Ryan Cassata is a singer-songwriter, transgender activist, writer, and actor living in Los Angeles. Originally from Long Island, the young artist was bullied in middle school, which led to finding a local LGBTQ center.
"I started my activist work there. I decided to fight back with education instead of with violence or harsh words. I gave my first speech at age 13."- Ryan Cassata.
While Ryan Cassata's middle school years were a time of uncertainty due to being bullied, the now thriving artist is taking on the world in an unapologetic way! Along with being a singer- songwriter, actor, and writer, Cassata works diligently to support the LGBTQ community and be a proud transgender activist. Our team was excited about this interview because we encourage activism that can change the world. Cassata's music and activism taught us to value both our time and our energy, as this is how we learn from others and how the world can be more positive.
Check out the interview below.
What inspired you to start your musician career?
I've always been drawn to music. I started lessons at six years old. At 12 years old, I had a guitar teacher named Lou, who passed soon after, but he told me, "is music going to be your hobby or passion?" I realized that music is what I am passionate about and decided to pursue it on a professional level. I started to have a professional record. I started releasing CD's while I was in High School. I also started to play many venues around Long Island and then began to get calls to speak and perform outside of New York State.
What are some of the pro's and con's of your industry?
The cons are that it is very competitive, and it's hard to move up, especially as a trans person. The pros are that I get to meet awesome people I can collaborate with or play music with. It's been a really fun and exciting journey so far.
What makes what you do differently from your competitors?
I write a lot of songs all of the time. I am trans and out and proud. I make music in many genres. I am passionate about education and activism and fuse that into my music and live shows.
If you had to describe your songs in one word, what would it be?
I write from the heart and I wear my heart on my sleeve. I am unafraid when it comes to expressing myself through my lyrics and music.
Are you inspired by anyone?
I'm very inspired by lots of people. I love Bruce Springsteen for his songwriting and stage presence; I love Justin Bieber for how strong he is and his vocal skills. I love Macklemore because he's public in the recovery community and talks openly about sobriety.
What has been your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishment, career-wise, is that I won the Sunlight of the Spirit Award from the ASCAP Foundation and performed at Jazz and Lincoln Center. My greatest accomplishment in life is hearing that my music has helped others to have hope and to have the courage to be themselves.
If you could change the world, what would you change?
I just want peace and love. I want people to be kind to one another. To realize we are all here to support each other, love each other, be kind to one another, to celebrate one another.
Are you involved in any philanthropic work?
I work with different LGBTQ centers and orgs to raise money for LGBTQ services, especially for youth. I also work with the Fashion Foundation to raise money for school supplies for NYC schools.