Fourteen year-old Caleb Cascio has been working hard at his craft as a songwriter – alongside a plethora of other impressive endeavours that have kept him busy in recent months.
We caught an interview following the release of the brand new single On Mars. Here’s how it went.
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Hi Caleb – thanks for the chat! Congrats on the new single. How did you come up with the concept for On Mars?
I’ve always been interested in anything related to outer space and NASA missions. So, when I started my song-writing journey, I knew I should write about a subject I am so passionate about to make it fun and easy to write lyrics for.
I wanted to write about a planet, and my favorite planet is Mars, especially with all of the exciting Mars missions coming up in the next 10 years, I was really pumped to write about it. I’ve always wondered what it would be like up there, what it would look like, and what it would sound like. That helped me figure out my story about playing my guitar up there, wondering what it would sound like. I have dreams of working for NASA and being a part of these missions some day.
There’s a nice fusion of youthful freedom and poetic folk-pop on this single, who or what would you say inspires you to create in this kind of way?
Taylor Swift was definitely my first inspiration! When I was eight years old, I heard her CD for the first time, and her song, Stay Stay Stay, instantly sparked my interest in music. I walked around the house, dragging my dad’s old guitar, strumming the broken strings and singing her songs at the top of my voice. My parents thought my voice sounded good, so they got me my first guitar for my 9th birthday, and I have been playing and singing ever since! The first song I learned was Stay Stay Stay and I now play it on three different instruments!
How long have you been playing guitar, and do you play or aspire to play any other instruments?
I have been playing the guitar for 6 years now. My first instrument was the acoustic guitar, and I played cover songs by Taylor Swift and Shawn Mendes mostly. Soon after this, I started playing other string instruments such as the ukulele and the mandolin. Last year, I got my first electric guitar because I was the lead singer and guitarist in the All You Got Junior Tour band throughout the summer.
Recently, since starting high school, I’ve decided to learn percussion instruments and will begin Keyboard and piano next semester. My dad is going to teach me the bass, so I can use many different instruments in future original songs. My high school has a Composition and Arrangement Class, which has been an awesome experience so far, to help with songwriting projects.
And lastly, I have been working with a small choral choir a capella, so I am learning how to harmonize. There is so much to learn and I am so excited to try it all, and to learn as much as possible.
Which would you say is your greater passion – golf or song-writing? And why?
Wow, that is a tough question, but I think it’s possible to have two passions. I truly love both golf and song-writing, and it’s been great to see huge improvements in both over this past year.
Golf is an amazing game, where your only opponent is yourself out there. I love being out on a course, with a score in my mind, and working hard to reach that score, no matter how much hard work it takes.
Song-writing is definitely a passion and always will be. Now that I’ve had my first single release, it’s made me want to write more and more. I’ve enjoyed watching the reactions of my friends and families, as well as total strangers who have heard me sing for the first time. It feels amazing to hear people singing my song along with me, and to tell me they listen to it every day. A couple of my teammates on my golf team were listening to it on the course when they were having a tough day, in hopes it would relax them and improve their day! What an awesome feeling. It has encouraged me to work extra hard to prepare for the release of my next song in the upcoming months.
How do you balance a busy school-life with making such professional music and competing as a golfer?
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned this past year is time management skills. I even took a class over the summer to help prepare me for a busy lifestyle once high school began. I use a planner every single day, and I check it frequently throughout the day. In fact, I have two planners. One is for my academics, and the other is for my activities, such as golf and music programs. I make a very detailed schedule, which allows me to do everything at certain times.
Because I am so busy, I try to get my homework done in school during every possible moment, so I can focus on my music when I get home. Academics are incredibly important to me, so that comes first. Golf is every day after school, and I sometimes golf on Sunday mornings. As soon as golf ends, I eat and start working on music. I put specific musical tasks in my planner every day, so I do not get overwhelmed, and this helps a ton.
Given the many music classes I am taking, in addition to all of my other academic classes, I have to write specific music goals for each two-hour session of the day. It’s my happy time! Typically, I end the night on a call with some friends and they love to listen to me play and sing, so I show them what I’m working on. Honestly, being busy helps keep me on task.
What’s your greatest ambition as an artist?
My greatest ambition is to have at least two or three albums recorded. The entire recording process is unbelievable, and I can’t wait to do more and more of it. It has always been my dream to be a pop artist, recording songs and performing for live crowds. Performing is incredible, it’s the best feeling to be on a stage, singing in front of people, making them smile. Someday, I would love to hear one of my songs on a radio station! That would be amazing. I plan to keep writing songs, and who knows, maybe one of my songs will do really well, and this will happen!
Is there a longer project on the way?
Yes, there is! I’m getting ready to record another original song called, You’re Not Alone. My hope is to be in studio in the next one to two months. I actually wrote this song during the Quarantine for my 8th grade class. The year, 2020, has been really rough for so many people, and I thought writing about it would help myself and my friends.
We were supposed to graduate from my elementary/middle school, St. Michael’s, this past year. There were so many fun things planned for our class to send us off to high school, and everything was cancelled. We were really disappointed. I know it doesn’t seem like a huge deal as compared to other people’s suffering, but it was a lot for a bunch of fourteen year old kids to go through. So, I wrote this song for them, and sang it virtually to all of them. Since singing it with just my acoustic, I have added more instruments and harmonies, which I’m really excited about.
After this song, I will move on to another song, faster paced, called Life is Like a Rollercoaster. These will be the first three songs on my first album, with many more to come! It’s going to be a fun year!
Is there anything else we should know?
I love to sing in competitions, in live shows, virtually, in groups and alone. Music has opened my eyes and given me experiences that I would never have dreamed of. I’ve met amazing musicians and producers and have fallen in love with the music industry.
Thank you so much for this opportunity!
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A big thank you to you too, Caleb!
Check out Caleb Cascio on Instagram.