Sun-soaked South Florida’s best kept secret is about to have its day in the national spotlight. His name is CASELY (Jean Carlos Casely), and at the tender age of 22 he has arrived to shatter all expectations of what makes an R&B superstar. After attending world-famous Berklee College of Music on full scholarship, this classically trained pianist is a singing-acting-dancing-songwriting quadruple threat who embodies what it means to be a child of the 80s - his influences range from Prince and Michael Jackson to Death Cab for Cutie and John Mayer, and it shows. On 1985, CASELY’s debut album for Epic Records, we find a brave new artist bringing it back while bridging a gap to the future.

It’s an album with unexpected twists and turns, glittery synthesizers, sumptuous melodic layer-cakes, and straight-up hot rhythms. Produced by Miami’s most in-demand studio masters The Diaz Brothers, 1985 is Casely’s bold first shot at the big-time. „I’ve made this album like I’m never going to get another chance,“ he says. „I’m doing it all leftfield, pushing the envelope.“

Why 1985? Besides being the year of Casely’s birth, it’s a year arguably celebrated for its musical ingenuity and genre-blending. Those born in that era are often prone to glorification, but with good reason. According to Casely, „1985 was the pinnacle of originality. It was in to be different. The 80s in general had a lot of melodically driven music. Big hooks, simple but effective lyrics, catchy phrases, all of the things that we need in good music today. But don’t get me wrong, 1985 is not an 80s album, it’s definitely an R&B album.“ Indeed.

If the best R&B is built around universal themes, around pulling the heartstrings that exist in all of us, then Casely plays us all like the pianist he is. 1985’s first single, „Emotional,“ is the perfect example: „It’s about not being able to focus on anything than that one girl who just walked into the room.“ And everything from Casely’s anxious, sing-songy vocals to the Mozart-style strings to the fat, neck-breaking beat give the listener the sensation that Casely „never should have let [her] go.“ The wildfire popularity of „Emotional“ in Miami has attracted the attention of fellow hot-as-hell Miami artist, Flo Rida. A scintillating, banging remix courtesy of Flo Rida is bound to fill dance floors and street corners nationwide.

In fact, Casely’s talent has not gone unnoticed by numerous media outlets nationwide. CNN’s „Sunday Morning“ discussed Casely’s song „Unsung Heroes,“ which was written as a dedication to Hurricane Katrina victims; Seventeen Magazine recently awarded Casely the Grand Prize for their „Way to Rock“ national talent search; MTV featured Casely at their 2004 Awards kick-off concert. He’s shared stages with heavyweights Ruben Studdard, Pitbull, Pretty Ricky, and Trick Daddy, and is just as comfortable under the lights at Orlando’s House of Blues as he is at NYC’s Supper Club.

Casely is a melting pot product, a Miami-born charmer, and the shining son of Trinidadian and Panamanian parents. His upbringing straddled class lines and color lines. Charming, effortlessly stylish, oozing with talent, and perpetually humming a sweet falsetto tune, Casely springs forth from a cultural heritage that „allowed me to just express myself without any restrictions. No handcuffs,“ he says.

„Most people don’t know this about me,“ he leans in, „but I’m a nerd.“

He’s not kidding. Casely learned how to express an emotional connection to his music from studying musical theater. He has played the lead roles in Jekyll & Hyde, Pippin, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and more, playing roles not traditionally played by actors of color. Ask him to show you his Broadway voice.

Musical theater also informed Casely’s dynamic live show - a forum for not only his girl-melting, but his electrifying dancing. And while he hasn’t been dancing as long as he’s been singing, his dancing is nothing short of spectacular. „When people saw Prince dance or Michael Jackson dance, it just came out of them naturally, it never looked like it was choreographed. I just want to develop my dancing by speaking through my body.“

It was at the Berklee College of Music in Boston where his eyes and ears grew widest. „It just refined who I am as a musician. It opened up my ears to a lot more genres. I got to hear gospel singers, alternative music, more jazz. All of those things play a part in who I am as an artist.“

With all this talk of classical training and musical dexterity, it’s easy to forget that Casely’s a video game-obsessed sneaker aficionado, barely out of college. However, the worst assumption anyone can make about Casely is that he’s anything but extraordinary.

Casely says it best: „I think now more than ever, people are scared to be creative and different. But it’s the people who step outside the box who are gonna win.“

Bearbeitet von kayceesc am 22. Feb. 2009, 19:46


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