The Power of Chasing Dreams and Empowering Communities: A Conversation with Kirsty Burchill

We’ve been yarning with Kirsty Burchill otherwise known as KB is a Kuku Yalanji woman, from Mossman in FNQ. She is a singer, songwriter, works in roles that extend on the already existing capacity of her people.  Kirsty has been singing from a very early age and performing since she was 14. This young queen is destined for greatness, either singing or being in front of the right people to make a change for her mob and more for her country.

Welcome to the Queen Be Podcast, where we bring you inspiring stories of women who are making a difference in their communities.

In this episode, we have the pleasure of speaking with Kirsty Burchill, a talented singer-songwriter and passionate advocate for her Indigenous community in Far North Queensland.

Kirsty’s journey is a testament to the power of chasing dreams and the impact one person can have on their community.

Join us as we delve into her experiences, her work in community development, and the importance of empowering the next generation.



Growing Up in a Small Town with Big Dreams

Kirsty Burchill, affectionately known as KB, grew up in Mossman, a small town in Far North Queensland. From a young age, she was surrounded by music, country, and culture. Kirsty’s upbringing in a tight-knit family and her connection to her Indigenous roots laid the foundation for her future endeavors. She reflects on her childhood, saying, “I was very blessed as a kid. Grew up in a small town, went to state primary, very talented and smart child.”

The Higher Expectations Program: A Path to Success

Kirsty’s life took a significant turn when she was selected to attend an elite boarding school in Brisbane through the Higher Expectations program. This program, initiated by Noel Pearson and Cape York Elders, aimed to address the low graduation rates among Indigenous students. Kirsty was part of the initial cohort of 30 students, and she proudly shares, “I was the first of all my siblings and 64 1st cousins to graduate under my family.”

The Higher Expectations program has since grown, with over 800 Indigenous students benefiting from its support. Kirsty acknowledges the impact of this program on her life and the lives of her peers, stating, “Sometimes you have to go against the grain to make it work for your mob. I’m privileged to be a part of that group, that alumni, and it definitely supports my dreams currently.”

Balancing Dreams and Community Empowerment

Kirsty’s passion for empowering her Indigenous community led her to work in community development. She recognized the need for change and wanted to make a difference in the lives of her people. Kirsty explains, “I’ve always been someone who loves to see other people grow. I’m such a celebrator of people’s lives, and if I see you struggling, I’m just like, what can I do?”

One of Kirsty’s notable achievements was helping 60 Indigenous family members obtain their driver’s licenses. She understands the significance of this seemingly simple accomplishment, stating, “Having a driver’s license gives you freedom and enables you to do more things. It’s about enabling our mob to get better.”

Kirsty’s journey has been a delicate balance between pursuing her dreams in music and making a difference in her community. She shares the challenges she faced, saying, “I battled for a very long time, community-oriented, caregiving work, and music. You have to find your middle ground where you’re at peace with yourself.”

However, Kirsty firmly believes that her music and community work are not mutually exclusive. In fact, she sees them as interconnected and mutually beneficial. She explains, “You chasing your dreams is giving back to your community too – because being a minority, we as mob don’t see that future exists for us.”

The Power of Vulnerability and Empathy

One of the most significant challenges Kirsty faces in her music career is embracing vulnerability. Growing up in a strong, matriarchal family, she was taught to be tough and resilient. However, she recognizes the importance of letting her guard down and showing her true self through her music. Kirsty shares, “My music is a window to my soul, and I have to stand up in front of hundreds of people to show them my heart and soul and my vulnerability. That’s terrifying.”

Despite the fear, Kirsty believes that vulnerability is essential in connecting with others and making a lasting impact. She emphasizes the importance of empathy and supporting one another, saying, “You’re allowed to be needy. You’re allowed to just need a bit of support and love, and that’s okay. It’s okay to just be human.”

The Realities of Remote and Regional Communities

Living in a regional rural community like Mossman comes with its own set of challenges. Kirsty sheds light on the disparities faced by Indigenous communities, particularly in terms of access to healthy food and essential services. She explains, “The further away you are from Westernized communities, the closer you are to culture. But you’re also further away from those Westernized communities, and the economy is crap.” Which highlights the importance of community-controlled organizations in addressing the specific needs of Indigenous communities and overcoming those inequities. 

 Kirsty also highlights the need for understanding and recognition of the diversity within Indigenous communities. She emphasizes, “We are not all the same. Not every Indigenous person, let alone community, is the same. We all have different language groups, different customary laws.”

Chasing Dreams and Empowering the Next Generation

As Kirsty continues to pursue her dreams, she encourages young girls from her hometown and beyond to chase their dreams and not be deterred by obstacles. Kirsty advises, “Chase your dreams and if your parents say no, then be a little bit stubborn. Also, negotiate and compromise. Find your people who support you and explore every opportunity.”

Kirsty’s ultimate goal is to create a better future for her family, her community, and Indigenous people as a whole. She believes that by taking responsibility for the future and working together, positive change can be achieved. Kirsty concludes, “We want you to walk with us. ”

Looking Forward

Kirsty Burchill’s journey is a testament to the power of chasing dreams and making a difference in one’s community. Her experiences highlight the importance of vulnerability, empathy, and the need for sustainable community development initiatives. Kirsty’s work in empowering Indigenous communities and inspiring the next generation serves as a beacon of hope for a brighter future.

As Kirsty continues to pursue her music career and community work, her impact will undoubtedly grow. Her upcoming album release promises to be a powerful expression of her soul and a testament to her journey. Kirsty’s determination and passion will undoubtedly continue to inspire others to chase their dreams and create positive change in their communities.

In a world where Indigenous voices are often marginalized, Kirsty Burchill’s story reminds us of the resilience, strength, and potential within Indigenous communities. By amplifying these voices and supporting initiatives that empower Indigenous people, we can work towards a more inclusive and equitable society for all.