Pop-folk singer Ryan Cassata has been through a lot in his young 26 years. The L.A. based transgender musician, public speaker, actor, activist, and YouTube sensation recently thrilled the crowd at “Gender Unbound, Austin’s one and only art festival to honor, spotlight, and celebrate trans, ENBY, and intersex artists is back and bigger than ever.”
In addition Cassata is one of the faces of teen retailer Hollister Co.’s anti-bullying campaign: Cancel Bullying/Do Something. In the video for the campaign Cassata relays his own experiences being bullied growing up.
Cassata also got deep with Grammy.com about the challenges he faced growing up, which included his parent’s divorce, going deaf, his love of baseball, and celebrating 5 years of sobriety.
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To be recognized by the GRAMMYs is a huge deal to me. I am honored. I have spent the last few weeks doing interviews with @crystalfrostmusic for the @recordingacademy and we discussed important topics of my life that haven’t really been discussed before. Dive in…links in my bio 🙂 and you can head over to Grammy.com and see the front page! I never thought I would get here…but here I am!
“Cassata… has since become a true force in the industry — penning Op-Eds in The New York Times and Huffington Post, earning support from SiriusXM, BBC Radio 4, LOGO’s New Now Next, The Advocate, and more, as well as appearances on CNN, The Larry King Live Show and The Tyra Banks Show. “I haven’t let being trans or queer hold me back in the music industry and I’ve been open and visible throughout my whole career so far,” says Cassata. “It all feels like a dream come true to me. I remind myself of how hard I worked to get here, going back to memories of the early days of playing open mics and burning CDs one by one to sell at shows. I try hard to keep myself in the moment so I can enjoy every minute of it.
Cassata was six years old when he started playing the guitar his mother told Grammy.com. “I was drawn to it,” Cassata says of that crimson guitar his older brother Vincent used to play. “I begged them for a long time to sign me up. They said I was too small and young, but I kept asking and eventually they let me.”
“A fan once told me, ‘Your success with your career shows me that being trans doesn’t have to hold me back,'” Cassata shares. Sentiments like this, while touching, seem to unintentionally place a burden on Cassata to deliver content and work endlessly in order to succeed. The pressure reached a tipping point last year when Cassata completed a new album that he never ended up releasing and that no one has heard. At some point during the post-production phase, it occurred to Cassata that he wasn’t being himself. The pressure had become so intense that his anxiety took the lead instead of his artistry. “I was feeling so pushed to create that I almost forgot what my fans really want to hear. People don’t listen to my music to have something to work out to. They listen because they want to feel something.”
Read the full article here and watch Cassata’s Hollister Co. “Cancel Bullying” video below.
Follow Cassata on Insta.
Cassata’s fifth LP is set to be released in March, 2020.