Casey’s Story

Casey’s Story

Meet Casey. If you think he looks a little familiar, you’re probably right. Casey is the keyboardist for the indie rock band, the X Ambassadors. He also happens to be legally blind due to a rare condition called Senior-Loken Syndrome that affects the retinas and kidneys (interesting fact – he has had to undergo a kidney transplant and his mother was his donor). We connected with him via social media, and to our pleasant surprise, he happily contributed a story of his childhood, his start in music, and the rise of his incredible band. Enjoy!

I was born in Seattle, but grew up in Ithaca. That’s a small college town in upstate New York, and it’s still possibly my favorite place on Earth.  It was where this whole music thing started.

My brother and I both loved music from a very early age. Our mom is a singer, and our dad had a truly incredible record collection that he made us many mixtapes from. We’d also always had a piano in the house, so I’ve been banging on keys for as long as I can remember.  In my early teen years, I started discovering how much fun it was to play with other musicians. We were all pretty bad at first, but after a year or two, I had a few amateur bands I played with. My brother and I finally started making music with each other, and I guess we’ve just never stopped.

We had decided to move to New York City to try and make it as a band, but of course, we knew we had to have real jobs in the meantime. So before NYC, I took a two-year course at a school specifically designed to teach blind and visually impaired people how to tune, repair and rebuild pianos. It turned out to be a fantastic job that I was good at and enjoyed a lot, but I still really wanted to PLAY piano for a living instead.

I’m proud to say we built up our band the hard way. We played hundreds of gigs in NYC, usually for almost no money, and there were many times only ate ramen noodles, eggs – anything cheap. Slowly but surely though, people started coming to the shows and buying our music. I knew we were on our way when I had to quit my piano tuning job so we could start going on tour, but we were all still very broke.

Finally, a radio DJ in Norfolk, VA started playing a song of ours on the air, and it was a big hit in that city. Imagine Dragons happened to be playing a show there not too long after, and heard our music. They liked it enough to bring us to the attention of their record label, who then signed us. It was then that things really went into high gear.

We’ve been writing music and touring ever since, and it’s been crazy. There are ups and downs, but I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.  Well, maybe except being an astronaut or something. We are about to put out our second album, and we’re back on the road again. Hopefully, this journey is nowhere near over, ‘cause I’m in this for the long haul baby!


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