EXCLUSIVE: Phil Burton talks all things Human Nature as well as what’s next for him

The Aussie singer has a new found love of dance…

Phil Burton was one of the founding members of beloved Australian band Human Nature.

So fans were understandably upset when, in 2021, Phil seemed to leave the group; he abandoned Human Nature’s long-term residency in Las Vegas and moved back to Australia…

In the two years since then, Phil has forged a successful solo career; he’s performed to sold-out crowds all around Australia and also won Dancing the with Stars last year with Ash-Leigh Hunter.

Not to mention, thanks to a new found love of dance, Phil will soon embark on an unexpected venture: he’s joining Burn The Floor’s ‘Dare to Dream’ Australian tour in August.

But why did Phil leave the US? And what inspired him to join Burn The Floor – an international ballroom and latin dance company – on tour?

The Weekly sat down with Phil to find out. Read our full interview with the singer below…

The Weekly: What motivated you to leave Human Nature and the US, and instead embark on a solo career in Australia?

Phil: Well, I have to say, I wasn’t really thinking about a solo career when I left – well, actually I didn’t leave Human Nature. I just left America.

dancing with the stars 2023

You know, we’ve been living in Vegas for 11 and a half years and I just wanted to bring my family home to Australia. You know, have my kids grow up here and be back amongst our supportive extended family and our friends back here in Australia.

So, as far as the group goes, I wasn’t motivated by any ‘solo’ career because I’m still very much a part of Human Nature… Just here in Australia. So, when the other guys come back home to Australia to do gigs, I join in.

So yeah, the motivation for me wasn’t anything to do with the solo career. It was more about just bringing up my kids and coming back here with my wife and having some family time in Australia.

Are you planning to release a solo album while your fellow Human Nature bandmates continue the residency?

I don’t have any plans at the moment to release anything solo. I love performing solo in a live sense though. And I love adding different feathers to the cap; so doing some TV work and radio work.

I’ve done a bit of that over the last few years actually, like Dancing with the Stars. And then I’ve worked a lot on 2GB and on KIIS FM as well. So, I really enjoy doing those things as well as doing my own live performances… But no solo album is currently planned.

Speaking of Dancing with the Stars, you obviously danced a little prior to it while touring with Human Nature but did competing on the show change your perspective on dancing?
phil burton burn the floor tour

Very much so. I actually went into it thinking, ‘This is going to be okay. I’ve been dancing for a long time with Human Nature so I’m gonna have the moves down pretty quickly.’ But I couldn’t have been more wrong because ballroom dancing is such a different beast.

There’s so many more things you have to think about. So many nuances of where your hand goes, what angle your hands on, what angle your body’s on and how you sort of flow with the music – you don’t just go 1, 2, 3, on the beat all the time.

Yes, I had the advantage of being able to pick up the moves quickly but getting the technique down, I was starting from scratch with that. So, I definitely have a brand new appreciation of how difficult it is to do ballroom dancing correctly.

Have you continued with regular dance lessons since winning Dancing with the Stars?

No, I’m sorry to say I haven’t! As much as I enjoyed the process of it, it was so intense and I think that intensity… If I tried to go back and learn ballroom dancing after that, I think it would be a little bit of a letdown because it’d just be such a different feel.

I did get the chance to do it again. A few months after recording [Dancing with the Stars], I got to perform one more time at the Telethon with Ash-Leigh and that was a fantastic reunion.

It’s a bit of a tricky thing to try and say, ‘I’ll do [dance lessons] again.’ I’m sure a lot of people say they’re going to continue it but I don’t know how many of them actually do [laughs].

phil burton
And speaking of dance, you’re joining Burn The Floor’s 2024 Australian tour, Dare to Dream. Is it in a singing or dancing capacity?

I get to sing with this one. So, I get to provide the vocals for the incredible dancers while they do their thing. I’m not saying that I won’t be dancing at all though!

I did go on Dancing with the Stars, so I might shake the hip maybe once in the show. That’ll be just a little fixture that is there and gone quickly because, you know, when it comes down to it, my strength is definitely the singing.

And the dancers’ strength is definitely the dancing. And, you know, audiences don’t want to see me doing middle quality dancing while these professionals are doing their thing. I’m very, very happy to be able to provide the singing for their incredible moves.

Why did you decide to join Burn The Floor’s Australian tour this year?

Well, I have been doing my own shows, particularly around Sydney, over the last six months or so and I’ve really enjoyed that. But as I said before, the variety of work is something that I’m really, really keen to continue.

So, when this opportunity came up to perform with Burn The Floor, I really took it straight away because one, I get to sing, which is great. I get to sing new songs that I’ve not sung before.

Two, I get to watch these incredible dancers, like really close up. Which again, after having done Dancing with the Stars, I’ve got that appreciation of just how hard they work. And just how they really are elite athletes; they’re incredible. So, to get the chance to watch that up close again is a really great opportunity.

phil burton and burn the floor dancers

And just to be part of a fantastic show. It’s going to be so much fun.

And finally, looking back at your incredible career, which achievements are you most proud of and why?

I think a couple of the highlights are things I’ve gotten to do with Human Nature. I mean, of course, getting the Las Vegas residency which is very, very difficult to do. And to manage to keep that going for over 10 years… I think that’s something we can all be really, really proud of.

One of the other biggest things I would have to say is back when we were chosen to perform the national anthem for the Sydney Olympics. I think being chosen to represent our country in that way – I mean, I’m not saying that we’re like gold medal athletes or anything like that – but being chosen to represent the country and sing the anthem, that was a really great feeling to know that we were thought of in that way. That we could do this well and be good representatives for what Australian music can produce. That was pretty amazing.

And getting to do a duet with John Farnham when he was, like, at the height of his powers and Australia looked upon him as a god. So, for him to choose us as duet partners is, again, an amazing feeling to know that we’re thought of in that way. That we are a big part of the Australian music industry.

Little moments like that, when they come along, they really make you feel like you’re doing the right thing.

You can purchase tickets to see Phil Burton perform in Burn The Floor’s ‘Dare to Dream’ Tour – which will travel around Australia from August 14 to September 21 – here.

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