We had the good fortune of connecting with Casey Astorino and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Casey, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I started writing music when I was very young, but until I decided to study music in college, it was always something I did for myself. Writing music was my escape from reality – it was what I did when the world felt like too much.
The type of art that inspires me has an intangible allure, as though it brings forth an unseen force of nature. A painting that catches your eye with such intensity that you can’t look away, a dancer who is so graceful and fluid that their movements seem supernatural, a film that draws an audience completely into its imagined reality, a piece of music that fills the air and feeds your soul, bringing about inexplicable physical sensations. Those feelings are what I live for. There is nothing more beautiful in the world to me than the spiritual realm that art can live in, and that realm is where I go when I write music.
I think that everyone is born with gifts, and that your purpose in life is to share those gifts in some way. I make music because I want to share what I value most in this world: the feeling of knowing that there is more to this world than meets the eye.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
One of the things that makes me stand out as an artist is that I’ve done my best to learn to do almost everything myself. I write the music, I produce and arrange it, I make my own album art, I do all of my marketing and management, and I book all of my shows. I used to think that the right people would find me and help me get started, but eventually I realized that the only person I can 100% count on is myself.
At this point in my artistic career, I am most proud of my debut album, “Between the Mirror”. I started writing it when my bipolar disorder became prevalent in 2015, and it took me five years of hard work to finish it. I wanted to tell the story of what it’s like to live with mental illness, and I wrote countless songs that could have gone on the album. But I’m also a perfectionist when it comes to production, and over those five years, I improved tremendously as a producer. So only the songs that I considered my best work made the final cut of the album.
I am proud of the album because now that it is finished, I feel like I can start a new chapter of my life. My battle with mental illness is part of my story, but it certainly is not the whole story. So I’m really excited to be working on new material with different subject matter.
I hope that realization is one of the main takeaways for my listeners. If you struggle with mental health, while the experience of it won’t necessarily get better, it is possible to get better at living with it. Every challenge we face is temporary, and I think that remembering that everything eventually passes is key to getting through the difficult times.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
One of the best parts of being in LA for me is the density of artists. You can go out and see live music whenever you want to. Having played venues around the city for years, I’ve learned a lot about where to see up and coming artists. To name a few favorites: The Resident, The Peppermint Club, The Satellite, Harvelle’s, The Echo.
Outside of music, I have a special place in my heart for USC’s campus having been a student there. I also love that the beach is so accessible, and that there are a ton of local places to go camping, like Joshua Tree and the Angeles Forest. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I definitely want to dedicate my shoutout to my family. It’s very easy to get discouraged as an artist because so much about the success of your career is unquantifiable. There’s no path or roadmap that guarantees you success. You just have to trust yourself and keep pushing yourself.
When I feel discouraged, I can always count on my family to believe in me and support me. It’s thanks to their encouragement that I’ve come as far as I have.
Bilal Akhtar Conner Coughenour