Disney is a brand that has encapsulated nostalgia around the entire world. Because of that, it’s a topic that Switching Styles have touched on quite a bit from Aladdin’s “A Friend Like Me”, Lion King Cover Songs, A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes, Finding Nemo Soundtrack Covers, Disney Music While Cooking, The Voice Of Phil Collins, And So Much More!! Read below to learn more about the Disney Covers and musical career of Casey Costello.
Introducing Casey Costello
Follow the movie magic with these soundtrack covers and @caseyjcostello’s fantastic TikTok account. Costello initially appeared in Switching Styles in a piece on Disney’s “Snow White” (1937). The article “Disney and Dreams: Snow White Cover Songs” included his work. In this profound and powerful duet, Casey Jones Costello and Yunjin Audrey Kim blend their gorgeous vocals with Yunjin’s stunning piano talents. Here’s a lovely cover of “Someday My Prince Will Come” that he made.
Interview With Casey Costello and Dylanna Fisher of Switching Styles
One of the artists we’ve talked about is Casey Costello. His work takes inspiration from the world of Disney. With a long list of Disney covers and other classical music in his repertoire, Casey Costello certainly has the voice of a Disney Prince. Below is an interview with Casey Costello, a musician, and our very own journalist, Dylanna Fisher.
How Did You Get Started in Music?
I got started singing from the time I was young and sang in the boy’s choir at my church, St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Rochester, NY, and I joined several choirs in high school, but I didn’t take voice lessons formally until I was 15 or 16. I took lessons through the Hochstein School of Music in Rochester, NY, and then went on to get a bachelor’s degree in Music/Business at Nazareth College in Pittsford, NY.
Why Did You Decide To Be Known As Casey Costello As Opposed To A Stage Name Or Nickname?
I am known by my full name, Casey Jones Costello, so I include my middle name as part of my artist name because it almost sounds like it’s a stage name already since there are many cultural associations with the name “Casey Jones,” so I just figured it was easier to go by my real name than by a pseudonym.
How Would You Describe Your Sound?
I would describe my sound as traditional pop / classical crossover since I have been inspired a lot by singers whose sound bridges the gap between classical and popular music. I sing in what I hope is an authentic manner that preserves the character of the songs as they were intended to be performed when they were written by the songwriters.
Who Are Your Musical Influences?
I have many musical influences, including Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, Mario Lanza, Josh Groban, Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Robert Goulet, Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, and so many other people. My musical inspirations span the gamut from operetta stars from the 1930s to popular singers of today.
Why Did You Start on YouTube?
I started on YouTube when I was maybe 14 years old just posting videos for fun, and eventually, as I started pursuing music professionally, I started using it as a platform to be able to post videos of my performances to it.
How Do You Think YouTube Functions as A Platform for Musicians?
YouTube can be a good promotional tool for musicians but frankly, it hasn’t helped me that much; TikTok has been a lot more useful in building an audience of fans much more quickly.
How Do You Feel About The Internet In The Music Business?
The internet has both helped and hurt the music business; streaming services like Spotify make it easier than ever to get your music distributed and heard, but it doesn’t pay very much royalties. Physical album sales like CD sales are much more significant in terms of being profitable, but very few people buy physical albums today.
How Has the Internet Affected Your Music Career?
The internet has allowed me to be discovered by many people who would not have otherwise probably ever heard of me, so that’s been a good thing, but again, it hasn’t helped a lot with actually selling albums; that tends to happen only when I do in-person concerts and sell CDs to people
Why Do Covers in Particular?
I do cover because a good song is a good song regardless of whether I wrote it or somebody else wrote it; I love the music of the Great American Songbook of the 20th century, and songs from Broadway, and Hollywood movies, and I sing what I like. I also want to sing songs that people know, because I do shows at senior living communities and other venues, and I find people enjoy music better if it’s familiar. I do write songs as well, but I do not perform originals exclusively.
How Do They Tend To Compare To The Originals?
I try to interpret songs in a way that is authentic and respects the intentions of the songwriters who wrote the piece, so my interpretations tend to be quite faithful to the originally published arrangements of the songs.
What Is The Typical Process Of Creating A Cover?
When I perform covers, I try to find the original edition of the sheet music because oftentimes a piece of music will have many different arrangements that have been done over the years, but the most authentic arrangement is typically the originally published arrangement, so once I have a copy of the sheet music, it’s as simple as learning the song and rehearsing the piece with my pianist. Sometimes if I can’t find a good arrangement or if the song isn’t in a good key for me, I’ll do my own arrangement of the piece using Sibelius music notation software, which is a longer process, but I’ve done that quite a few times when I can’t find a satisfactory arrangement of the sheet music.
“Some Day My Prince Will Come” Is A Gorgeous Duet Performance, What Was The Process Like For That Collaboration?
“Some Day My Prince Will Come” wasn’t originally going to be a duet, since it was never intended to be a duet, but I was doing a Disney-themed concert and the pianist who was accompanying me also happened to have a lovely soprano voice, so the thought occurred to me that perhaps we could perform the song as a duet. As it so happens, there are two sets of lyrics for the song, one intended to be sung by a man and one intended to be sung by a woman.
So I thought, what if we each sing the respective sets of lyrics to the piece separately, and then harmonize together at the end? It was really just a spontaneous idea and it happened to come together and work beautifully, and Yunjin Audrey Kim did a wonderful job as my duet partner and pianist for that song; I’m very proud of that recording and pleased that, years after performing it, I still get so many positive comments from people about how much they love my duet version of the song.
What Do You Think About Collaboration?
I honestly have so very many themed concerts I have done over the years that I don’t think I could tell you what my favourites have been; there are so many. One of my favourites at the moment is a piece I included in a springtime-themed concert called I’ll Remember April; the song is called “One More Walk Around the Garden,” and it is just so poignant and not particularly well-known, so I really enjoy getting to sing that for audiences. “When You Wish Upon a Star” from Pinocchio and “I’ll Be Seeing You” are two of my other favourite songs to sing, but there are really so many others I love to sing as well.
Are There Any Specific Ones That Stick Out As Favourites? Many Of Your Performances Are Performed For A Live Audience, How Does It Compare To Performing Solely For A Camera?
During 2020 and much of 2021, I wasn’t doing any live performances in front of an audience due to Covid, so I started performing in front of a camera just to record concerts without an audience much more often; it was a bit of an odd experience because, on the one hand, it is great to be able to do retakes in case I mess up or my pianist messes up, and it’s less stressful.
On the other hand, I really enjoy the feedback I get from performing in front of a live audience and you simply don’t get that from performing in front of a camera without people watching; I like hearing the applause and the comments that people in the audience make to me after a concert about songs they enjoyed and getting that kind of tangible feedback that is only possible when performing in-person in front of a live audience.
What Are Some Of Your Fondest Memories Throughout Your Music Career?
I have many fond memories throughout my music career. I remember the very first public concert I ever did, I sang a song called “A Perfect Day” written back in 1910 by Carrie Jacobs-Bond, and an elderly woman in the audience came up to me afterwards and was crying, telling me that it had been her mother’s favourite song; things like that mean so much to me. I enjoy being able to evoke happy memories, or sometimes nostalgic but still fond memories, for people, and whenever I get that kind of feedback it makes me happy. Nearly every time I perform at senior living communities I get comments from residents telling me their memories of hearing the songs I was singing or memories that my songs evoked and how much it meant to them, and that means a lot to me.
One of my other fondest memories of performing was doing an all Rodgers and Hammerstein-themed show with several girls between the ages of 9-12 and it was delightful to get to share the stage with such talented young singers and sing duets and ensemble pieces with them. It was really just so much fun for me; the Disney show I did was a similarly fun experience since I also worked with several talented young girls that added such an element of fun to the show.
What Are Some Obstacles Throughout Your Music Career?
The obstacles in my music career have been numerous; Covid has certainly been a big one. Also, given that I perform “old-fashioned” music, it is difficult to find the right venues to perform other than at senior living communities. I don’t sing material that is going to be on Top 40 radio stations, so I have a very particular niche and finding the right audiences and venues for that niche is a challenge. Also, finding an agent who could help me book performances and help me find the right venues to perform is a challenge. And, as I mentioned previously, the shift towards streaming music over purchasing physical copies of music makes it difficult to make money from album sales, but that hasn’t deterred me from continuing to record and release new albums, regardless.
What Advice Would You Give to Musicians Just Starting Out On YouTube?
My advice to performers just starting out with YouTube would be not to put all your eggs in one basket; it’s very hard to get discovered on YouTube. It’s hard to get discovered anywhere, but you should use every outlet available to you, e.g., YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, a personal website, and if you have recorded music, make sure you’re putting it out on streaming services like Spotify, not just for streaming royalties but for the exposure. Use every social media outlet available to you and try to create content consistently that appeals to your audience; if you’re not sure what your niche is, try to figure it out and tailor your content to fit your niche and target it towards your target audience to the best of your ability.
What Are Some Projects You Have In Progress Right Now?
I have several projects I’m working on or have recently completed. I just released an album last month, The Morning After, which is available on most streaming services such as Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, etc., and is available for sale on CD as well. I am also working on a new show for the Rochester Fringe Festival in Rochester, NY which I’m calling A Little Night Music: Casey Jones Costello Sings Broadway and Beyond, featuring Gail Hyde on piano. The shows are scheduled to take place at the School of the Arts in Rochester, NY during the Rochester Fringe Festival in September, so my pianist and I are rehearsing for those shows right now and plan to record the songs from the new show for an album as well.
Where Do You See Yourself In 10 Years?
I don’t like to speculate on things too far off in the future; God only knows where I’ll be in 10 years. All I can say is that my aspiration is to be able to perform cabaret-style shows at venues across the United States, Canada, and elsewhere, and be able to make a consistent living by performing for and entertaining audiences of all ages and I hope to have an agent and that I’ll have recorded many more albums; it would be great if I could get signed by a record label, but if that never happens I hope to continue recording and releasing albums myself. It is very difficult to be successful in the music industry, but I love entertaining audiences and love it when people enjoy my music and I hope that I’ll always be able to continue singing and performing for people.
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