published Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Local teen kicks off regional tour with Saturday date at Rhythm & Brews - April 12

Pop singer Chris Burkich, 16, is a sophomore at Center for Creative Arts.
Pop singer Chris Burkich, 16, is a sophomore at Center for Creative Arts.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

IF YOU GO

■ What: Chris Burkich in concert.

■ When: 3 p.m. Saturday, April 12.

■ Where: Rhythm & Brews, 221 Market St.

■ Admission: $3; free with student ID.

■ Phone: 423-267-4644.

■ Website: www.rhythm-brews.com.

■ Note: All-ages show; no alcohol served.

LATER

After Burkich finishes his afternoon set Saturday, Rhythm & Brews will host an evening performance by Chattanooga ex-pat country rocker Mitch Rossell, now of Nashville. That concert will have a $10 cover and will begin at 9 p.m. Admittance will be 21 and up, and alcohol will be served, according to venue manager Mike Dougher.

With the onset of spring break, most 16-year-olds might pile in the car to head to the nearest bit of sun and sand as far from their parents as possible. Chris Burkich is heading out on tour.

Saturday, April 12, Burkich, a pop singer and sophomore at Center for Creative Arts, will kick off a 10-day run of the Southeast. The tour will promote his second single, “Things We Love,” which he recorded with the help of North Carolina-based producer Jick Wins-Low and released earlier this year.

Burkich’s backing band is a melting pot of local and national talents. His father will be playing piano and sharing backing vocal duties with Burkich’s sister, Catherine. Wins-Low will serve as drummer and has helped to recruit Los Angeles-based artists Christy Lichtenstein on bass and guitarist Mike Manning, who performs with Demi Lovato. Matt Kittsmiller will contribute on guitar and harmony vocals.

The tour will run through April 18 and include dates in Knoxville, Nashville, Asheville, N.C., and Columbus, S.C. Although he has performed a handful of shows around Chattanooga, this will mark Burkich’s first out-of-town debut, and he’s both excited and nervous at the prospect of seeing months of planning come to fruition.

“It’s my first tour, my first radio tour — not a lot of kids can say that,” he says. “In the studio, we’ve been working hard, but that’s unsung hard work. This is something everyone gets to see. It finally comes out.”

Burkich has developed a minor following on YouTube with his covers of songs by Justin Bieber, Gavin DeGraw and John Mayer, but he says Saturday’s concert will include an “airtight” hour of original material culled from his ongoing work on a debut album he expects to release by the end of the year.

This tour is just the start of a ramped-up effort to increase awareness of his music. Burkich says he most likely will leave public school next year to focus on touring, recording and building a fan base.

Saturday’s concert is only the first step in that process, he says, but it’s an opportunity that was hard-won.

“I’ve been conditioning my excitement,” he says. “I’ve been having to hold back my excitement and not think of it as a ‘happening overnight’ thing.

“Just to see it all happen is really fascinating, but I know how well-earned it is for my team and I. It’s just natural to see it all come together after working so hard.”

Contact Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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