Interview: Ryan Cassata.

Ryan Cassata is an American award-winning virtuoso who wears multiple hats as a musician, writer, filmmaker and actor, Ryan is also a LGBTQ+ activist and transgender motivational speaker who also speaks significantly on the topic of bullying – having been on the receiving end of it in his younger days. Ryan transitioned from female to male in 2012 and has since spent much of his time educating and advocating for trans and LGBTQ+ rights.

In the music community, Ryan has gained a lot of attention due to his applicable music style. His music has become synonymous with advocacy and representation through his lyrical references to what many find relatable . 

Find out a bit more about Ryan from our interview below as well as the Did You Know section at the end of the post: 

By Maxine Bowen

Your description on various publications often varies from “folk artist” all the way to rock, alternative and at times indie artist, while the bio on your website makes no reference to any specific genre. What are your thoughts on music genre boundaries? 

I would say that genres are boxes that many artists think they have to fit into. I have always just played and recorded  whatever I feel the song I wrote is calling for. If that changes the genres or makes it hard to pinpoint, that’s fine with me. I think there should be more freedom. We shouldn’t get stuck into one genre as musicians. 

Who are your music(al) inspirations and why?

I grew up listening to classic rock and punk rock plus early emo. Bruce Springsteen is one of my biggest inspirations because of the way he tells stories in his songs and his high energy live shows.

What is your general experience with audiences of your music away from your home country, if any?

I’ve had a lot of online support from other countries but I haven’t been able to tour globally yet, one day! 

Many artists consider the bass as the start point of their artistry and musical offerings, what would you say is the starting point of your music and songs?

The starting point is the inspiration for me. Usually I start to hear a song in my head. Then I head over to piano or guitar and start writing it. Sometimes I make a beat first and then write on top of it. It just depends on my mood and how I am feeling inspired. 

What audience would you say your latest EP – Little League/Therapy – is catered for?

Any audience that wants to listen. It’s just an honest heartbreak portrayal. Luckily I’m far out of the headspace now… 

Social media has firmly stamped its presence in modern society and comes a handy tool for an activist such as yourself. How do you find your experience with social media to be and is it all smooth sailing?

Social Media is always a rocky place to be. Sometimes there are bullies and sometimes there’s support. I never know what I will be met with when I post on social media. It’s all a gamble. That’s why I just continue to be authentic and stay true to myself. 

What question(s) do you get tired of hearing? ;

What bathroom do you use? LOL 
Are you getting bottom surgery? 
Why are you not on Testosterone? 

What do you find gives you a sense of purpose?

Family, love, and helping other young queer and trans people. 

When/where do you find you are most at peace in your day to day life?

When I am recording, when I am writing, when I’m snuggled up with my partner and our dogs, when I’m at a class in my graduate school, when I’m surrounded by love. 

Do you find that the general public’s perceptions on the LGBTQ community and more specifically on Transgender individuals has improved over the years? And do their perceptions even matter?

Yes, there’s been lots of improvement but we still have a very long way to go. I believe that we will get there. People’s perceptions matter because ignorance perpetuates violence. We need safety. 

You have previously spoken of your Trans and queer status often diverting attention from your music, has that since improved?

I’m not sure but I am glad that I have enough energy in me to be a musician and an activist at the same time. So it’s okay. 

By Asher Phoenix

Did You Know:

  1. Ryan is currently on his You Belong tour which concludes in October, he has already visited most major US cities and still has shows in Hollywood, Cincinnati and Boston lined up. – find all tour details and updates on or on any of his social media accounts.
  2. Ryan has been an activist since age 13 in his hometown of Long Island, New York.
  3. Ryan has been creating vlogs on YouTube since 2007 – to date his channel has over 80 thousand subscribers and 8 million views.
  4. Ryan has been featured on CNN,, Rolling Stone Stone, The New York Times and Larry King Live amongst others.
  5. Ryan is the first ever recipient of the Harvey Milk Memorial Award.
  6. Ryan is recognized as the first openly-trans performer at the Vans Warped Tour.

Follow Ryan on the following platforms: