By Matthew Blanco
Photos: Dusty St Amand
Yanni Burton proves he is the gold at the end of the rainbow in “Worth It,” his new single and music video about the intoxicating and sometimes overwhelming sensation of an exciting new passion.
The young Aussie describes his life today as a “gay thirty-something in New York City.” He attends Barry’s Bootcamp religiously, pays too much rent and complains about it every second he can. He’s also in love! Yanni’s fiancé is smart, attractive and most importantly, mom-approved.
We spoke with Yanni about meeting the man that proved to him that love is “Worth It.”
How did you and your fiancé first meet?
Jordan and I met seven years ago at a bar in New York. I had just gotten off a flight from Australia and I was feeling a bit jet lag so I decided to go to a drag show. I caught eyes with a handsome stranger and the rest is history!
They say opposites attract. Would you consider yourselves to be opposites?
Face value, we are. He’s in finance, I’m a musician. He’s all American, I’m a Greek Australian immigrant. He hates Barry’s Bootcamp, I love it. But underneath that, we have a lot of similarities. We have the same social/political views, we love spending time with our friends and family, we are both very ambitious and enjoy the guilty pleasures in life: food, booze, facials, and massages.
When life gets busy, what do you do to stay focused on each other?
We love sneaky weekend getaways and romantic date nights. New York is great for weeknight dinner dates and sneaky cocktails. It’s also so accessible to some of our favorite places like Fire Island, Catskills, and when we’re feeling super sneaky, London or Italy. That and take out from our favorite Chinese place paired with a bottle of wine and Netflix: heaven!
What are the biggest obstacles you have had to overcome in your relationship?
I think the cultural differences were the biggest obstacles. Southern boys, in my experience, are laid back, very polite, and eat a lot of fast food. I’m loud, demanding; I don’t take no for an answer and I don’t eat fast food that often. It took a few months to wrap my head around his interests but I ended up learning what a Mac Gangbang is (it’s a double cheeseburger with a McChicken inside…) and he discovered organic foods and hummus.
How does Jordan feel about your music career?
He’s actually the one who has encouraged me to pursue creating music. I wouldn’t have done this album without his strong support.
Your music is a mixture of beautiful piano based ballads, acoustic guitar styled tunes, through to pop/synth offerings. How would you describe your overall style?
I’d say my most of my songs come from a singer-songwriter style, but has continued to turn towards a more pop/synth vibe. I tend to write songs that I relate to or have a connection to which turn out more like ballads, or acoustic tracks – however, I love dance music.
From whom do you draw your inspiration?
Musically, I’m inspired by artists like Troy Sivan, Robyn, and Tove Lo. They are all confident in themselves, their styles and sounds.
Your latest single, “Worth It,” is about a heart-tugging passion, and the video is visually stunning, revealing a wild romance between two guys.
It was definitely a no brainer for me to have two guys be the lead in this video. I think it’s important to be true and genuine to not only yourself, but to the people you want to listen to and experience your music. A lot of people asked me why I didn’t do a heteronormative route for the video, and my response is always going to be, “why? I’m not straight, and I’m not asking anyone else to be what they are not.”
Is there too much straight-washing in music videos by LGBT artists?
It’s a difficult path to navigate as main stream media is still a little shy to show same sex relationships. However, artists like Troy, Lizzo, Kim Petras, Robyn, and Tove Lo have made a tremendous amount of progress in giving the LGBT community a spotlight and platform, so I’m feeling pretty positive about the future.
We had a look through your Instagram, Yanni. You’re not shy, are you?
(Laughing) I’m definitely not shy on Instagram. I’ve been working really hard on my fitness goals, and I’m proud of it! Growing up I was severely overweight and wouldn’t change in the locker room or take my clothes off at the beach. Let’s say, I don’t have that problem anymore!
Maintaining that physique must be hard work.
It’s a lot of work but I love it.
We’ve heard through the grapevine that although you love living in Manhattan, you’re a bit over it.
It certainly has its ups and downs. As much as I love going out, seeing shows, going to concerts, restaurants and bars, I feel like 60% of the time, I’d rather be at home watching Netflix with my fiancé and the cats…
Tell us about your wedding plans.
We are still finalizing details, but we are going to keep it relatively small. Our families are in Australia and Alabama, so everyone is going to be travelling. Therefore, we’re thinking of renting a large villa in Tuscany and having everyone stay with us. We thought about doing it in New York, but for one day of celebrations in New York, we can afford one week in Italy…so Italy it is!
Do you plan to start a family after you are married?
Yes! We are definitely keen on having a couple of little ones running around!
What advice would you give to a couple that is newly engaged?
Keep it adventurous, keep planning, keep moving forward. There are so many wonderful experiences to be shared, and thank your lucky stars you’ve found someone to share them with!
Yanni Burton’s “Worth It” is available now on Apple Music, Spotify, and all digital platforms. Follow Yanni on Instagram @yburton