today.
Other: TikTok: @el.alburr
Adolfo Estrada Severo Lopez Krystal Rivera