Realizing he was a poor singer and would never front a band, Casey stuck with his strength: writing songs. And, as fate and a lot of hard work would have it, he has become a success. Read his story here:
Do you play any musical instruments? Are you from a musical family?
I play guitar. Not from a musical family at all. When I was around 12 (just a FEW years ago), my brother and I got some cheap guitars and a book, Learn to Play Guitar Like The Monkees. We wanted to play our then favorite songs. The first song we ever played was “Last Train To Clarksville” followed by “I’m A Believer” though there was an F chord in “I’m A Believer” and we struggled with that!
Did you choose to be a “non-performing” songwriter? Why?
HA! No, I think people who heard me sing decided that for me! Though I play guitar well enough, I’m really a bad singer. I realized early on that fantasies of being on stage playing my own songs for cheering crowds would have to stay as fantasies.
For decades, I wrote songs, played them for friends and family, but didn’t know how to realize my dream of doing something with these songs. It wasn’t until the year 2000 that I learned there were professional demo services that would listen to your scratch work tapes and produce something marketable. I finally took about a dozen songs on cassette to a demo studio and had professional recordings made. That changed my life. Although many of the songs were VERY bad, it showed me how a good song when demo’d well could be pitched successfully.
What types of songs do you write and who were your songwriting influences?
I’m a child of the ’60s so I have to say The Beatles were my biggest influence along with ’60s music as a whole including The Stones, Moody Blues, Simon and Garfunkel, The Doors, etc. I think the music we grew up with stays in our soul forever and it comes out when we write.
Early on I wrote very ’60s style songs. In more recent years I’ve tried to write more modern but it always comes out with a heavy dose of retro. The types of songs I write are generally rock and singer-songwriter though I’m collaborating on world instrumentals and other genres.
Lyrically, it usually starts from some emotional experience that had an impact on me. Early on, I made the same mistake most beginning songwriters make by writing things that were way too personal. Now I shape the personal experiences into something more universal.
Do you remember the very first song you wrote? What was it called and was it good?
It was called “Marleen’s Song” and I wrote it for a girl I was friends with when I was about 16. It was pretty bad. Interestingly, decades later, I took some of the chord pattern from it and used it as part of a new song called “Physical World.” The no-vocal backing track from “Physical World” has been used in TV spots a number of times now. It’s my most popular cue. Never throw anything away!
You placed a song with America’s Got Talent. How did that come about?
Years back I had sent a CD to a library with both songs and their backing tracks. I didn’t know that the library only did instrumentals. Nor did I know that these backing tracks by themselves were marketable. The library signed around six backing tracks and I forgot all about it.
A few years later, after being very accustomed to statements from ASCAP that said there were no placements, a check arrived and I almost fell over. The backing track to “Painfully Single” was used as a cue on America’s Got Talent. I eventually was able to get a video clip. It’s very cool to watch a show and hear your own music. The take away from the experience is patience. This is a slow moving business and it can take years from the time you sign a track with a library until anything happens.
What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career so far?
Tough question. I’d have to say all of them. I still feel like I’m just a kid with a guitar who used to make up songs (girlfriend dumped me, a song… parents are annoying, a song… have a crush on a girl, a song…) so the fact that my music has gone from my head to anywhere in the rest of the world at all totally blows me away.
How did you first hear about TAXI and why did you become a member?
Back around 2001, I was working in an office building and totally by accident made contact with a music industry person who listened to some of my songs. He suggested TAXI to me. I had never heard of TAXI. I didn’t realize at the time how he was telling me, “You need to work on your songwriting.”
What have you learned about the Industry from TAXI?
So much of what I know comes from the entire TAXI experience, which, in addition to the critiques, includes the forum and attending Road Rallies. Embrace the whole experience! Also, like many, when I first started I was going to write that next big radio hit. With TAXI, I learned about film/TV opportunities and how to better target my work in that direction.
How has TAXI helped your career?
Education, dose of reality (much needed!), relationships, motivation… And a few deals to boot! From TAXI forwards I have tracks targeted for Muzak and a show on MTV. Though collaborations with TAXI members I met at the Road Rally, I have other deals for which I credit TAXI.
What are your goals for the rest of 2011?
Mainly to finish more songs including some additional collaborations with fellow TAXI members… To keep getting better at my songwriting… I expect to attend my fifth Road Rally in November too.
||Fort Washington, Pennsylvania
|Year Joined TAXI:
||Another Blue Day