Pride Month Spotlight: Ryan Cassata
For this week's LGBTQ+ artist spotlight, we talked to trans musician, actor, and activist, Ryan Cassata. Cassata dropped his first LP “The Theme of Humankind” in 2011, and he's released four others since. On top of that, he's also released six EP's, and many music videos. In 2013 Ryan won an Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands contest to play a date on the Vans Warped Tour, making him the first openly trans musician to play the tour. He also won the contest in 2015, giving himself the opportunity to play the Vans Warped Tour for the second time. Not only has he played Warped Tour, but he's performed at many Pride events, and at venues around the US and beyond.
If you're familiar with Cassata's music, it will come as no surprise to you that he was able to win Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands contests on two separate occasions. The word that best describes his music is “honest.” Listening through Ryan's discography is like sifting through snapshots of his life. Each of his songs tell a story, and each paints a clear picture of where he was in life when they were written. If you want to be inspired to wear your heart on your sleeve and be unapologetically yourself, look no further than his Spotify page.
Although all of his songs are great in their own way, because it's Pride Month, I would highly recommend his single “Daughter.” It's the perfect first listen if you've never heard his music before. The song is about being trans, and his relationship with his father, like the rest of his songs, it's incredibly honest. With crisp, clear vocals and an indie-folk sound with a pop infusion, once you hear “Daughters” you'll want to check out the rest of what he has to offer. But before you do that, be sure to read the interview we did with Ryan below, and then go follow him on social media for updates and content.
SP: Your song “Daughter” is relatable to a lot of people. What does it mean to you to know that so many of your fans find comfort in your music?
RC: “It means I have accomplished one of the greatest things that you can do in this world: helping other people.
I'm glad that my song was able to help so many people. It really reminds me of my purpose and makes my heart feel full to know that I have made an impact on other people.”
SP: Which of your songs means the most to you, and why?
RC: “That's really hard to say honestly. I feel like I put my heart into all my songs. My favorite song is usually the last one I had written because I'm excited about it.
I am writing a lot of songs with my girlfriend and they are filled with so much love. I think those are meaningful.”
SP: In your opinion, what's the best way fans can support LGBTQ+ artists?
RC: “Tell other people about the music that you like. Word of mouth is so important to helping get artists discovered. Share your favorite music with your friends.
Buy artists music or stream it on Spotify or iTunes, etc. Go to as many shows as you can. Invite your friends. Make playlists of all your favorite artists. Just spread the word. There's a lot of things you can do without even having any money to support.
Word of mouth is so important. Spread the word about the artists you love!”
SP: Who are your biggest musical inspirations?
RC: “As far as songwriting and vocal delivery goes, Bruce Springsteen is my favorite. I am a big fan of Alkaline Trio, Remo Drive, The Get Up Kids, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, and so many more...”
SP: As an out trans artist, what advice would you give to aspiring trans musicians?
RC: “Put yourself out there as much as you can. It's hard to find people to help promote you in the beginning, so work as hard as you can to do it yourself.
Play shows. Practice. Write. Be open to suggestions of how to improve your work.”
SP: Currently, what's your favorite song by a fellow LGBTQ+ artist?
RC: “The Pop by DreamStates. They are a trans fronted band. I've been listening to that song everyday.
I put it on this playlist that I made for Pride: https://open.spotify.com/user/12408180/playlist/6RWjwM83SDL2zdND8RqNbm?si=2F1m1fsSQOWq6iKc7cDNew “
SP: What do you look forward to most about performing at Pride events this year?
RC: “I am looking forward to feeling my community so close. It's amazing to see so many LGBTQ people all come together in support of each other.
It makes me know that I am not alone. I think that's so important. We are all there together. None of us are really alone.”
SP: Do you have an projects or upcoming shows you'd like to plug? Feel free to drop links to all of your social media accounts!
RC: “My shows can be found here: www.ryancassata.com
I have some coming up in New York and Los Angeles. I will be on tour in late August and September. I'll be playing a show at the OSF Green Show this year. I'm super excited about that! Can't wait to be on tour again! I'll have more music out soon. I'm in the studio right no w recording.
Instagram: @ryancassata Twitter: @ROCassataMusic Facebook.com/ryancassata YouTube.com/RyanCassata “