Ryan Cassata Interview: SHINE

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International singer/songwriter and proud Transgender activist, Ryan Cassata has just released his 4th full length album “Shine.” Here’s some questions that I have asked Ryan about his new music and what’s behind it.

RTP: Two of your songs on this album have more of a hip hop/rap feel to them, what made you go into this direction?

RC: “I wrote Check Engine on my guitar. I just randomly started rapping over what I was playing and I recorded it and thought “well, this isn’t a bad idea for a song.” Then I decided, why not do up this track and put it on an album? I showed it to my producer, Barb Morrison, and the rest is history. Barb loved the track and we decided to produce the song in a hip hop fashion and put it on the album. “

RTP: For someone that has never heard your music before describe “Shine”
in three words.

RC: “It’s for everyone.”

RTP: What is the meaning behind your song “Don’t Count Me Out?”

RC: “I wrote “Don’t Count Me Out” about a boy that I grew attracted to. We shared some romance but the distance sort of got in the way. I wanted to tell him that I liked him regardless of the distance and that he shouldn’t count me out of a relationship with him.”

RTP: You already did a music video for your song off the album “Bedroom Eyes,” if you were to pick another song off the album to do a video
which  one would it be and why?

RC: “I want to do a music video for “We’re The Cool Kids” and highlight all different types of young people in it. I think it would be a cool way to show that even though we are all different, we are all the same too. “

RTP: What made you decide to name the album “Shine?”

RC: “I named the album Shine because we say “Shine” a lot in a couple of the songs, “Shine On” and “Hot Springs, Arkansas.” It’s a theme of the album.”

– By Mr. Brightside

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Gentle Ben & The Rising Tide

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RTP: What’s your full artist name and where can we find your music?

GB: Gentle Ben & The Rising Tide ~ gentlebenmusic.com

RTP: You’re part of the transgender community, right? How much of your music reflects that? 

Yeah, I began transitioning in 2012, and I’d say that most of the music I’ve written since then reflects an aspect of that journey to some degree. Writing has been a really awesome way for me to process and share my experiences, hopefully into something that is relatable to all kinds of people, not just those of us in the transgender community. At the same time, I hope that my music resonates with people struggling to come to terms with their identity and helps them through that.

RTP: Are there other artists in the transgender community that inspire you? Who are they? 

GB: I feel inspired by my community in general because it takes a lot of guts to live your truth. I started my transition listening to a lot of Joe Stevens, Ryan Cassata, and Skylar Kergil. Those guys, in a way, gave me permission to exist, because I saw myself in their experiences and was able to recognize myself in their art.

RTP: What’s your favorite song on your album? Why? 

GB: My favorite song off of my new album is ‘For My Family’. I guess it’s my favorite because I really love my family and despite all the crazy things we’ve been through I wanted them to know that I’m alright and I’m grateful for all of it.

RTP: What are you hoping to achieve by releasing this album? 

GB: I wrote the songs on ‘Worth The Weight’ to help me through my darkest days. I was basically singing myself into believing that everything was gonna be okay. So I’m releasing this album with the hopes that it might do that for somebody else.

RTP: Is there anything else you want to tell us about this album? 
GB: I had quite a few talented folks playing on this project with me, so if you like what you hear I encourage you to check out all of the music that my friends are making too. Shout-out to Joe Stevens, River Glen Band, and Alex Andrews for making me sound so great.
 

Interview with Copenhagen’s Jonas Rose

Jonas Rose is a singer-songwriter based in Copenhagen, Denmark. He plays most instruments and can also sing beautifully. He believes that he is most strong as a bass player. His songwriting must not fall far behind then. When Jonas plays a solo concert he plays acoustic guitar and sings. He brings effects pedals to create an ambient and airy sound. Rose says that he mostly writes love songs. Sæt dig” is the story of a distant lover. Jonas describes this song as a “plea.” He transcribes the Danish lyrics to “…sit down and spend a moment with me…”. Although American listeners may experience a language barrier, the emotions transcribe perfectly. You can feel the story through Rose’s soft vocals and soothing guitar strums.  

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Kys mig hvis du tør” is a pop song about a boy “being in love with a Muslim guy” and “how being gay is kind of prohibited, but they don’t care.” Jonas says the song means “Kiss me if you dare.” This is the song that feels more “in your face” and less ambient.

Our favorite track is “Den Tynde Hud.” When asking “What is this song about?” Jonas answered “Hm…Good question!” After thinking for a moment he confesses: “…it’s about having been hurt and now lying at home unable to sleep, unable to go out because you’re too scared and unable to call the person you want with you the most, because that’s the person who hurt you.”

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We highly recommend that you give this incredible indie artist a listen. You will be blown away by his harmonies and excellent guitar playing.
Below Jonas Rose covers “Without You” by David Guetta feat. Usher.

Keep up with his music: https://soundcloud.com/rosadk
Youtube: YouTube.com/jonasrosehoeg

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Skylar Kergil: Youtube Activist & Singer-Songwriter

Today we were lucky to interview the talented Skylar Kergil. Sky is a folk-singer from Boston, Mass and is making music as well as youtube videos. On Youtube Skylar goes by “skylarkeleven” and has an impressive amount of followers. He blogs about his transition from female-to-male and occasionally performs for the camera. In his most recent video, he announced his upcoming EP release and performed a song called “12 Steps!” We hope you enjoy the interview with Skylar Kergil!   



RTP: We notice that you are getting quite some heat around your music and your activism. Would you like to share about your DIY process? How did you get to where you are now? 

Skylar Kergil: Absolutely! When I originally began creating, it was with my body. As I transitioned socially and medically from female to male in 2009, I documented my voice changing on YouTube. Soon after, I somehow had an audience curious about my transition and so I embraced them, bringing them along the way. Because of the intense and beautiful community that created, when I began putting my music, poetry, paintings out there, I had a ton of support to keep up with my art and expressions. I crowdfunded my first album on Kickstarter, launching basement-recorded-and-mastered CDs and shirts and all sorts of lovely material things I had made out into the world! These days, when I have an idea or a project I want to bring to fruition, I always try to do it myself or with the help of friends.

 
RTP: When did you start writing songs and when did you start performing? 

SK: I first started writing music when I was thirteen, around 2004. I played my first gigs in high school, around fourteen, fifteen years old. I’m twenty-three now, so a while! 

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RTP: About how long does it take you to write one song? 

SK: Depends on the song of course; some will take me literally months to finalize because they need time to ferment or whatnot, but others I have had in my head and then just write out in a few hours, like “Take Me With You.”

RTP: How do you make your t-shirts? Do you make them yourself or are they made in a factory? 

SK: I make my shirts through customink, which is a US based company. Currently though, I’m talking with a friend across the country who recently expanded his DIY clothing company and we’re working on having him produce my next shirts!

RTP: What are your top musical influences? 

SK: Bob Dylan, Jack Johnson, Conor Oberst, Ani DiFranco, Listener and the Oh Hellos.

RTP: What advice would you give to a young singer-songwriter who wants to be where you are now? 

SK: Keep writing, play every day! Playing small shows, performing in front of friends, every experience counts. There are lots of amazing musicians out there too; they aren’t competition by any means, but your peers and potential future friends to collaborate on amazing music with. I was told by a judge at a Battle of the Bands gig to “stop playing music now” right at the beginning of me taking music seriously. Never listen to those folks, listen to your heart because folks want to listen to that too. 

 
RTP: Where can we find your music? 

SK: My full albums are at http://skylarkergil.bandcamp.com
Newer things/singles are at https://soundcloud.com/skylar-kergil

Listen on Soundcloud: 
Take Me With You – Skylar Kergil

 

Inside Karen Dezelle

KAREN DEZELLE is a Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter that we absolutely adore! Here’s the inside scoop of Dezelle’s experience in the Los Angeles music scene and as an indie-artist who has moved from city to city. You can catch Karen Dezelle live at the Hotel Utah on Friday, August 22nd in San Francisco.
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RTP: What age did you first get into music and what age are you now? 
KD: I was very young when I first got into music. I was one of those toddlers who would just stop and stare at musicians. I was transfixed by it and I just knew I wanted to be a part of that magic. I have one vivid memory of playing a toy piano in our back yard when we were still in Texas and my mom picking up on the fact that I was in a different place when I was doing that and asking if I wanted to take piano lessons. That was when it all started. The singing started as soon as I was talking, and they couldn’t get me to stop. I’d get in trouble for it in school all the time. The performing started when we were in Trinidad around 13, and I think I first picked up a guitar around that time too. 
 
RTP: What is your most favorite music venue that you have performed at and why? 
KD: I love the Witzend and the Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles because of the intimacy of the venues and the acoustics of the rooms. I have very happy memories at both places too. The Witzend is the first venue I played in LA and the artists I have met backstage there tend to be really wonderful- supportive and warm. I remember one singer telling me before I went on, “OK Karen remember they are on your side.” We had met like 5 minutes before but there was just an instant understanding and something about that venue and the artists that play there, I feel like everyone is family immediately. Also some of the pubs I played at in college in London – Crossroads and the Ain’t Nothin’ But Blues Bar, just because of the memories and who was there. 
 
RTP: We notice that you have moved around quite a bit. Did your career take off when you got to Los Angeles or in a different place? 
KD: A lot of the writing and composing were done before I moved here in San Francisco and London. The recording, performing, everything else involved definitely took off more in Los Angeles.  I have to try to create the space here to write because this city is buzzing all the time and there’s so much going on, it’s hard to slow down. I’ve had to make a conscious effort to hide out and just write. The Songwriting School of Los Angeles has been a great place for me to do that, the teachers and students there help me catch that calm so I can return to the writing, which is the part I really love. 
 
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RTP: How would you describe the Los Angeles music scene for a singer-songwriter trying to make it in the industry? 
KD: It’s actually pretty wonderful. I have been pleasantly surprised  by how collaborative and supportive the other artists I have met here have been. A lot of my friends here are musicians and we are always writing together, going to each others’ shows, just having dinner parties and jamming. We keep each other grounded and inspired. Los Angeles is an interesting place, and a lot of it has to do with who you chose to work with, but one thing I love about it is that it tends to attract people with big dreams who have the courage to pursue them and I think when you are open to it, people really want to help you. 
 
RTP: What is your biggest dream as an artist? 
KD: To write the best songs I can, as much as I can, with the hope that people are moved by them and feel more connected to themselves and to each other as a result of hearing them. 
 
RTP: What advice would you pass on to other indie artists? 
KD: My advice would be to stay connected to the original reason you wanted to make music in the first place and let that be your compass to guide you through the wilderness.  And stay connected to others – everyone has something to teach you and there are stories, building blocks for your art, everywhere. 
Upcoming Tour Date:
August 22nd, 2014 @ The Hotel Utah in San Francisco, CA

Keep up with Karen Dezelle here: http://karendezelle.com/home

NED Records: A Collective with New Releases Every wedNEsDay

NED Records is a collaborative music collective based out of Bowling Green, KY.

RTP: Who is in the bands line-up?

NED Records: We’re not so much a band as a group of solo artists who write songs with each other and play on the recordings of those songs. We all write, separately and together.

Rick Korte – facebook.com/RickKorteMusic – guitar, bass, percussion, drums, production
Rick is our resident guitar god. His sound is a primarily acoustic blend of influences ranging from Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, and Eddie Van Halen to Tommy Emmanuel and Andy McKee. He has released 2 albums so far, Leaves…(2010) and Where I Am (2011), and is currently working on his third album, Invisible Influences.

Asher Austin – facebook.com/AsherAustinMusic – vocals, guitar, bass
Asher is the outstanding singer of the group. Our latest wNEDesday release is his cover of Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida”. An incredible pop-rock vocalist, he is currently working on a debut album Crumble that draws from such wide ranging influences as Coldplay, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks, Nirvana, and the Counting Crows. Think Savage Garden meets 3 Doors Down. His first single, “When It’s Raining”, can be heard here: http://asheraustinmusic.com/track/when-its-raining

St. James the Lonely – facebook.com/StJamesTheLonely – vocals, guitar, drums, synths, production
St James the Lonely is an man of mystery, preferring to allow his music to do the talking. Inspired by Nine Inch Nails, The Weeknd, Bill Withers, and an adolescence filled with classic rock like AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynrd, and Led Zeppelin, he’s managed to carve out a funky Industrial R(ock)&B sound all his own. An as-yet-untitled EP is in the works.

DJ Blak Yak – philosophy, production, live DJ
DJ Blak Yak prefers to listen to contemporary, gritty hip-hop such as Kanye West’s Yeezus or A$AP Ferg but he’ll spin whatever. When not producing his own wacked-out, trapped-out, soon-to-be-released bangers, he enjoys providing comic relief to everyday life.

Cash Wilson – facebook.com/CashWilsonMusic – vocals, guitar, bass, keys, drums, production
I’m a huge Prince fan and, as a result, kind of uncomfortable being confined by genre. I prefer to pick, choose, and blend. When asked, I described the sound of my last project (Far Enough III: The Regret) as a jam session featuring D’angelo, Steve Earle, and Peter Gabriel. I’ve released three EPs (Far Enough, Far Enough II: Detour & Far Enough III: The Regret) all for free download on CashWilsonMusic.com. My upcoming project, upLATE, is shaping up to sound like a combination of Far Enough II and III and the soundtrack to the Ten Commandments.

RTP: What genre do you consider your music?

NED: As a group, our music is obviously varied but I think there’s a common ground of what I’ll call Southern Pop. A blend of R&B, rock, and a slight twang from the mid-90’s country of our youth have all settled into an appreciation for individual musical identities spiced generously with great hooks above all.

RTP: You release music every Wednesday. What inspired this weekly release?

NED: While working on all of the above mentioned projects, we realized we had an abundance of music we loved that didn’t quite fit the overarching concept of those projects. Taking a cue from Kanye West and G.O.O.D. Music, we decided to share a little bit at a time. We picked wNEDesdays kind of randomly. The (bad) pun was just a happy accident.

RTP: When did you project start?

NED: We released our first wNEDesday single “Hush (It’s Over)” on September 11th, 2013. We plan on continuing until we can’t anymore.

Check out the NED Records Collective here: https://soundcloud.com/cashwilson/sets/new-music-wnedesdays

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