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Peer Support








Ryan Cassata



Interview: Christine Stonat (7/2020)

Photos: Maxine Bowen








weird: You officially released your song “Gender Binary (Fuck You)“ in June 2020. It is from 2015 and was unpublished yet. How come you decided to record and release it as a single now?


Ryan Cassata: Gender Binary was originally a live acoustic video recording that I posted on Facebook. It got over 2 million views on Facebook over the course of a couple years. I wasn’t sure if it should go on an album or stand as a single. After enough people requested it I realized it was time to get it up on all streaming platforms.




weird: That new single version of “Gender Binary (Fuck You)” is a “kick ass” punk inspired pop tune. Your original acoustic version was a bit slower and all singer/songwriter style. In general, how do you approach to recording new songs and decide which direction they should go sound wise?


Ryan Cassata: For this song, I really wanted it to sound like an early 2000’s pop punk sound. We layered a ton of electric guitars to do this! Usually, it’s just what I am feeling in the moment. I usually hear the full band version in my head while I’m writing the song. Sometimes I just put them out how I wrote them, and sometimes I add more elements. Sometimes I release songs with both versions! I’m working on some remixes to songs now too!




weird: With “Sober” you just released another new single July 2, 2020. The song is about addiction resp. about getting and being sober. You were addicted to alcohol and drugs, being sober now for more than 6 years. Educating about (being in) recovery is also part of your music and activism. What did help you out of your addiction back then and what do you hold on to today?


Ryan Cassata: Back when I first got sober it was mostly friend and peer support. Now, it is friend support, peer support, in addition to a daily spiritual practice. It’s not hard for me maintain my sobriety anymore but it is still difficult to watch friends go through addiction and lose friends to overdoses.




weird: Despite your two new singles “Gender Binary ...” and “Sober” your current new album “The Witches Made Me Do It“ with eight beautiful new songs is out since March 2020 too. It is mostly Singer/Songwriter, Folk, with Country influences. And it is like all of your music very personal. E. g. about your traumatic past, violence, bullying, alcohol also, and how it was to grow up in a conservative town. How much of a healing, therapeutic force is music for you?


Ryan Cassata: I experiment with many different genres but I keep the lyrics personal on mostly everything I do. I write from the heart and there are things that I feel the need to express through music which is very healing. Having an outlet, as long as it is a healthy one, is a gift. I’m glad I get to have that gift.




weird: As a multi-instrumentalist and a great songwriter that you are, playing guitar, piano, harmonica etc. What is the instrument you usually go for when it comes to writing new songs?


Ryan Cassata: It definitely switches a lot. When I am writing more pop or hip hop stuff, it’s piano. Usually with the singer-songwriter stuff it’s more guitar. However, a lot of The Witches Made Me Do It was written on piano. Sometimes it just depends what instrument is closer when inspiration strikes.




weird: Your most successful song is a non-album song also. It is “Daughter” which you published April 2018. The video hit on YouTube the 1 Million views mark in June 2020. Congratulations! You hit home with that, reaching a whole queer trans generation. You ever thought the song would?


Ryan Cassata: Thanks so much! Honestly, no, I didn’t think Daughter would be successful at all. It was something I wanted to release for myself personally. I thought the trans community wouldn’t be happy with it because of the “I’ll always stay you’re little girl” line. The opposite happened. So many people embraced it. So many people wrote to me about how it changes their lives, their family’s lives, etc. ... I didn’t think this was possible with that song but clearly it was. I’m super grateful for the whole experience. It’s been a beautiful ride.




weird: You are an independent artist. Using social media. You also have a (non-musical) vlog. You are said to be one of the Top 5 most influential trans creators on YouTube. You are pretty successful on Spotify. Which is of course very difficult especially for “small” independent musicians. What is your advice for young musicians? Especially queer trans young musicians.


Ryan Cassata: Practice as much as you can. Create as much as you can. Put out as much content as you can. If you keep releasing, you’ll stay relevant and on people’s radars. Support as many indie artists as you can as well. Tour as much as you can. Keep growing as a musician and artist. There’s always more to learn and there’s always more to accomplishment.




weird: Also, as an independent artist you are one of the most successful trans musicians. Especially one of the very few well-known trans men in music. And one of the few trans musicians who started their career being out already, and this at a very young age. Other successful trans musicians mostly had their coming-out as a grown adult and after having been successful for a long while like band leaders as e.g. Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!), Mina Caputo (Life Of Agony) or Sam Bettens (K’s Choice, who are popular in Europe). You have always gone solo, without a band also. How do see your role in the music biz?


Ryan Cassata: I’m grateful that I’ve gotten to spread awareness through my music. I’m grateful that I’ve been out for my entire career although I do realize that makes the mountain a little steeper for me. I think it’s probably much easier to build up a foundation as a cis artist and come out as trans later. Although I would think that it’s probably harder emotionally to come out when you’re famous already. Everything has its pros and cons, I guess.


My role is that every show I have ever played, I have brought trans awareness to the stage and to the audience. Simply, just for existing and living out and open. I think that’s a gift in my life. I get to be who I needed when I was younger. I get to connect with so many people as well.


Also, I do play with a band now! I have a great band in Los Angeles. Kyle, Stephen and Loren bring a lot of energy to the music and we have played a lot of super fun shows!




weird: You are a musician. And an activist. You started to speak at the age of 13. You were the youngest trans activist given a platform to be heard US wide. You wrote for different media. Today you are 26. 13 years are a long time for the queer trans activism, and there has been a lot of development over the last years. You still are a big part of it. How would you say have you developed yourself over the years as being queer and trans with regard to your way of looking at yourself and at things and at transporting them?


Ryan Cassata: When I first came out I cared a lot about passing and being stereotypical male. The longer I stayed out the more comfortable I got so I cared less about what everyone else thought. I am able to be 100% myself in most situations. The only times I feel that I need to be more masculine than I actually am is when I feel I am in a dangerous situation, like being in a public bathroom.




weird: You are also an actor. And your new movie “Two Eyes” by straight cis director Travis Fine, where you are playing alongside with trans author and activist Kate Bornstein and others, is supposed to be out this year 2020 (if the pandemic allows). Little is known about this movie yet. Can you tell something about it and your role as Jalin?


Ryan Cassata: My role as Jalin is the most important acting role I have played yet. Through it I was able to heal part of myself that has needed healing for a long time. I hope that Jalin will help others to heal as well. He helped me.




weird: Just a few days ago a famous cis actress announced that her next role might be the role of a trans man. (Update: After online trans* activists informing her, the actress apologized and stepped back from her plans.) Trans activists have been trying to fight for trans casts playing trans characters for years now. There is also the new Netflix documentary “Disclosure” out now focusing on this. Gender binary, fuck you ... You are an advocate for non-binary, also with regard to being trans and display trans persons on the screen, fighting cisnormativity. All in all still a long way to go, right!?


Ryan Cassata: We have a super long way to go still but I truly believe we are getting there. We have come so far in just a decade and we will continue to keep rising and getting closer to equality and justice.







Interview: Christine Stonat (7/2020)

Photos: Maxine Bowen

Er ist einer der aktivsten und erfolgreichsten independent trans* Musiker. Ryan Cassata (26) aus Los Angeles ist seit frühen Teenagerzeiten Musiker und Aktivist. Außerdem ist er Schauspieler und Autor, hat eine nicht musikalischen YouTube-Vlog zu trans* Themen, hält Vorträge und schreibt. Seine Musik ist harmonischer, oft akustischer Singer/Songwriter-Pop mit Country- und Folkeinflüssen. Ryan Cassata spielt Gitarre, Klavier, Mundharmonika, führt in seinen Musikvideos oft Co-Regie. Immer wieder lässt er in einzelnen Songs neue Stile einfließen. Alles ist sehr persönlich. Inhaltlich geht es u. a. auch um trans* Sein, um Alkohol- und Drogenabhängigkeit und sein mittlerweile seit über 6 Jahren Trocken/Clean sein. Ryan Cassata ist mit immer neuer Musik und neuen Beiträgen bei Fans und Presse im Gespräch und zeigt sich sehr fan_nah. Er gilt derzeit als einer der einflussreichsten trans* Content Creators. Sein Hit Daughter (2018), ein unwiderstehlich melodiöser Akustik-Folk-Song über sein eigenes Coming-out, wurde zu einer Hymne für eine ganze trans* Generation und bislang über 1 Millionen mal auf YouTube gesehen.


2020 hat Ryan Cassata mit „The Witches Made Me Do It“ ein wunderschönes neues Folk-Pop-Album veröffentlicht. Im Juni und Juli 2020 kamen mit dem punkrockinspirierten „Gender Binary (Fuck You)“ und dem hiphopinspirierten „Sober“ zwei neue Songveröffentlichungen, die nicht auf dem Album sind, dazu. Für August 2020 hat Ryan Cassata bereits eine Überraschung für seine Fans angekündigt. Aktuell arbeitet er bereits auch an einem neuen Album. Möglicherweise wird es u. a. von Trennung handeln. Er und seine Partnerin hatten sich vor wenigen Monaten getrennt, so Ryan Cassata auf Twitter.


Im aktuellen Interview sprach Ryan Cassata mit weird über seine neuen musikalischen Veröffentlichungen, seinen neuesten Film, über den Erfolg von „Daughter“, über sein Trocken/Clean sein und mehr.





Aktuelle Singles & Album:


Ryan Cassata

„Sober“ (Single)

Out: seit Juli 2020


Ryan Cassata

„Gender Binary (Fuck You)“ (Single)

Out: seit Juni 2020


Ryan Cassata

„The Witches Made Me Do It“ (Album)

Out: seit März 2020

Single: „Catcher In The Rye“


Update 8.8.20 - Neues Album angekündigt:

Ryan Cassata

„Rebels & Ghosts“

Out: 21.8.2020



Ryan Cassatas aktueller Vlog-Beitrag 17.7.20 zum Thema „Post Gender“:

Zu queeren Themen in dieser Rubrik mit dem YouTube-Logo findet ihr Videofeatures auf weirds YouTube-Kanal PLAYLIST „8/2020 Artefakt …“


in own words


Name: Ryan Cassata

Age: 26

Profession: Musician, Actor, Public Speaker, Writer

Place Of Living: Los Angeles, CA, USA

My weirdest Characteristic: My friends say that I am constantly singing, even when I sneeze I end up adding some notes to it. HAHA!


Ausgabe Nr. 149

August 2020

Ryan Cassata

Foto: Maxine Bowen

Ryan Cassata

Fotos: Maxine Bowen




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