Yalobusha County Finds Local Celebrity in Dalton Burney
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By Clay Hale
COFFEEVILLE – Word of mouth spreads fast, but word of ear spreads faster. At least, that seems to be the case for Coffeeville resident and multi-instrumentalist Dalton Burney.
The 17-year-old musician has recently become the rising musical star of Yalobusha County for his commanding stage presence and breathtaking vocals, which are the product of hand-me-down talent and an impressive resume of experience.
Burney’s extensive resume seems to debut back in the days when his father was in a well-known local band known as The Sharecroppers. The young artist would often join his father and bandmates on stage, and pretend to play along with the music. It was on those occasions that Burney would make his initial interaction with a soon-blooming love for the stage.
Burney would first realize his true capability to pursue music, however, at around age eight – when he would step onto the stage of his home church congregation to perform a song.
Around two or three years of practice and ambition later, Burney would create a reputation strong enough for the performers at Water Valley’s Watermelon Carnival to invite him on stage to join in the performance. This moment would go on to become Burney’s first large-crowd event, but that number would only grow with his charisma and enthusiasm for music.
For the many years following, Burney would sit comfortably at the top of the list of performers for several local organizations to call on for entertainment. Unbeknownst to the youthful performer in his early stages of performing was that he would be engaging a crowd of hundreds of people in big-city Atlanta before he was even old enough to vote.
“I got to perform in Atlanta earlier this year. It was just me, my guitar, and a thousand people in this auditorium,” Burney said. “It was just very stripped back and [it] just felt like a very pure moment in my music career.”
Burney believes in a humble definition of making it in the world of music. Instead of displayable awards or chart-topping success, which any artist would cite as triumph in the music industry, Burney embraces quality content and simple recognition of his music as success.
“My ‘I made it’ moment would be walking down the street and hearing someone say ‘hey, I’ve heard your music,’ or someone that I know has good music taste says ‘hey, this is good,’” Burney said. “But I guess the ultimate ‘I made it’ moment would be to see crowds come to my show to hear songs I’ve written or that I perform.”
With over a hundred tracks in his back pocket, Burney is more than ready to take his career and his sound, which he describes as “indie country,” to the next level. And with a musical catalog of such high quantity, it makes sense that Burney heavily values quality songwriting.
Among these songs that Burney has carefully written is “Wanna See,” which takes on a conversation-esque tone with a romantic interest about the possibilities of what life could hold for them down the road. Burney proclaims the track as his favorite song he has written, and followers of the teen musician might cross their fingers to hear this track while Burney is playing a set.
Big dreams of full concert stadiums and substantial music do come with skeptics, but Burney makes a clear distinction between those who form their skepticism in fear and those who form it in content negativity.
“You have the people that care about you and just want the best for you, and then you have the people that are just not going to be on your side – no matter what you say,” Burney said.
Despite the immovable negative voices and other obstacles to come, Burney has consistently proven his ambition and passion are just as immovable, and he is confident that as long as he has an instrument in one hand and a pen in the other, he will be content with how his life plays out.
Yalobusha County is going to have to learn to become a lot less stingy with Burney as the years go by. With his dreams pointed to the sky, there is no doubt Burney will graduate from Yalobusha County’s local celebrity.
“You always hear ‘if you do what you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life,’ Burney said. “I don’t plan on ever working. I’d rather be a broke musician than be rich doing something I don’t love.”