Back in Early November, I got to catch up with singer/ songwriter LGBT activist Ryan Cassata who performed at my school William Paterson University. He and his band came to perform a set, as well as do an awesome Q & A panel for everyone who attended.
Ryan’s latest album is called, “Shine.” His set list included, “Bare Feet”, “Sunrise Highway”, “Check Engine”, “Alcatraz”, “Cocaine Crazy”, “Bedroom Eyes”, “Shine On”, “Jupiter”, “We’re the Cool Kids”, and “Love ‘Round the World.”
After his set Ryan and the band set up for the Q & A panel. What I loved about the panel is the band kept it real and answered honest questions about what it’s like coming out, how they came out, and how they all identified in the LGBT community. They told stories about their transitioning processes, life after coming out, and they really made you feel like if you were going through this you weren’t alone. Ryan also talked about his American Idol Open Letter YouTube video that went viral, after he turned down the show.
Ryan and his band had a great on-stage presence, energy, and really kept the crowd’s attention throughout the night. I definitely give the evening a 10/10, and if Ryan is ever in your hometown or at your College/University you should definitely check him out. I caught up with him after the show, and he answered a few questions for me.
AltWire [Samantha Warren]: As an LGBT activist, what is the main message you want to get across to your fans on your tours?
Ryan Cassata: The main message is really, “You are not alone and to just know that there’s other people out there like you and that there’s other people out there that will accept you for you are as long as you’re not hurting anyone else.”
AW: What was the inspiration behind your album, “Shine?”
Ryan Cassata: Most of the inspiration of shine is most of my real life experiences, I wrote most of the songs myself, aside from the cover songs.
AW: What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge?
Ryan Cassata: I’m not sure. We haven’t really had any challenges.
AW: Do you guys have any favorite tour stories that really stand out?
Ryan Cassata: Actually, we went to a show all the way in Governor’s Island and they didn’t have any equipment for us like they said we would so we went all the way out there for nothing.
AW: You have a memoir in the works. Can you tell me anything about it?
Ryan Cassata: Not too much about it yet, but I wrote the book it goes into my teenage years to like age 21. Hopefully, I’ll be able to release it soon. I’m in the editing process which could take years.
AW: What changes would you like to see to the music industry to allow you to make a living from your music?
Ryan Cassata: I would love to see people buy music again you know? Now people don’t buy music anymore and they just stream. I have 15,000 plays on Spotify for Bedroom Eyes and I’d love to have $15,000 and you only get like $50.00.
AW: Can you tell me about your documentary, “Songs for Alexis?”
Ryan Cassata: That was about me and my ex-girlfriend Alexis and basically I was writing songs for her and the documentary show’s that.
AW: Do you have any other documentaries in the works?
Ryan Cassata: I’m filming next Sunday for a PSA, but I don’t have any other film stuff happening right now.
AW: What are the future plans for you and the band?
Ryan Cassata: We don’t really know right now. Hopefully, we just keep playing you know?