Guitar player, songwriter and singer…it is safe to say Casey James can do it all. While his name may have become well known after gracing the “American Idol” stage, music definitely didn’t start there for this Texas native who has been making music for over a decade. In 2012 one of Casey’s dreams came true and he released his self-titled debut album that includes the popular “Let’s Don’t Call It a Night” and “Crying On a Suitcase.” Right now Casey is in the midst of opening up for Taylor Swift on her RED Tour where he gets to play in front of thousands of excited fans and show them what he’s got! Recently CMTT was lucky enough to talk with Casey. He told us about being on the RED Tour, how he started playing guitar, if there might be new music in the works and he even answered some fan questions!
CMTT: You are currently on Taylor Swift’s huge RED Tour. What went through your mind when you got the call about that?
Casey James: The very first thing was the thought that my manager was messing with me and that he was joking! I was just riding in the car to a gig and he told me he had some really good news for me. I asked him what it was and he told me that we had the RED Tour if we want it and I laughed and said, ‘Yeah, that’s funny!’ He told me he was serious and I was in disbelief at first. Once I realized it was for real I was extremely excited and I have been that way ever since.
CMTT: What has it been like playing to that big of an audience?
Casey James: It is not just the size of the audience, but more the fact that they are just super excited! It is by far the most excited crowd I have ever seen. They are obviously there to see Taylor, but when the lights go down at 6:55 when I start to go on, people go nuts! They are just excited for the show to start. I am so lucky to be a part of it. The crowd has been extremely responsive to us. It is really just a huge blessing to be in front of that crowd.
CMTT:Have you had to change things up a little for a tour like this?
Casey James: We definitely have had to change things up. I had tried to stay out of opening slots simply because I wanted to play longer shows so I could continue to get better, and to become a better performer. I felt this tour was a really great opportunity though. So since we are used to playing for at least an hour and a half and now we have twenty minutes we had to make some changes. You have to really learn to be aware of not only what you’re doing, but also how you’re doing it. I had to think about how many seconds does it take to thank somebody, how long does this lead take…we spent days and days running the set and trying to figure out what goes here and what goes there. We finally got the set down to the appropriate length with everything I wanted to say and do. In a big way we have had to change, but I think it is a really great thing. We are continually learning and evolving which is what I think you should do as an artist.
CMTT: It has got to be so fun to play your music for a new crowd and gain new fans along the way!
Casey James: It is and I really hope we are. It is hard to gage, but usually you can just tell by a feeling that you get from the crowd and so far it has been great. It is the biggest blessing to be in front of a crowd that may not know who you are and then you get a chance to say, ‘Hey this is who I am!’ When I am playing my own shows, people know me and probably have my album, on the Taylor tour they are there to see Taylor Swift, and they don’t know who I am yet and I get to show them and that is a beautiful thing!
CMTT: You have some pretty impressive guitar skills. What came first…singing or guitar playing?+
Casey James: Well I think kind of like everybody, I have always sung…I think it is something we do naturally. Not everybody is GREAT at it. I don’t think that I am GREAT at it, but we all do it. So I would have to say I sang before I played guitar, but I was never really serious about being a singer. It wasn’t something I was really aspiring to be, I just loved doing it. I then decided it would be cool to be able to accompany myself with an instrument. The guitar sounded nice and looked fun and when I picked it up it just came naturally and was something I really loved to do. If I had to consider myself one thing or the other I would say guitar player, but I think most guitar players would say that.
CMTT: Over here at CMTT we are anxious for some new music. Do you have any in the works?
Casey James: I am anxious for new music too! Yes! I am actually working as we speak…I have been writing, and listening to songs that are being pitched to me that I really really love. I have been kind of quiet about it, but I have been working on it for a while. It is now to the point where I am scheduling days to go into the studio to do some work. The process has been started. For me to have new music out means I get to adjust my live shows to reflect that. It is great to play music that you love, but after while if you aren’t mixing in new stuff the set can become stale and we haven’t allowed it to do that. We adjust things and switch songs out to keep it fresh for the fans and ourselves. To have new music is just going to be a brand new world for us. It also helps us step up as musicians.
CMTT: Have you been trying any of the new songs out live?
Casey James: Not for the RED Tour. We have twenty minutes and we do five songs and I chose to do all songs off my first record, I just felt that worked best. For my own shows I have been adding in songs that will be on the album, or may be on the album, for quite awhile. I have got a lot of great feedback from the fans on those.
CMTT: When you made your first album you took your time. You didn’t just want to leave “American Idol” and rush to put out music. Are you glad that you made that decision and what went into you making that choice?
Casey James: Absolutely…Yes! I wouldn’t change a thing. I was out making music 11 years before “American Idol,” but when people hear you are from a T.V. show sometimes that all goes away. There is nothing wrong with that; it just tends to give a different description of who I am. I want people to definitely understand that I feel extremely grateful to “American Idol” and I love all the people at the show. I hadn’t watched the show before I auditioned. I was just there because I was a fan of what the show could potentially do for me. I think everyone there knew that and respected it. I wanted to have a career as an artist and I wanted to stick around. Making an album in the way that I did it goes along with that. I wanted to make sure I got it right as an artist. It was my opportunity after years and years of striving to make a record that could be sold across the world and I didn’t want to just pop it out. It was about getting good music out there to the people and using the gifts I had been given and the opportunity I had.
I have to say Casey James has some AMAZING FANS! I asked if anyone had any fan questions for him on Twitter and my phone blew up. A lot of you wanted to know about the RED tour and I covered that a bit in the interview. We had a few minutes extra so Casey was nice enough to answer a couple of other fan questions!
Fan Question: Would you ever consider going old school and putting your second album out on vinyl?|
Casey James: Oh absolutely! I am a BIG fan of vinyl! There is an actual difference in the sound of the music. I have three record players in my house and that is usually what I listen to if I am just really truly listening to music.
Fan Question: Do you have any interest or would you ever consider starting your own guitar line?
Casey James: Actually I used design guitars when I was a kid. It might be something that I would look in to. However I don’t really know enough about it, but it would be something I might be interested in. That would be a long way in the future!
When talking to Casey it is extremely obvious that he loves and respects the music. It will be exciting to see what his next album holds. Until then, if you don’t already have his self-titled debut album head over to iTunes and check it out. Also visit www.caseyjamesofficial.com to find out where you can catch Casey on the road.
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