Several years after graduating from The University of Texas with a marketing degree Bobby Burton was not satisfied with his impending conventional job journey. He discovered a meaningful career path at an unlikely place, a coffee house in Houston, Texas. While having a cup of coffee and watching a local singer-songwriter perform with captivating passion he was inspired to pursue a career in talent representation. How to market an artist from a coffee house to the national stage was a challenge that was intriguing and motivating. Focusing on a new career direction he created Burton Entertainment for public relations and artist management.  For the next four years he managed the Texas folk-rock band Wheatfield/St. Elmo’s Fire, which included the singer-songwriter from the coffee house, Connie Mims. Wheatfield/St. Elmo’s Fire  had a successful career launched  by two significant events generating national media attention in 1976. First, was their appearance on the inaugural season of Austin City Limits, followed by their composition of the music and live performances for one of the rare rock ballets ever premiering in the United States. Just a few years out of high school the band performed for the world premier of “Caliban” with the Houston Ballet, and in 1977 with the Chicago and Dallas Ballet companies. This versatile and talented group’s name recognition soared performing to capacity crowds through out the southwest. Unfortunately, major record companies declined to sign the group as they were challenged by the band’s musical diversity and the marketing options associated with that perception. They disbanded in 1979, but reunited in 2004 and continue performing to sold out venues.

In 1980 Burton relocated from Austin, Texas to Los Angeles to advance his career of artist representation in music with the goal of expanding into television and film. Once settled in Los Angeles he and legendary engineer/producer Henry Lewy formed a partnership to discover and nurture singer-songwriters. Lewy started in the music business at its infancy working with David Crosby, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Van Morrison and many others. This offered Burton insightful teachings and opportunities.  Burton represented Lewy for public relations/management with Lewy becoming a lifelong friend and mentor. One artist Burton and Lewy signed was singer-songwriter Jude Johnstone, whom they discovered at the small club Bla Bla Cafe’ in Studio City on a tip from Jennifer Warnes. Burton began managing Johnstone and Lewy produced her at his home base, A&M studios. Johnstone’s project never reached retail but other artists recognized her profound and emotional songs, resulting in a successful songwriting career.  Over the ensuing years an impressive list of recording artists including Stevie Nicks, Bette Midler, Trisha Yearwood, Johnny Cash, Jennifer Warnes, Bonnie Raitt, Mary Black, Emmylou Harris and others recorded Johnstone’s songs.

Desiring to expand his client roster opportunities Burton pursued a career in the television industry eventually becoming Director of Creative Services for NBC Television in Burbank, CA. In this position he was responsible for the publicity of talent in NBC’s movies, specials and all daytime programming. One of the talents he represented was Pat Sajak, host of “Wheel of Fortune,” where a long client relationship began. Burton left NBC for CBS Television as Director of Publicity to launch the late night program, “The Pat Sajak Show.” At the end of the show’s run Burton returned to personal artist representation with Sajak, actor Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser, MD, How I Met your Mother), actress Mayim Bialik (Blossom, The Big Bang Theory) and Johnstone as clients. On one special assignment Burton generated publicity for the renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s 50th Anniversary in Ashland, Oregon with NBC Television’s “The Today Show.” Impressed with this charming university town nestled in the Siskiyou Mountains he relocated Burton Entertainment from Los Angeles to Ashland in 1995.

In addition to  Burton Entertainment he formed two business partnerships with Sajak specifically to market the exceptional talents of Johnstone.  Sajak Music, a music publishing company was created in 1997 and in 2001 BoJak Records was launched. Sajak Music co-publishes Johnstone’s 100 song catalogue including “Unchained,” the title song on Johnny Cash’s 1997 Grammy winning CD; “The Woman Before Me,” a Radio & Records  # 1 song recorded by Trisha Yearwood on her debut CD,  “Wounded Heart” covered by Bonnie Raitt on “Silver Lining,” and Emmylou Harris’ “Hold On,” from her CD “All I Intended To Be” in 2008.  In 2002 BoJak released Jude’s critically acclaimed debut CD, “Coming of Age”, and followed with 7 additional CDs through 2020.

The song playing on this site is “When It’s Over and Done,” by Jude Johnstone. This track was recorded in 1982 at A & M Studios by Henry Lewy. It was featured as a bonus track on Jude’s CD “Blue Light,” released in 2007.  Jude was 22 years old when she wrote and recorded this song.

Burton has represented Sajak for over 30 years and has been Johnstone’s manager since 1982; and it all started with a cup of coffee.

Burton is currently co-producing/directing a documentary through his production company Below Stairs Productions titled “The Man Behind The Music,” which is a tribute to his friend, Henry Lewy who died in 2006. The short documentary was selected to the New York Independent Film Festival, Prescott and Amsterdam Film Festivals  in 2018. He looks forward to completing the full length documentary.