Ryan Cassata’s highlights queer love, personally and professionally, with Bamboo Plants
By: Chris Gilmore/TRT Reporter—
After the success of his 2018 release music video “Daughter” which has gained 300,000 streams on Spotify and an astonishing 517,000 views on YouTube, LGBTQ indie artist Ryan Cassata is at it again. Cassata’s songs have a collective meaning, focusing on the empowerment of others. The star offers hope to the community again, creating what he calls a “new queer song and music video for people who could use seeing positive representation of queer love.
“Bamboo Plants” is born out of that need to represent and amplify queer romance and love. The piece debuts on August 23 on all streaming platforms (and we’ll share that link with you on Aug. 23 via this publication). The video chronicles the meeting of a couple that moves in quickly together after having a love-at-first-sight experience. The song serves as a teaser to Cassata’s upcoming LP that will release in 2020.
Cassata co-wrote “Bamboo Plants” with his girlfriend, a couple of weeks into knowing her. “My life completely transformed as I fell in love rather quickly,” he shared of the lyrics the duo wrote. “The song is about that immense love, and feeling at home and accepted by each other.”
Cassata, also a book writer, producer, and actor, said that “Bamboo Plants” was recorded with a live band and came to life naturally.
“We recorded this to tape with a full band,” he proudly said to The Rainbow Times (TRT). “It was so awesome to work with the tape machine in a studio that only runs on analog. I really wanted to dive into a more classic rock / lo-fi sound and I feel like we were really able to accomplish that here while capturing all the emotion behind every note. I love this recording because it’s exactly the way we sound. There’s no auto tune, there’s no note fixes or punch in’s. [This is] how we sound at a live show.”
TRT sat with Cassata to find out more about what’s been happening, his upcoming national tour (August 25th – Sept. 28th), his new love, where he’s going with “Bamboo Plants” and his latest career moves.
TRT: How long have you been writing music for now? For how many years?
Ryan Cassata: I have been writing music since I was 12 years old. I’m 25 now … so over half of my life.
Q: Do you write all of the music that you sing or have you also sung cover music?
A: I’ve done some covers and try to throw 1 cover in at each show if time permits. I like to make cover songs my own by either changing the genre or the intended mood to make it more personal to me.
Q: Why the name “Bamboo Plants”? And, is that a bamboo tree that you’re on in the video? Just wondering if there was any specific meaning about that.
A: All the lyrics in the song are true. I hadn’t gone back to my apartment in a while so I was thinking that the bamboo plants on my porch had probably dried up. They were turning brown by the time I brought them to my girlfriend’s but she brought them back to life and they are green and growing tall now.
Q: Congrats on your girlfriend! Will she be listed as a co-lyricist for the song too?
A: She’s a co-writer! We’ve been writing tons of music together and I am really excited to bring it into the world because I believe that it’s a celebration of queer love.
Q: What message were you trying to send to the LGBTQ community through this song?
A: The song is definitely about going with the flow and not letting anything hold you back from falling in love. It’s about following your own path and being happily in love. I want queer people to know that true love is out there.
Q: Who made all of this video possible?
A: Addy (Instagram: royal_chief ) directed the video! Iy Cardona and Nikki Flores star in it.
Q: You’re going on national tour. How long, how many cities, how many venues, and what will your setlist look like?
A: It looks like we have 17 shows booked right now and we are possibly adding more dates. I am going to be doing some of the shows with a violin player and drummer, which will be new for me. I’m excited!! I will be doing some shows acoustic too. My setlists will most likely include songs from all of my albums and I will definitely be playing “Bamboo Plants” and “Daughter” at every show.
Q: Tell us more about “Daughter” and its success as of now?
A: I am very excited about the success of “Daughter” especially because I didn’t see it coming at all. The music video is about to hit 520,000 views. It’s a record for me. I’m super thrilled about it and want to thank my community for sharing it.
Q: You are one of a very select group of trans people who’ve made it big (Larry King, Tyra Bank’s show, the New York Times, Billboard Magazine, documentaries, TV, and soon film too, etc.) in mainstream media, and dozens of interviews with many publications, including this one. What do you attribute all of this success to (the tours, the growing number of viewers of “Daughter”, your influencer status, etc.)?
A: Hard Work. I’ve been working every single day of my life since I was 13 years old. I’m grateful that I am very motivated and driven. I have continuously worked hard and this is proof of that.
Q: Tell me 3 words that describe you and three that describe your girlfriend.
Artistic. Brave. Empathetic. My girlfriend: Independent. Intelligent. Beautiful.
Q: What else are you doing these days that you’d like to share with your fans?
A: I have some really amazing projects coming up, some in the film and TV world. I’ll share more about that as soon as I can. I also dove back into my memoir to do a new edit and am looking for a publisher. I’ve been writing a lot. I’ve been writing so many songs that it’s impossible to record them all [at once], and it’s a bit overwhelming, but that’s a great problem to have for me. I’ve also been writing some poetry. I am heading out on tour on August 25th through September 28th. I’m very excited to connect with people on the road!
Q: Will you be going to other states during your tour? If so, which?
A: These are my tour stops! More info on details and tickets can be found at ryancassata.com/tour.
Q: Can people request you to go to a certain place during your tour and if so, how do you decide to go to that specific place?
A: I try to go to as many cities as possible and I try to go to the places that are highly demanded by fans. I take polls every so often on my Instagram [account] to find out where my music is wanted the most and compare it to other cities. I do my best to put those cities into tour stops. Of course, traveling and touring is super expensive, so I can’t go everywhere yet, but I am doing the best I can to go to as many as possible. One thing I can say, the tours are getting bigger over the years. If you’re waiting for me to show up and perform somewhere … I’m sure I will, someday soon!
Q: Where do you see yourself in the next couple of years professionally? Personally?
A: I feel like I’m on an upward climb right now, so maybe I’ll be getting close to the mountaintop soon? Who knows … I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing because it makes me happy and I’ve heard that it helps others too.
Q: Why did you want to highlight queer love with “Bamboo Plants”?
A: The songs that I’ve been writing this year have all just been flowing out of me. I am writing love songs because I fell in love. I think love is worth celebrating. There’s so much negativity in this world right now and sometimes we really just all need to see something more uplifting.
Q: Do you think it’s harder for queer people to find love?
A: I think society makes it harder because many people can’t come out and it’s assumed that everyone is straight and cis[gender] until they say they are not. I think it’s an obstacle for sure. I personally believe that there’s someone out there for everyone.
Q: Who are your sponsors?
A: Thank you! My tour is fully sponsored by TomboyX, The Rainbow Times and Trans Headlines. I also partnered with Marvin Guitars, Grover Allman Picks, Canopy Beyond the Brim, Dead Sled Coffee, RTP Music Blog, & Genderbands for this tour!
Q: How can people support your career?
A: Bring friends to shows, tell friends about my music, share my YouTube videos, sponsor tours, buy music, stream music, etc. … There are many ways. Word of mouth has been the most important and the one that’s given me the most results—people telling their friends and those people telling their other friends, etc. Also, live music isn’t dead. Come out to shows! Experience live music. It is really good for your mental health (smiles).
To purchase tour tickets to Cassata’s concerts visit ryancassata.com/tour. To buy merchandise, check out ryancassatamusic.bigcartel.com/. To sponsor the tour, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Facebook Events: facebook.com/tours/628515980975722/.