Ryan Cassata

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Ryan Otto Cassata
Ryan Cassata at San Francisco Trans March 2015.jpg
Ryan Cassata performs at San Francisco Trans March 2015
Background information
Born (1993-12-13) December 13, 1993 (age 21)
Stony Brook, New York, U.S.
Origin Bay Shore, New York, U.S.
Genres Folk rock, indie, alternative
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, public speaker, LGBT activist
Instruments guitar, harmonica, piano, ukulele, vocals
Years active 2008 – present
Labels Artemendous Records, R.O.C. Productions
Website ryancassata.com
Notable instruments
Ovation Guitars, Elixir Strings, Taylor Guitars, Dunlop Nylon Jazz iii Picks

Ryan Otto Cassata (born December 13, 1993) is an American musician, public speaker, writer, filmmaker, actor, and transgender man. Cassata speaks at high schools and universities on the subject of Gender Identity Disorder, Transgenderism, bullying and his personal transition from female to male, including a double mastectomy surgery in January 2012, when he was 18 years old.[1][2] He currently resides in San Francisco. He has made appearances on the Larry King Live Show & The Tyra Banks Show to talk about being transgender. He has performed at LGBT music festivals and has gone on tours across the United States of America.[3][4] Cassata has performed at popular music venues such as Whisky a Go Go,[5] The Saint, The Bitter End, SideWalk Cafe, and Bowery Poetry Club. Cassata won a date on Warped Tour 2013 through the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands online competition and performed on the Acoustic Basement Stage on June 21, 2013.[6] Cassata also won a date on Warped Tour 2015 through the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands and performed on the Ernie Ball Stage on June 20, 2015.

Cassata composed the soundtrack for 2010 short film "Loop Planes" which screened at various film festivals including Tribeca Film Festival,[7] South by Southwest Gay & Lesbian Film Festival,[8] and Hamptons International Film Festival.[9] "Distraction" and "Sleeping Through" from Cassata's 2011 EP "Distraction" make up the soundtrack. Cassata is the main subject of full feature Danish produced documentary "Songs for Alexis."[10] Songs for Alexis, produced by Copenhagen Bombay with help from the Danish Film Institute, had its world premiere at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival to a sold out crowd on April 30, 2014.[11][12] Songs for Alexis had its United States premiere at Frameline Film Festival on June 28, 2014. Songs for Alexis also screened and sold out at DOC NYC.[13][14] Indiewire listed Songs for Alexis on its "10 Films You must Watch at Frameline 2014" article.[15]

Activism[edit]

Since 2008, Ryan Cassata has presented at high schools, universities, support groups and conferences on topics such as Coming out, Gender Identity Disorder, Transgenderism, and bullying. Cassata also speaks about his experience as the first openly transgender student in Bay Shore High School and the changes he made there. He has discussed bullying, what gendered bathroom to use, and gaining the right to have his chosen name in the school yearbook instead of his name at birth.[16]

In 2012, Cassata became the youngest keynote speaker that the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference ever elected.[17] Ryan Cassata uses his music videos to discuss social justice topics such as bullying. His 2012 music video, "Hands of Hate" released on YouTube honors and remembers LGBT Youth who were murdered or committed suicide. The lyrics of "Hands of Hate" discuss the murder of Matthew Shepard, the murder of Larry King, and the suicides of Tyler Clementi and Jamey Rodemeyer. Larry King is honored in the second verse:

And Lawrence King never saw ninth grade,
Before that bullet was forced into his brain,
By a bully, a madman, A classmate of rage.
Just at fifteen, young Larry was sent to his grave.

In 2015, Ryan Cassata appeared on the San Francisco Trans March line-up with Laverne Cox.

Cassata has delivered speeches at colleges and universities such as Carnegie Mellon University, Boston University, Capital University, Rider University, Rutger's University, Central Washington University, and Dowling College.

Music career[edit]

Cassata began playing guitar at age 6 after begging his parents for lessons.[18]

Ryan Cassata's song "Soda Cans" was listed in the 2014 article by The Advocate as a 'Trans Anthem.'[19]

Ryan Cassata is the first openly transgender musician to perform at Warped Tour.

YouTube[edit]

Cassata began creating vlogs and uploading footage from his concerts in 2007. Cassata posts videos on his personal YouTube channel, Ryan Cassata talking about his experience as a transgender man, a musician, and a public speaker. As of May 2015 his channel has over 22.5 thousand subscribers, and his videos have been viewed over 1.8 million times.[20] Ryan Cassata has collaborated on videos with Davey Wavey, ElloSteph, Arielle Scarcella, Marissa Farina, and SassiBob. Cassata became the first transgender person on the LGBT Panel at Playlist Live in February 2015 and appeared with Stevie Boebi, ElloSteph, Marissa Farina, RJ Aguiar, and Tyler Oakley.

Cassata was a regular member on the collaboration YouTube channel LGBTeens a channel that has over 35,000 subscribers and is part of the Big Frame network. Cassata vlogs about the LGBT community and his personal experience as an openly LGBT teen on this channel.[21] He has been rated as one of the "top 5 most influential transgender youtube creators" by NewMediaRockstars.[22]

Acting[edit]

In June 2015, Ryan Cassata was casted as a lead character in Beemus directed by Lauren Wolkstein. Cassata played a high school student.

Notable awards[edit]

Discography[edit]

LPs[edit]

The Theme of Humankind[26] (Artemendous Records, May 28, 2011) Track Listing:

  1. "Val's Song"
  2. "Dancing Shoes"
  3. "Love 'Round the World"
  4. "Waiting On the Sunrise"
  5. "In The Business"
  6. "Artemendous Knows All"
  7. "Wild Fire Woman"
  8. "The Trans Slam"
  9. "Going West"
  10. "Love/Hate"
  11. "In My Hands"

Musicians:

  • Ryan Cassata – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Harmonica, Keyboard
  • Kenny Truhn – Electric Guitar, Drums, Percussion
  • Steven Battline – Keyboards, Drums, Electric Guitar
  • Dave Suchmann – Bass Guitar
  • Josh Seidman – Electric Guitar, Percussion

Production:

  • Ryan Cassata – Executive Producer
  • Dave Suchmann – Co-Producer
  • Mic Angelo – Mix Engineer
  • Emily Gage – Album Artwork

The Rhythm (ROC Productions, May 25, 2012) Track Listing:

  1. "Love 'round the World (Hope)"
  2. "The Rhythm" (feat. Kenny Truhn)
  3. "Mouth Like a Hurricane"
  4. "Soda Cans"
  5. "Nothing Like Plastic"
  6. "Intro (I Do)"
  7. "Beauty Like Youth (I Do)" (feat. Alexis Ann)
  8. "Shine Your Light"
  9. "Hands of Hate" (feat. Kenny Truhn, Vincent Cassata, Francine Cassata)

Musicians:

  • Ryan Cassata – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Keyboard
  • Kenny Truhn – Electric Guitar, Drums, Bass, Percussion
  • Adam Abresch – Trumpet
  • Josh Seidman – Percussion

Production:

  • Ryan Cassata – Executive Producer, Liner Notes
  • Kenny Truhn – Co-Producer
  • Mic Angelo – Mix Engineer
  • Erich Glaubitz – Mastering
  • Emily Gage – Album Artwork

Songs for Alexis (Original Soundtrack Recording) (ROC Productions, April 30, 2014) Track Listing:

  1. Oh, Alexis
  2. Day Dream
  3. New York to California
  4. Soda Cans
  5. Naked (Protest Song)
  6. The Rhythm
  7. Together Again
  8. Freedom Nation
  9. Mayday
  10. Hands of Hate (feat. Kenny Truhn, Vincent Cassata, Francine Cassata)

Soul Sounds (ROC Productions, February 21, 2015) Track Listing:

  1. Since When Does Bare Feet Make You A Warrior Of Peace?
  2. Psychedelic Alligator Hunter
  3. Cocaine Crazy
  4. Jump Fence
  5. Alone
  6. Recover Me
  7. Save My Soul
  8. Mr. Beane (Fenway Park)
  9. Face On The Ground
  10. Red Light

Musicians:

  • Ryan Cassata – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Keyboard
  • Kenny Truhn – Electric Guitar, Drums, Bass, Percussion
  • Adam Abresch – Trumpet
  • Kenny Truhn, Jordanna Felice, Jess Gorman - Backing Vocals
  • Mark O'Connell of Taking Back Sunday - Additional Drums on Track 1

Production:

  • Ryan Cassata – Executive Producer, Liner Notes
  • Kenny Truhn – Co-Producer
  • Mic Angelo – Mix Engineer
  • Mike Cervantes from Masterdisk – Mastering
  • Kristen Lyseggen, Emily Gage – Photograph, Album Artwork

EPs[edit]

Distraction (January 12, 2011) Track Listing:

  1. "Distraction"
  2. "Sleeping Through"
  3. "Wonderful, Beautiful"
  4. "The Desert King"
  5. "Sparkle Like the Sea"
  6. "Val's Song"

Musicians:

  • Ryan Cassata – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Harmonica, Keyboard, Percussion
  • David DeFeis – Keyboards, Bass Guitar, Drums, Percussion

Production:

  • Ryan Cassata – Executive Producer, Liner Notes
  • David DeFeis – Co-Producer, Mix Engineer, Mastering
  • Emily Gage – Album Artwork

Oh, Alexis: Acoustic Sessions, Vol. 1[27] (ROC Productions, December 13, 2012)

Track Listing:

  1. "Oh, Alexis"
  2. "Soda Cans"
  3. "1,000 Letters"
  4. "Mayday"
  5. "Together Again"
  6. "New York to California"
  7. "Day Dream"

Production:

  • Ryan Cassata – Executive Producer
  • Erich Glaubitz – Mix Engineer, Mastering, Producer
  • Emily Gage – Album Artwork

In America: The Acoustic Sessions, Vol. 2 (ROC Productions, April 13, 2013)

Track Listing:

  1. "The Coffee Shop Song"
  2. "Freedom Nation"
  3. "1960's Scene"
  4. "The Rhythm"
  5. "In America"

Production:

  • Ryan Cassata – Executive Producer, Album Artwork
  • Erich Glaubitz – Mix Engineer, Mastering, Producer

Jupiter, It Won't Be Long: The Acoustic Sessions, Vol. 3[28] (ROC Productions, September 13, 2013) Track Listing:

  1. "I Don't Really Wanna Go to College"
  2. "Liberation"
  3. "Jupiter, It Won't Be Long"
  4. "Dear Lucas"
  5. "Tell His Old Man"
  6. "The Mob's Rolling Cadillac"
  7. "Sobering Up"
  8. "Grass Hat"

Production:

  • Ryan Cassata – Executive Producer
  • Erich Glaubitz – Mix Engineer, Mastering, Producer
  • Emily Gage – Album Artwork

Chicago Midway: The Acoustic Sessions, Vol. 4 (ROC Productions, April 13, 2014) Track Listing:

  1. Long Shot
  2. Chicago Midway
  3. Cracks & Crevices
  4. Shotgun of a Mouth
  5. Cocaine Crazy
  6. Sacred Grounds
  7. Love Defined

Production:

  • Ryan Cassata – Executive Producer, Album Artwork
  • Erich Glaubitz – Mix Engineer, Mastering, Producer
  • Sam Tall – Album Artwork

Singles[edit]

Captain May

Musicians:

  • Ryan Cassata – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboard
  • Sam Tall – Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar, Drums, Percussion

Production:

  • Ryan Cassata – Producer
  • Sam Tall – Producer, Mix Engineer, Mastering, Post Production

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2009 Larry King Live Himself TV Series; Episode: "Born in the Wrong Body!"
2010 The Tyra Banks Show Himself TV Series; Episode: "We're 7 & 8 Years Old and Know We Are Transgender"
2010 Loop Planes Composer of the soundtrack
2013 Head First[29][30] Himself TV Series; Episode: "The Wrong Body"
2013 Gender Silent[31] Himself
2013 HuffPost Live[32] Himself TV Series; Episode: "The Life Of A Transgender Teenager"
2013 HuffPost Live[33] Himself TV Series; Episode: "The Fight For Transgender Teen Rights"
2014 Songs for Alexis[34] Himself, Composer of the Soundtrack Released at Hot Docs International Documentary Festival in Toronto[35] and Frameline Film Festival[36]
2014 On The Road: Ryan Cassata 2014 Tour Documentary[37] Himself DVD Only
2015 Beemus: It'll End In Tears Kris post-production

Publications[edit]

Year Publication Title
2014 IndieWire "Ryan Cassata, The Trans Teen From New Doc 'Songs For Alexis,' Shares His Experiences Making The Film and Bringing It To Hot Docs"[38]
2015 The New York Times "Ryan Cassata"[39]

Music videos[edit]

Title Year
"Sleeping Through" 2011
"Soda Cans" 2012
"Hands of Hate"[40] 2012
"Mayday" 2013
"Bedroom Eyes" 2014

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Challenges faced by transgender people discussed during National Coming Out Day". Asbury Park Press. October 12, 2011.  (subscription required)
  2. ^ "Ryan Cassata—Civil rights icon, fearless performer and headstrong teen.". Long Island Pulse. March 23, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Ashland shows its pride at 2011 Southern Oregon Pride Parade". siskiyou.sou.edu. October 6, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Film fest highlights Trans Pride Los Angeles weekend". sdgln.com. June 21, 2013. 
  5. ^ "RYAN CASSATA profile at". whiskyagogo.com. October 13, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Perpetual Change – Ryan Cassata". tgforum.com. October 21, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Loop Planes.". tribecafilm.com. 2010. 
  8. ^ "Loop Planes.". swglff.com. 2010. 
  9. ^ "Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF): It Takes a Tough Tailbone.". thepublishingcontrarian.com. October 15, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Songs for Alexis.". dfi.dk. 2014. 
  11. ^ "Hot Docs 2014: Songs for Alexis Review". dorkshelf.com. 2014. 
  12. ^ "Hot Docs 2014 Spotlight: Songs for Alexis". 2014. 
  13. ^ "Songs For Alexis DOC NYC". 2014. 
  14. ^ "Songs For Alexis". frameline.org. 2014. 
  15. ^ "10 Films You Must Watch at Frameline 2014". blogs.indiewire.com. 2014. 
  16. ^ "Ryan Cassata: Singer, Songwriter, Voice for LGBT Youth.". Long Island Press. February 5, 2014. 
  17. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: An Interview with Ryan Cassata.". Freedom Requires Wings. November 14, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Ryan Cassata: Singer, Songwriter, Voice for LGBT Youth.". Long Island Press. February 5, 2014. 
  19. ^ "37 Alternative 'Trans Anthems' by Trans Musicians .". The Advocate. December 11, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Ryan Cassata". YouTube. Retrieved 2015-05-22. 
  21. ^ "LGBTeens". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-09-22. 
  22. ^ "TOP 5 MOST INFLUENTIAL TRANSGENDER YOUTUBE CREATORS WHO HAVE HELPED BUILD THE TRANS COMMUNITY ONLINE". New Media Rockstars. August 23, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Ryan Cassata—Civil rights icon, fearless performer and headstrong teen.". Long Island Pulse. March 23, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Ryan Cassata - Battle of the Bands". Battle of the Bands. May 22, 2015. 
  25. ^ "Ryan Cassata - Battle of the Bands". Battle of the Bands. June 8, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Ryan Cassata Music performs from "The Theme of Humankind" at PrideFest Milwaukee 2011.". ifelicious. June 14, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Ryan Cassata releases "Oh, Alexis: Acoustic Sessions. Vol. 1".". PRLOG. November 18, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Ryan Cassata – Jupiter, It Won't Be Long The Acoustic Sessions, Vol. 3 CD Review.". neufutur. November 25, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Head First: May 22.". tvtonight.com.au. May 21, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Head first into fear, and some body surfing.". The Australian. May 22, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Gender Silent: Featuring Ryan Cassata, Rae Raucci, Izek Campion, Jamie Armstrong". Vimeo. Retrieved 2013-12-06. 
  32. ^ "The Life of a Transgender Teenager.". HuffPost Live. September 26, 2013. 
  33. ^ "The Fight For Transgender Teen Rights.". HuffPost Live. November 20, 2013. 
  34. ^ "Songs for Alexis.". dfi.dk. 2014. 
  35. ^ "Hot Docs 2014: Songs for Alexis Review". dorkshelf.com. 2014. 
  36. ^ "Songs For Alexis". frameline.org. 2014. 
  37. ^ "Ryan Cassata: Tour Documentary". PledgeMusic.com. March 9, 2014. 
  38. ^ "Ryan Cassata, The Trans Teen From New Doc 'Songs For Alexis,' Shares His Experiences Making The Film and Bringing It To Hot Docs". indiewire. May 22, 2013. 
  39. ^ "Ryan Cassata". The New York Times. May 22, 2015. 
  40. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: An Interview with Ryan Cassata.". Freedom Requires Wings. November 14, 2012.