"I'm working on a couple of different things. I'm constantly putting out singles of some of my original songs and some covers; there will be some more music videos down the line too but for now I'm chillin' and having a good day. I'm usually in L.A. but when COVID hit I was on tour so I decided to come back and hang out with my parents a bit here in Prescott, Arizona."
Casey Abrams keeps himself busy; this former top ten "American Idol" finalist is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, recording artist and activist of sorts who currently has released a new single on which he duets with 80's music icon Cyndi Lauper.
A native Texan, music has flowed through his veins seemingly from birth but it wasn't until his family moved to California where Casey's talents began to truly develop. Artistically encouraged by both parents, he began his journey in earnest at an arts academy where his father taught film production.
"I really got into jazz when I went to Idyllwild Art; Idyllwild is a town that's two hours east of L.A. that has this amazing art school,"he started with enthusiasm."The academics are from seven in the morning until noon and the rest of the day from one o'clock on you'd have art. So, my Mondays were science, math, geometry, have lunch and then film scoring, jazz combo and jazz theory. I mean this was high school, at 15 I started playing upright bass and joined the jazz class. Then from there I learned all of the bass lines and a little piano because there were three other bass players and no piano players. So, it was kind of a blessing that I learned all of these instruments; I'd sneak into the room and play the drum set too just for fun. It was fun, it was really fun times and I learned from a really cool guy named Marshall Hawkin who was Miles Davis's friend and he would tour with him and a lot of other cool people too as well."
Abrams parlayed these talents into a stint on"American Idol,"a successful solo career and involvement with other projects; once again built off of his time at Idyllwild.
"It was season ten of "American Idol" in 2011," he said proudly. "It's very cool because coming up is our tenth anniversary and I actually have something fun planned; a nice little reunion kind of thing that I've been working on that will come out next year for the tenth anniversary of "American Idol" for me and all of my contestant friends who were on it and in the top eleven."
The other"Project?" He is a regular performer/player with Postmodern Jukebox.
"Oddly enough, it was one of the people that I went to school with, the saxophone player Jacob Scesney and he was playing a show with them in L.A. and just said, "Hey, you should come by, just jam and meet this guy named Scott; they do jazzy versions of modern-day hits," he said as he relayed the details of how he became involved with the contemporary troupe, "So, I called Scott and he said, "Yeah, just come by" and as I was driving to the venue talking with him, I said; what song shall we do tonight? He said, "Just name any hit song you hear on the radio" and I remember saying, Sam Smith is doing pretty well and he said, "OK then let's do a Sam Smith song;" so we did a Sam Smith song "I'm Not the Only One" in a jazz fashion. We practiced maybe once before the show, then the show happened and then we did a video about two weeks after that and then I did more and more and I'd go to their weekly things. Then even when they stopped doing shows in L.A. which were kind of like these speakeasy things, I went on tour with them. I remember my first tour; we went to Europe. We went to places that I'd never been before; Germany, Ireland, England, Amsterdam, a lot of really cool places. I'm still with these guys and still see Scott once and a while; I really miss touring with them."
Not touring has not deterred Abrams, as a matter of fact; he's busier than ever. His latest effort sees him teaming up Cyndi Lauper on a cover song called, "Eve of Destruction;" something he feels needed to be done given our current world climate.
"Eve of Destruction" I heard when I was a little kid because my mom loved the song and would play the protest songs; she would play Bob Dylan and basically all of Woodstock. Then me and my record label dude, we were just talking and I just brought it up; it's kind of the eve of destruction right now; it was right when COVID was hitting. I had just stopped my tour because things were shutting down in New York because COVID hit, so we got together and recorded it back in March. Then we were like; ya' know what? Let's put new lyrics on, so we changed a couple of lyrics on it. We changed the ocean in it to Rio Grande, "All of the senators are passing legislation," we changed to "None of the senators are passing legislation," we changed a couple of words here and there. We even put the pandemic in there and kind of updated some of the lyrics but the whole thing is about; we're in the eve of destruction and you'd be crazy if you didn't see that. We were trying to make it important for people to vote because we want them to say how they feel because we felt it was the best way to communicate with our government. So, we started to get together every month and then we were like, well, maybe we can hit up Cyndi Lauper and my label guy said, "Maybe; I think I know some of her people" and then we were about to release it and he hit me up and sent me this thing titled, "Casey Abrams featuring Cyndi Lauper" and I thought; oh my God did she sing on it? Then I heard her voice on it and thought, that's perfect. My childhood Casey would be going crazy right now and so was adult Casey (laughs). We both basically have kind of unique voices and sometimes, for lack of a better term, we're not smooth singers. We're very rough and nitty gritty and we get down to the bluesy-ness. I don't think I've ever been compared to her but I've always wanted to duet; I would duet with myself to "Time After Time" and think, well me and Cyndi would sound good but it was literally almost like a freak accident. They said, "How would you feel if Cyndi was on it?" and I said, do it, just do it; how do we make this possible? I'm supposed to get on a call with her soon; I've not talked to her yet, that's the nature of the business but we are setting up a call real soon."
"We did have a video for it also but I don't think it got out in time; to be honest I'm not too sure what happened but I think the parent company did not like it; why I'm not too sure. I will definitely do a cover of it at some point especially during these election times; I'll post a little video to hype up the song and try and give a voice to what's going on right now."
So, what message is it that Casey is trying to relay to the masses with this tune and where does he go from here?
"I think that everyone should just love on each other; it's really hard to mess that up but I see it happening all the time. I think that in the past year, maybe even two; I'm passionate about getting you out to vote no matter what it is you believe in but don't get too involved to where you stress yourself out. What I like to do, I don't know if it's that controversial; is turn off the TV once in a while; ya' know? It's good to take every bit of news you hear with a grain of salt; it's a big thing these elections and I think it's almost like a football game, you get into that mentality rather than actually caring about what is actually going on in the world. You fight for your specific candidate and it's literally like going to a sports function and just rooting for something. So, take every bit of information with a grain of salt, there are multiple news sources and even if you see something that is crazy don't get too worried. I'm very lucky that I have my music and my voice to say how I feel and a lot of people don't have that but that's what voting can do. Another thing that I encourage people to do; they'll say, "Oh I'm not the best singer" or "I'm not good, I haven't studied;"I'm not the best music reader but I still sing my ass off and I have a great time doing it. Part of it is getting how you feel out; right? It makes me a happier person so that's why I love it. I just love seeing people express themselves through art or dance, I think that's why art is really important, we can say how we feel."
"I have two full albums, a couple of EPs and a whole live album as well that I did live in L.A. but for the past couple of months I've been putting out singles. I was trying to do something every week but that's down to once a month; I'll put out a music video and it's fun, it keeps up the brain muscle and shows people that I'm still working on things."
To discover more about Casey Abrams, the single, Postmodern Jukebox and more; please visit www.caseybassy.com .
That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!