Meet Alex Burns, a junior at Ithaca College who also goes by the stage name AKABURNZYY. In this article, we'll delve into his journey of becoming a musical artist. Discover how Ithaca College, childhood memories, and unique experiences shaped his musical journey. This is the story of Alex Burns, both as a person and as AKABurnzyy the artist.
JON: Who are you?
ALEX: My name is Alex Burns or AKABURNZYY. Like my artist name is “AKABURNZYY”, not like, "I am also known as Burnzyy” but literally, “AKABURNZYY.” But all my friends, loved ones, close ones, professors, and teachers call me Alex. I go to Ithaca College, I am currently a Junior, and I am 20 years old, but I turn 21 in two months. So yeah.
JON: Why the name AKABURNZYY?
ALEX: Umm, so I always liked the name Burnzy as a nickname but it never really was something that was crazy. It was my dad’s nickname when he used to play football and then when I played football, just randomly one of my football coaches called me Burnzy. And it was just like oh shoot. I just thought it was cool and a random coincidence that never caught on. I was thinking of nicknames I’ve had and Burnzyy was one, but then I looked it up and there were like 3 or 4 other Burnzy artists out there or whatever. So I was like AKABURNZYY and at some point when I get bigger I’ll just drop the AKA. And I’ll just go by Burnzy. It’s funny cause people already call me Burnzy and AKA is sort’ve like an A$AP to Rocky.
JON: How long have you been making music?
ALEX: Ummm, I’ve been making music for, how long has it been now? I wanna say like probably like it's about to be my second year, or like completing my second year (of making music).
BEN: You started making music your freshman year, but you didn’t REALLY have a song by yourself until January of 2022. But he was rapping on a couple of random tracks freshman year. Our friends made a diss track, he was on that.
ALEX: That is kinda crazy yeah. But I’ve been writing songs for myself since 7th or 8th grade.
JON: What made you eventually hop on the mic?
ALEX: I guess I’ve always had a passion for music, but never really realized it until I came to Ithaca College and I was surrounded by Ben and other people who just so happened to take an interest in music. I just one day was like “Oh okay, I wanna do this and this is something I wanna take seriously.” ACTUALLY, that’s a lie. I was like writing a little bit more cause I did it one time on a diss track that Ben was just talking about and I was like fuck I need to start writing a little bit more. And then our friend Curtis was like, “I wanna start taking rap seriously and I was like, “Okay shoot, maybe I want to too.” So like I was starting to write even more after that. And then coming back for a second semester, January 2022, I took shrooms. I heard Childish Gambino’s “Flight of the Navigator” and I was tripping fucking balls. But it was in that moment I was like, “I’M MEANT TO BE AN ARTIST, I’M MEANT TO MAKE MUSIC.” And then from there, it was like yeah this is what I want to do.
Alex credits his shroom vacation for his sudden serious pursuit as a musical artist.
JON: Damn so without the shrooms then what? You would’ve just been a regular student?
ALEX: Yeah nah I probably would have been a regular student. I really wanted to try and do film. I probably would’ve put more of my work into film than into music, but you know life happens the way it does. So I’m happy the decisions that I made led me to that because I don’t know what I would have been doing or if I would have enjoyed it as much. So yeah.
JON: Earlier you mentioned a passion for music. Where do you think that came from?
ALEX: I always just enjoyed music. As a baby & as a kid, my mom & dad would always play music around the house. I always enjoyed the sound of percussions and stuff like that. I would drum on pots & pans and shit when I was younger. Anything that I could just like *makes banging noise*, I would just do that. It led to my uncle getting me a drum set at one point because he was okay like stop banging on fucking everything. Here’s something you can actually try and do. A lot of things just happened where I eventually had to put the drumming lessons down and I just haven’t picked them back up. But you know as I grew older, my parents still listened to music a lot. Car rides, my parents would always listen to CDs. I fucking loved listening to Kidz Bop CDs. But yeah I always loved music, as I got older I would write a little bit more, and meet people with similar interests as me. It wasn’t until I came to Ithaca College that I was like okay music is a thing. Because before that I was an athlete and creativity was there, but it wasn’t like my main output.
JON: What is your background?
ALEX: So I was born in Boston, and moved to South Hadley (Western Massachusetts). Then I moved back to Boston back to South Hadley, down to Virginia. Then from Virginia, back to South Hadley, then back to Virginia. Then from Virginia, I came here to Ithaca College.
JON: Do you feel the constant back & forth influenced anything for you creatively?
ALEX: Yeah definitely. Because of all that movement, you get to meet different types of people. The culmination of all that movement of going to all these different places and meeting all these types of people of ethnic and economic backgrounds influenced who I am as a person which in turn influences the creative aspect of my music and shit like that.
JON: What is your favorite song of yours?
ALEX: This is an interesting question, I’ve never thought about this... I would probably say Sunsight. I liked it because the beat was really good, shoutout Ben. Just hearing it, it's like “fuck.” The feeling I got from it was very truthful & honest. I wanted to write about something I was truly feeling. At the time that was really what I was doing and it was the most articulate way I was able to express my feelings in a song that I’ve done so far.
JON: Between Homecoming & AHHHHH! which project made you think the most?
ALEX: Definitely Homecoming, like I had a plan and I felt very methodical. Everything had a reason behind it, everything had a meaning, and everything was like boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. A lot of it was like, I wanted to be able to express my feelings. At the time I was still trying to figure out who I wanted to be as an artist, and what I wanted to talk about, everything else that I heard my friends talking about or in other songs weren’t things that I related to. I was like okay I’m just going to make music that I relate to. Once I really started to do that it was like okay, I have more of a reason to make Homecoming. I have a reason for the songs to be on this project, there’s a reason why Soul Ties sounds like Soul Ties, there’s a reason why the first track is, “I told shorty not to worry, yeah I’m coming home.” There’s a reason Starchasers is that last song on the project. There’s a reason behind a lot of it and it was just methodical and something we just crafted. When it came it AHHHHH!, it was the more creative out of the two because with AHHHHH!, there was no goal in mind, we were just making music. In my head, I was still trying to have myself in it and still express what I was going through but still doing it in a creative way.
"Homecoming", is AKABURNZYY's first musical EP consisting of seven songs. It was released in November of 2022.
JON: What are the challenges that come with being a musical artist?
ALEX: Still being able to have fun with it because in a sense you have to be able to take it seriously. To make it as an artist you have to be very serious, dedicated, and hard-working toward your craft. But at the same time, I have to remind myself it’s still about having fun at the end of the day. It's still about being okay with making mistakes and having fun throughout the process and knowing that hard work can still be fun & rewarding. It does not have to be just painstaking hard work. That’s really what I’m trying to get into my head, especially with music.
JON: How do you balance your student life & creative life?
ALEX: I don’t. *laughs* I really don’t, that’s the simple answer. I have a very hard time trying to balance it all. I’m trying to get a good routine and still be able to balance every aspect of my life. It’s hard because I struggle with anxiety and depression as well as having ADD, and I hate taking my meds.
You can keep up to date with Alex and his creative journey via instagram: @akaburnzyy