Sun-soaked South Florida’s best kept secret is finally receiving the national attention he deserves.
Previously signed to Epic/Sony Records and Ultra records, CASELY (born Jean Carlos Casely) is a young musical phenom who has shattered all expectations of what makes an R&B superstar. After attending Boston’s world-famous Berklee College of Music on full music 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. Casely’s music is filled with unexpected twists, glittery synthesizers, sumptuous melodic layer-cakes, and straight-up dance tracks that move you in the club. He says. “I’m doing it all leftfield, pushing the envelope.”
If the best R&B is built around universal themes, like pulling the heartstrings that exist in all of us, then Casely plays us all like the pianist he is. Casely’s first single, “Emotional” (Epic/Sony) is the perfect example. “It’s about not being able to focus on anything but that one girl who just walked into the room.” And everything from Casely’s anxious, melodic vocals to the Mozart-style strings to the neck-breaking beat, delivers the message that Casely “never should have let her go.” The national radio airplay and widespread popularity of “Emotional” attracted the attention of fellow Miami superstar Flo-Rida on the remix. Casely has also collaborated/performed with numerous major acts including Pitbull, DJ Laz, DJ Khaled, Pretty Ricky, Ruben Studdard, T-Pain, Lil’Wayne, Lil Jon, Machel Montano and others.
Casely’s talent has not gone unnoticed by numerous media outlets nationwide. He performed on the televised 2008 BET Awards after-show; featured on WSVN’s Deco Drive “Almost Famous” segment; CNN’s “Sunday Morning” discussed Casely’s song “Unsung Heroes,” which was written as a dedication to Hurricane Katrina victims; Seventeen Magazine awarded Casely the Grand Prize for their “Way to Rock” national talent search; and MTV featured Casely at their 2004 Music Awards kick-off concert. He’s also performed at many concerts and live venues nationally and internationally including Miami’s famous annual Calle Ocho concerts, The Barbados Music Festival and a European concert tour.
Casely is a Miami-born charmer and the shining son of Trinidadian and Panamanian parents. 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. 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. Musical theater also influenced Casely’s dynamic live show and complex dance routines. And while he hasn’t been dancing as long as singing, his dancing is nothing short of spectacular. “When people saw Prince 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 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.”
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