Being the American Idol junkie that I am, I was beyond thrilled at the chance to not only see the beloved bass player from Season 10, Casey Abrams, perform at the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon pre-race concert a few weeks ago, but to also meet him personally and ask him a few questions about how and when his love of music began.
Being a mom of two young girls, I am always thinking about how and when to expose them to particular activities and how to walk that fine line between encouraging them to partake versus being pushy and overbearing. My questions for Casey centered around how and when he discovered his love of music and how his parents helped foster this interests.
Mama Mary: “When did you first become interested in playing instruments?”
Casey Abrams: “I remember I really liked the show Pokémon, and I liked a character named JigglyPuff and he had this song and it put everyone to sleep and that was his super power. I decided I wanted to play it on piano and learn it, so I did that. My parents were like ‘hey, maybe you should take piano lessons.’”
MM: “And how old were you?”
CA: “I was probably 1st grade. I remember we got an electric piano at that time and that was the first song I played and then Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Then we were forced, well not forced, they LET us play the recorder at school and that’s when I really wanted to learn. That’s why I think music education is actually really important. Because I got to play xylophone, and shakers and weird stuff like that.”
MM: “When did you know you wanted to sing too?”
CA: “I always wanted to sing, and I realized that I could maybe get away with it my sophomore year of high school. I did Don’t Stop Believing. It was a jazz recital but the encore was Don’t Stop Believing and so I played bass and sang. And I was like, ‘Hey maybe this rock start thing could work out for me. We’ll see what happens.’”
MM: “What did your parents think of that?”
CA: “Oh my parents were completely supportive. My parents were completely like, ‘please do what you want, I love what you’re doing.’ That really helped me because I kind of have a confidence problem, so when they say, ‘hey that rocks,’ then I’m like ‘hey, I’ll keep doing it I guess.”
MM: Speaking of that confidence problem, how was your American Idol journey for you? That must’ve been challenging being judged every week.
CA: Oh of course. But you have to walk in there like you don’t care. You just get up on stage, ‘This is me, I’m gonna do it. If I mess up, I mess up.’”
[Insert me gushing over him as one of my top favorite contestants EVER.]
MM: “Would you recommend the American Idol journey to other young kids who have an interest in the business?”
CA: “Um, if you have something special, yes. If you have determination, yes. It’s hard, I’m not gonna lie. If you’re willing to lose sleep over your heart, then do it.”
MM: “It certainly opened some doors for you. What are some of the things you’ve gained from your experience in American Idol?”
CA: “Connections are the biggest thing. And meeting some of my heroes, like Jack Black and Esperanza Spalding.
[Insert my gushing over the Casey/Jack performance of the AI finale.]
MM: Did you imagine that you’d end up here, opening up for the Las Vegas Rock ‘N’ Roll marathon?
CA: No, not at all.
MM: Any interest in running a Rock ‘N’ Roll marathon?
CA: I wanted to do it this year but I was so busy, so I’m gonna start training for next year.
So there you have it, Casey Abrams fans. Get your running shoes on and meet us back in Las Vegas in December 2012. Until then, I look forward to seeing where his career and that stand-up bass take him.
Big, huge, massive thanks to Casey for his talent and his graciousness. Don’t Stop Believing!
In related news: American Idol Season 11 premiers next week. Woo Hoo! Below is the show lineup for the early audition phase. I’m looking forward to J-Lo’s glittery eye shadow, Steven Tyler’s slightly provocative comments and Ryan Seacrest’s awkward segment transitions.
Wednesday, Jan. 18 Season Premiere, Part 1
Thursday, Jan. 19 Season Premiere, Part 2
Sunday, Jan. 22 Post NBC championship episode/Auditions Episode (Special Broadcast) (10:00 PM ET/7:00 PM PT)
Wednesday, Jan. 25 Auditions Episode
Thursday, Jan. 26 Auditions Episode Wednesday, Feb. 1 Auditions Episode
Thursday, Feb. 2 Auditions Episode Wednesday, Feb. 8 Auditions Episode Thursday, Feb. 9 Hollywood Round, Part 1
Wednesday, Feb. 15 Hollywood Round, Part 2 Thursday, Feb. 16 Hollywood Round, Part 3
Wednesday, Feb. 22 Performance Challenge Thursday, Feb. 23 Semifinalists Announced
Tuesday, Feb. 28 Semifinalists Perform/ 400th Episode (Special Broadcast)
Wednesday, Feb. 29 Semifinalists Perform
Thursday, March 1 Results Show; Finalists Announced and Judges’ Wild Card Picks Revealed (ET live/PT tape-delayed)