Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Stop! Look! Learn! Move forward - Cassidy Haley

Photo: Sunshine Rebel Records

 It’s been almost two years since I first interviewed Cassidy Haley.  Since then he and I have both come a long way and learned a lot.  For me it was doing verbal interviews instead of by email.  I now provide myself and my readers results that are more connected and offer a much wider range of motion.
As for Cassidy's life and career lessons?  The attention he initially received in the beginning, set off more of an explosion rather than just sparking his ambition and creativity.  With offers of management, promotion, etc. he immediately saw this huge picture of national tours, album releases and big productions.  However, he learned quickly that it wasn’t that easy.
My first question was, “what have you learned?”
CH: I learned to take my time. I don’t need to be where I want to be right now.  It is better to be me, where I am right now and take small steps.
I’ve learned that, basically, my grand vision of what I want to see happen is my best asset but it is also my worst enemy because sometimes I lose sight of where I am right now. I’m thinking about a huge stadium concert with fifteen back-up dancers and ten costume changes instead of about getting thirty people to my next show.  So now the 'grand vision' is kept more in check."
Cassidy went on and broke the explanation down further.  “To become a great artist you need that grand vision of where you want to go so it’s not a bad thing.  It’s just that you have to be really aware that it can put you in the fantasy of where you want to be which then distracts you from where you are”.  It was very clear already in our conversation that he has adjusted his focus to a sharper point.
From there I went back to our first interview where I was introducing people to the many facets of this incredibly creative person.  Does he still design clothes, draw, or do performance art?
CH:  Right now I’m really honing in on the musical craft.  I’ve set aside the clothing company, the graphic novel,  and am zeroing in on the music.  Of course I couldn’t be satisfied with one facet of music so I am creating three different live performances.  They include all the same songs but each is styled for a different audiences.  The rock & roll band of Cassidy Haley and The Sunshine Rebels remains.  Then there is the new ‘boy band’ The Mixtape Project which caters more to a queer audience with choreography and very pop orientation.  For the acoustic angle there are performances of either just myself solo on guitar or piano or may occasionally include other artists with acoustic instruments. “
Apparently there is a fourth performance option that Haley went on to explain. 
CH:    "There is a solo show with a more theatrical tinge that includes costumes for nightclubs and the underground scene." 
Cassidy doesn’t liked being boxed in by styles or genres.  For him, even though it may be the same story, there are many ways to tell it.  Sometimes it needs to be resculpted to speak a different audience.  Still a thru-line is there in that they are all his songs.
“Smart art” is risky though, especially in the music business’s current state as far as money goes.  Cassidy is yet another musician who has taken advantage of Kickstarter.  This program offers anyone from fan to investor the opportunity to work directly with artists. 
CH:  “It (Kickstarter) allows me to take my own risks and for my fans to take those risks with me." 
Over the last two years I’ve embraced my music career whole-heartedly.  There was so much to be learned and now I have experience to produce an album, promote an album and release an album in a way that will take me a lot farther.  The Fool was a great album but I want to reach a larger audience with The Lovers and I believe I have the tools to accomplish that now.
Good things that came from Round One of Haley’s venture into his music career were the recognition of his music videos by large media outlets such as Logo TV and AfterElton.  Logo had Whiskey In Churches in rotation for many months.  I asked, based on the insanely high quality of the production of those videos, if that notice got him any calls to work as a production designer, set artist, location scout or director.
CH:  Thankfully no.  Those were not areas I wanted to work in.  They did, however, help to grow my fanbase though.
Videos are a critical part of Cassidy’s concept for all of his music.
CH:  “Every video starts with my vision and then I’m fortunate to be able to bring in very talented people who work for practically nothing to produce videos that I’m extremely proud of and that can stand up to any major artists' videos and do it on a shoe-string budget.  I would make music videos all day long if time and money would allow.  Every song I’ve written I have a music video in my head for.  If I could I would make all those videos because I feel that the visual is integral to the story of the song.   The world is multi-media.  It’s not limited.  So I want to tell the story in every way possible and use every sense that I can.”
Based on the fact that Haley has been putting out a steady stream of songs over the past two years, I wanted to know if he thinks he’ll ever run out of inspirations or lose touch with his muses.
CH:  “No.  The biggest inspiration I have is the experience of life.  When I look deeper into smaller independent artists, there is so much going on and new artists coming out every day.  I’m so encouraged by what I am seeing and hearing, really interesting new things.  For me songwriting is a way I manage my emotional state.  I’m so crazy and such a dramatic person.  I’ll never run out of material.  I’ll spend my whole life processing and trying to evolve as a person and be writing songs the whole time.”
Cassidy did two performances over the Labor Day Weekend to promote his Kickstarter project for “The Lovers”.  On September 2, with The Sunshine Rebels, he performed at The Mint.  On September 5th  he did a theatrical interpretation of the new single “Champagne or Suicide” in San Francisco.  September 12th is an acoustic show at Bar Lubitsch.
You can learn more about Cassidy at www.cassidyhaley.com, keep track of his upcoming performances at http://cassidyhaley.com/events/event/listUpcoming, and contribute to his Kickstarter at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cassidyhaley/the-lovers .  Listen to the music at http://cassidyhaley1.bandcamp.com/ then buy it at http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/cassidy-haley/id323191139
Cassidy Haley is also connected on all your favorite social networking options:

I owe Cassidy a big apology for not getting this posted in time to promote the 9/2 and 9/5 shows.  Life got in the way and then came Irene who knocked out my power for two days.  I hope anyone in the Los Angeles area that is available can make it to the 9/12 performance.  

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