Vernard Burton, simply known as Vernard, has utilized his gifts and talents to the fullest on his latest release “Finish Strong”, Produced and Mixed at Drummerboy Productions (Sarasota, FL) by EJ Porter. Brilliant lyrics, as well as crisp and clean soulful sounds, to help any listener through rough patches in their life. The Chicago born artist began displaying his wares at the tender age of 5. Growing up in a home filled with Gospel music, the young Vernard was coaxed ahead by his mother, Verna, who accompanied his vocal exercises on the piano. He was further instructed by Gospel music’s Bishop James E. Lenox, and eventually went on to continue his academic studies and develop his voice at historic Fisk University, in Nashville. Vernard has since performed in celebrated venues in the United States and Europe. He has shared the stage with Grammy winners such as Bono, Wyclef Jean and Shania Twain. Moreover Vernard is a go-to session singer in Chicago with over a decade of BGV credits including hits for Grammy Award Winners Donald Lawrence, Smokie Norful and Take 6.
However it is when he is on his own, that Vernard Burton unleashes his most inner instincts and uncovers his deeply caring soul. The single, “Finish Strong”, written from the pen of Henry Porter , Fred Steen and Vernard (*Henry Porter and Fred Steen attended Fisk University with Vernard all were members of the world renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers), can be considered an anthem for the troubled, the struggling, the downtrodden, the mistreated, and the misunderstood.
It is a powerful call to relentlessly persevere through life’s difficulties, and fight towards changing what may seem like the prescribed direction of your destiny. Like most true artists, Vernard draws on both spirituality and homespun wisdom, proving himself to be an authentic talent. He is a contemporary R&B singer, as refined, honest, and classy as they come.
“Finish Strong” establishes the artist’s smooth, soulful vocal tones, and confirms his conscious lyrical script. It’s a solid statement, and a memorable tour de force. The message of thoughtfulness, empowerment, and inspiration, cannot be denied.
While Vernard’s pipes are smooth and aptly restrained during the verses, he shows off his overt, powerful vocal cords in the choruses. There is no argument against the fact that Vernard makes some fine music. He figures in the songwriting, the lyrics, and the executive producing. I was prone to calling him underrated, but one look at Vernard’s back story essentially proves otherwise.
It would be more appropriate to say that he is not yet a household name, but that too, may change soon, if Vernard keeps on delivering the same creative and performance quality, so evident on “Finish Strong”. Vernard stands front and center in his music, within a genre that has had a tricky run in the modern urban business.
Younger singers tend to get caught up in the web of passion and sex, while older singers tend to wallow in the waters of romance and relationships. Vernard treads an alternative path which is probably even more compelling and committed. Especially as his voice carries the emotion and technique of a bygone era of legendary soul singers. This is of course, is all enhanced by the vocal production which was done by Henry Porter and Fred Steen.
Adult contemporary R&B can sometimes be a rather tame genre, but this song stands out as a soul-bearing display of inspired artistry, even more so when you’ve got Vernard Burton on the mic.