Orlando singer Casey Conroy reflects on a year of big moves and new music
By Ida V. Eskamani
"My dad used to say to my sisters and I when we were kids that 'life's not that serious." Orlando's Casey Conroy is reflecting on her debut EP, It's Just Living. She is sitting in her new temporary apartment, somewhere in the valleys of southern California.
"We're so lucky that every morning we just get to wake up and feel everything we do, because we're alive. Just enjoy whatever that is," she says. "It's going to end for everybody. So we might as well enjoy it while we're here. ... I wanted to write a record about that idea of, 'Hey, it's just living.'"
Released in October of last year, It's Just Living represents a pivotal creative moment for Conroy.
"A few years ago, I had a switch," reflects Conroy. "I'll just make music that makes me happy and excited. Or if I'm sad, comforted. The record is really a combination of songs that I've been working on ever since I hit that switch of just making music that makes me happy and making music I'd want to hear."
Casey and her creative partner, Willy Colón, collaboratively wrote most of the songs on the record, delivering a burst of forward-facing and deeply affecting pop music that listeners have wholeheartedly embraced.
According to Conroy, each track had at least three reincarnations until meeting their final form. "I just spent so much time. Because it was my first record, I wanted it to be as perfect as possible," says Conroy.
The Orlandoan artist had, only three weeks prior, made the leap of a lifetime: packed what she needed, boarded a plane, swallowed her fears and planted roots thousands of miles from home. It's the first time in her life she's calling a new city home, but this represents just one of many instances when Conroy's determination propelled her forward.
Conroy conquered her debilitating fear of stage fright by forcing herself on as many local stages in Orlando as possible, a regular at the well-loved and eclectic Austin's Coffee.
After moving cross-country, she's immersing herself in a new scene after calling one home for so many years. She is doing it all herself, a "DIY frenzy," in her words: leading her own marketing, branding, booking, producing and writing.
Conroy embraces the challenges before her, a personal test and ultimately testament to the commitment she feels deeply for her art, "It's been good, especially for me as an artist, to really get in and get my hands dirty and have to push it for myself," Conroy says.
Just as he inspired the concept behind her debut, Conroy credits her father for inspiring her art. A musician himself from Ireland, he never pursued music professionally, instilling a love for songwriting unfettered by the rigid confines of the music industry.
"As soon as I can even remember, he would write songs and he would have me sing them," says Conroy. "We would record them in a tiny little home studio, and we would do covers together, and we would write music together."
Bands like Duran Duran, Depeche Mode and even Irish folk music inspired the two. By age 12, Conroy had started playing the piano and writing her own songs.
Fast-forward to the present day, Conroy's penning new music, booking shows and even looking towards a hometown show at some point. At the center of this wild life is her love for her art, and her deep appreciation for those who love it, too.
"I love what I do. I love creating music, and I love putting out music I love," says Conroy. "When people ask me, 'What do you hope that people get out of listening to your music?' The number one thing is always that it's unbelievably authentic."
That it certainly is. It's truly just living.
Ida is an Iranian-American from Florida who grew up with the Beatles, and came of age in the pit. She will talk to you about music for as long as you will pretend to listen. She is founder of Bandifesto, a little blog with a big heart.