Daring Spirit: Mary Casiello
Creative, quirky, and cathartic, Mary Casielloʼs genre-bending piano-pop offers something for everyone. Her music has received favorable comparisons to that of Sara Bareilles, Billy Joel, Ben Folds, and Carole King.
Mary is passionate about advocating for mental health issues and mothers in the arts. She hopes her next project will be an all-female cover band of The Police called Sting Ops.
We got to know Mary a little better this week:
Daring Spirits: Tell us about a decision that felt really bold.
Mary: The decision to continue working as a musician after entering motherhood is, apparently, a bold one, though I didn't mean for it to be. Before I had my kids, I knew other musicians who were parents. I just hadn't realized they were all dads.
Motherhood (and I am speaking in the hetero-normative sense as that is the perspective I have to offer) is a different animal. Womanhood is a different animal. Mothers who are working musicians are hard to find, and I am very passionate about supporting and uplifting moms who want to do the musician thing, too.
It means your days are really, really long, and child care is close to impossible sometimes. You'll also get judgment from both worlds: on the one hand, people who cannot understand why you would choose being a musician as a job, and why (in my case) the thousands of dollars you invested on an education, equipment, and networking can't just become a hobby; on the other hand, musicians who love their independence (who can blame them?) and worry that kids and a family could become an anchor, maybe create all kinds of resentment.
For me, the call to motherhood and the call to musicianship are both intrinsic to my very self, and I am incomplete if I do not answer both.
That said, I do not look down on anyone who chooses not to continue working as a musician because they want to have a family. I mean, why have just one career that doesn't pay when you could have two, amiright? Likewise, I don't think ill of anyone who chooses not to have kids because of their career. I can only speak to my experience. But if yours is similar, just know you're not the only one crazy enough to try it.
Daring Spirits: Describe a time when things went "wrong" and then the Universe delivered.
Mary: Senior year of high school, I applied to exactly two colleges: Western Michigan University and Berklee College of Music. They were the only two that had programs in line with my aspirations, as far as I could find at the time. I got into WMU, but was turned down by the music school, a very competitive program that was only looking for seven vocal jazz students that year. About a week later, I received my acceptance letter from Berklee. Suddenly, my hard decision wasn't so hard, and the entire course of my life was set. I might not be having this conversation if things had gone differently.
Daring Spirits: Beach or Mountains? Sweet or spicy? Window or aisle?
Mary: Do I have to choose beach or mountains? Is there a lake by the mountains, maybe? And maybe someone put some sand down, too? Also, what kind of crappy mountain area doesn't have some kind of body of water? I guess they aren't all beaches. I'll choose mountains and bring some sand. That seems easier than moving the mountain.
Spicy. But I'll probably throw some honey in there. Have you had Thai food? YOU DON'T HAVE TO CHOOSE. Haven't we established I'm terrible at choosing?
Window every time. It's much more oriented toward daydreaming. Aisle seating is much more oriented toward being able to effectively pee and getting your elbow jabbed by every person walking by. Of course, if you ride a small plane you might only have one seat on the one side, and then you can have both. But then you're riding on a tiny plane and might be more concerned with how the turbulence will surely knock one or two of your internal organs out of place.
Daring Spirits: That's some great validation for anyone trying to balance life, relationships, creativity, and self - in other words, all of us. Thank you, Mary, for spending some time with us!
If you'd like to see (and hear!) more, you'll find Mary at www.marycasiello.com, as well as on social media here:
phote: Mary Casiello