We’re Getting Candid in our interview with Casey Baer – a LA-based pop singer who’s switching up the narrative on what it means to be a pop star. Her recent single “number one” was released at the end of October with an EP on the way.
We talk to Casey about how her struggles with anxiety have turned her into a mental health advocate, how the image of the pop star has changed in the last 20 years, and how Casey has been pursuing her dreams of being a pop star since she was 4.
You can find a transcribed excerpt of the interview below!
Exerpt from Getting Candid with Casey Baer [INTERVIEW]
You have a lot of very exciting stuff happening right now. You just had a billboard in Times Square for your new single “number one.” What was that like for you?
Honestly, I am still tripping over it. New York has always been my favorite place and somewhere I’ve gone since I was a little kid. I’d always dreamt about walking into Times Square and just seeing my face everywhere so for that actually to happen was like a mind game.
I went to Times Square with one of my childhood best friends and it was the most surreal moment. It was really a pinch me moment. You always see it on TV. People are like, pinch me, is it real? But you have that sensation for a second. You’re like, no. That is real. So it was kind of a dream I had only thought about.
And also I wrote “number one” a year ago, right after I got my first tour. So it’s been such a journey with that song. I’d always felt like there was such a special place in my heart for that song. And I’d always wanted to release it, but the time didn’t add up last year. A whole year later, that song got the billboard in Times Square and it made it feel even more special.
You’ve known you wanted to be a singer since you were 3 at your first concert for Hilary Duff. I love when people have stories like this – when they know from a young age what they want to do in life. It’s amazing to have this dream you’re working towards. So what has this journey been like for you in the past 10 years?
So music has really always been my everything. I was 13, 10 years ago, which was a very dark time for me. When I developed really extreme anxiety it was like, “I’m so different than everybody. I’m so weird. Nobody feels like I do.” And I grew up in LA, everything is so perfect, all sunshine and rainbows and happiness. And I was like, “I’m different. Why am I sad? Why can’t I get out of bed and go to school?” And it was really, really difficult for me. And I remember the only thing that truly brought me happiness, especially during those times, was music.
This is really leading into the reason why I am doing this. So in December, I’m releasing my sophomore EP titled Conversations of My Therapist, and that is also gonna be the focus track.
I was about 13 when I started therapy. And therapy is one of the most important things in my life because it’s all full of self-realization and self-growth and being comfortable in your own skin. At the time I was in therapy [thinking] I must be crazy. I don’t know anybody else that goes to therapy.
That’s the reason I wrote this EP – to normalize it and be like, hey, going to therapy is not a problem. Like, it’s great working on yourself and being proud of your progress.
And growing up, I really did hide the whole anxious part of me. And the only thing that ever gave me that happiness and solace was music. I knew I would be okay because I knew what I wanted to do with my life, and eventually I’d figure out how to get there, and that’s what made me start writing music.
Was there a turning point when you felt like you wanted to start talking about your experience with anxiety?
Actually, it was such a big moment. The turning point really was when Justin Bieber released Purpose. I was like, “Oh my god. Somebody I already love feels the same way I do and has anxiety and isn’t perfect.” And from that moment, I felt like I really wasn’t alone. For years, people had told me, you’re not alone, but I’d never seen it through my own eyes.
And that’s when I [realized] if he can make me feel this much better by just a couple of songs, then I can do this for people. So that’s when I started writing music and it gave me a whole other world to dive into and another escape. And so that’s really the whole reason behind this EP and my whole career. I want to be able to do what Justin did for me for other people.
Throughout history, pop stars have been put into a box of what they should and shouldn’t be. But now because of how the internet has changed the music industry, a pop star doesn’t have to be just like Britney Spears, a pop star can be many things. So for you, do you feel pressures to fit into this mold of like what a pop star is? Or do you feel like you’ve already created your own space?
I definitely feel like no matter what you do, there’s going to be pressure to look perfect and sound perfect and do everything perfectly, especially in a public-eye career. In my head, I’ve always been that person that’s just gonna be on stage in these crazy, cool, sequined outfits and there are thousands of people in the crowd watching.
But I think there’s so many other elements to pop stardom than just being personal on stage. I think now people try to let you come outside of the box a little bit. There are definitely still a lot of like boundaries. With social media, everyone’s always like, okay, I have to be super pretty and look super thin and wear this perfect outfit and look magical, perfect the whole time. And I definitely fall into those traps where I’m like, “Oh my god, like my hair does not look perfect today. Like I cannot be seen by the world.” But then I’m like, “okay, wait, stop. That’s the point. They should be able to see where you don’t look perfect.”
And I think other big celebrities are doing a great job of doing that now. As annoying as paparazzi photos may be, it really, it helps the general public a little bit, because you see them not looking their most perfect. You see them walking into a grocery store to show that they are real humans. I think that’s definitely helping break down barriers.
[Another thing is] being honest inside of the music and the lyrics and that adding up with your image on the outside. Sometimes like you’re in a studio and writing all these songs that are the most personal things you could say. Like I wrote this in a song. This really is who I am. I don’t need to pretend to be perfect. I’m a girl in my early twenties, boys suck, life’s hard. And also just like being real with yourself too. Cause it’s like, I don’t wanna admit that this boy has me sad, but he does.