HOMETOWN: Holt, Florida.
AGE: The cassette tape and Walkman generation…so, old enough.
HOBBIES: Of course, writing and playing music as often as possible, but if my kids play sports and we are at the ballpark all the time, does that count as my hobby too?
RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Recorded debut EP of original music in Nashville with an award-winning producer and top musicians. Released first single “Guns and Glitter,” which got radio play from several stations in the area. Performed at the 2016 Mullet Festival opening for Justin Moore and Chase Bryant. Finalist in the Pepsi Southern Original contest for the Gulf Coast Jam. Designed and created a jewelry line called Firestained Jewelry. Kept three kids healthy and happy juggling their school, church and sports activities—certainly with help from family and friends.
PROFILE: I was raised in the Florida Panhandle my entire life. Both of my parents sang when I was growing up, but it wasn’t really something I ever considered. I didn’t know that I could. I met my husband when I was 14, we got married when I was 18, and we have three very busy outdoor country kids. I tried lots of different jobs—waitressing, bank teller, I went to hair school. I got my real estate license at one point. I’m sure the list could continue, but basically nothing stuck until I figured out what I was really supposed to do, and that was music.
I was in my mid-20s when I started to learn that I could sing. I had major stage fright, like really bad, but I have a pretty obsessive personality and if I want to do something, I will typically figure it out. I sang at church some to very gracious people—even when I would bomb, they would continue to encourage me. I learned new lessons every time and realized my deep revelation to overcome my fear.
My sister got a pink glitter electric guitar for Christmas one year that she was completely uninterested in. I fell in love with it, and it made me want to learn to play. With my belly all giant pregnant with my second child and a one-year-old running around, I was learning guitar late at night or between naps and laundry loads during the day.
I still have a love/hate relationship with guitar. I eventually learned piano, a little bit of mandolin, and my favorite is probably playing the ukulele. With no background playing instruments and the attention span of a five-year-old, it has been a fun thing to explore and learn.
I started writing songs after I learned a few chords. I was going through a lot of heartache at the time, and it became an outlet for me that didn’t know I needed. I still continue to learn and grow at the ever-evolving songwriting craft. I love it. Sometimes I write from a very personal standpoint, the very depth of all I ever feel—good, bad, funny or heartbreaking, it’s right there clearly in that song.
Others may be just observations of people and things around me. I like to write about life. “Unplugged” is one of my favorites—don’t we all want a date cell phone-free sometimes? I have a song called “Story” about living in a small town and how people run their mouths too much, telling stories that aren’t theirs to tell. It’s funny and so true.
I also write worship music that we sing at my church. It is such a special honor to be able to allow God to create and inspire through me songs to lead the congregation in worship. No matter where it is I’m playing, people seem to understand, relate and respond. That’s been an awesome privilege I don’t take lightly.
I really got serious last year when I hit a place in my life where I knew if I was ever going to do music for real it was now or never, so I got a plan and jumped headfirst. It’s been a rollercoaster—scary, fulfilling, exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. The music business is geared toward very young artists, not moms with three kids in tow. But I feel like there is a whole world of people like me who didn’t quite figure life out until they tried it all and one day got the guts to give the crazy dream a whirl.
Over the last year, I have had all kinds of opportunities I never would have thought possible so quickly, but I do juggle these awesome musical adventures with my kids and their schedules. I finished my first radio interview and headed straight to the ballpark to coach a softball game. I performed two nights at the 2016 Mullet Festival, but it was Homecoming at the school, so it was get them to parade first then head to the stage.
One minute I was doing the mom thing, the next I was backstage with awesome people and two feet from Justin Moore. I know I’m not the first or only one who has their kids and their hustle, but for me it all kind of runs together. When I’m super-old and wrinkly I don’t want to look back and regret not doing my best at both worlds. My prayer is always that God opens the doors that need to open and closes the ones that need to close.
Whatever it is, I’m thankful to be doing what I’m doing.
QUOTE: “For the spirit of God does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
FAVORITE FREE PUBLICATION: Beachcomber, of course!
* Inspired by the late, great Creem magazine.
UPCOMING CASEY KEARNEY GIGS
More at CaseyKearney.com
Tuesday, June 6. The Market Shops, Sandestin.
Friday, June 9. The 30A Store, Seagrove Beach.
Saturday, June 10. Pensacola Blue Wahoos Stadium.
Casey will perform the national anthem.
Thursday, June 15. Gulf Place, Santa Rosa Beach.
Friday, June 16. The 30A Store, Seagrove Beach.
You can also find Casey leading worship at Christ Family Church in Crestview every Sunday.