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Song You Need to Know: Michael Burrows, ‘Brand New Heartache’

Having served as the voice of common sense with his theme for the #WhatWeNeedToDo campaign, Michael Burrows’ latest track is an ode to accepting our inability to control everything in life.


He’s been the voice of common sense amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, but now Melbourne musician Michael Burrows is back with his latest single, the breezy indie-folk number “Brand New Heartache”.

Burrows’ name might not be recognisable to most, though his work has caught the attention of some of the modern greats. Recording with the likes of Neil Finn, working in Nashville with Grammy Award winning songwriter Frank Myers, and touring with Martha Wainwright, Burrows has kicked goals many artists could only ever dream of.

Following the release of his debut EP, Turn This Love Around, last year, and having released his cover “If Not For You” back in June, Burrows managed to find his way to the forefront of the public consciousness over the last few weeks, with his work featuring prominently as part of the #WhatWeNeedToDo campaign.

In fact, while the YouTube upload for the titular song has managed to amass thousands of views, it’s presence on primetime television has seen its creator become a much-needed voice of reason in these troubling times.

Now, Burrows is looking ahead to the future, teaming up with renowned musicians (and longtime friends) Lior and Simon Starr for his latest single, “Brand New Heartache”.

A laidback number which evokes visions of the folk-influenced Americana Burrows’ music is often categorised alongside, the single is a fitting one for these times, as it revolves around the notion of stepping back and accepting that one can’t always control everything that happens in life.

“This was such a fun song to write with my good mates late at night over some whiskey and shared tales of love, loss and heartache,” Burrows says of the single.

“One evening, we were throwing around some cool lines and themes and we chased them into a song. The melody came together really quickly and we were humming it for days after so we knew we had something special.”

Written and self-produced by Burrows, Lior, and Starr, the track is as catchy and memorable as the songs by artists who inspired it, with its mesmerising chorus turning the song into something truly transcendent.

“We all grew up as fans of ’70s folk rock music like America and Bread so it was inevitable some of those colours and flavours made their way from our psyche into the track,” Burrows continued.

“The beauty of this kind of project is that nobody felt precious about their contribution or felt like they had to be lead vocalist. In fact we all wanted the other to sing lead as we’re all fans of each other’s style.

“I really loved the way this song sounded from the first writing session and it was such a beautiful and relaxed experience writing and recording them that the tracking and mixing came together seamlessly.”

The song is also accompanied by a masterfully-constructed animated video by Melbourne illustrator Nana Utsugi, which helps to capture the blissful feeling created by the single.

“I’ve always been drawn to Japanese style art,” Burrows explained. “My wife is half-Japanese so we have a lot of traditional and contemporary Japanese art at home.

“Part of the brief to Nana was to incorporate this feel into the design and storytelling. On our first meeting, she showed me a rough draft that incorporated her own collection of traditional washi paper and I knew this was going to be a great collaboration.”

While Burrows has been working on new music alongside producer J Walker (Machine Translations) with his full band ahead of a tentative late-2020 release date, “Brand New Heartache” is set to be released officially on July 23rd.